Communicating effectively can make a huge difference in your relationships at work, improve teamwork and productivity, and enhance your social and emotional health. There are many strategies to improve verbal and non-verbal communication skills. One effective way is to record yourself and improve upon the way you talk. You can also study good speakers or communicators by watching them live, and listening to recordings of their talks. Going through the audio transcription files of lectures or meetings will also help you understand how the speakers got their message across. A Bustle article on communication tips from experts cites motivational speaker and coach Jill Haseltine as saying, “Listen to the types of language they use, the way they move their body, and the tone in which they speak. Apply those skills to your communication”.
Here are some tips to ensure good communication at work.
- Be brief, clear, receptive, credible and persuasive: Longwinded talk will leave the listener bored. Trim down your message but be specific. This will rouse the listeners’ interest, and they will want to hear more from you.
- Have an open mind: It’s important to be open-minded and avoid making judgments or being openly critical. Even if you do not agree with another person’s views, you should respect them. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective.
- Listen: Listening is an important non-verbal communication skill. Engaged listening helps you understand the other person’s viewpoint and feelings. Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking. Listen attentively and demonstrate this by nodding or making a verbal sign that you are listening. This will help you gain the other person’s respect and also allow you to respond appropriately.
- Talk so people will want to listen: You should ask yourself what they need to know rather than consider what you need to say. Focus on what your audience needs or wants to learn, not on what you feel like telling them. Adjust your message based on what they’re ready to hear and how they’re ready to hear it, says an article in Forbes.
- Be focused: This means avoiding distractions and multitasking while you are speaking. Switch off your phone. You cannot communicate effectively if you are not focused. Moreover, staying focused can help you pick up subtle nuances and important nonverbal cues in a conversation.
- Ask open-ended questions: Asking questions opens up conversations and conveys the message that you want to hear what other people have to say. Open-ended questions will help people express themselves better. The questions should be relevant to the conversation, encouraging the person to evaluate and identify problem areas and how to address them. And avoid asking too many questions as it may make people feel they are being interrogated.
- Make eye contact: Whether you are talking to an individual or to a group of people, make eye contact. An important nonverbal cue, eye contact is important to project confidence, self-esteem and forcefulness. Studies have shown that eye contact induces feelings of trust and a deeper bond.
- Mind your body language: Body language is an important communication tool and leaning to use it well can help you build better social and professional relationships. Nonverbal communication includes facial expressions, posture, gestures, the tone of your voice, eye contact, and more. Be positive and pleasant, and avoid anything that can be seen as an aggressive or negative stance.
- Learn how to communicate when under stress: Leaders need to communicate well even when they are under stress. When you are under stress, you have to control your emotions and keep an open mind to what others say. Learn to say what you have to in a calm and tactful manner.
Modes of formal verbal communication in the workplace include presentations and meetings. Business transcription services are available to get the recordings of these activities converted into text format. Evaluating the material can help speakers correct their mistakes and improve their communication skills.