The one skill you need to be successful at work
Take a moment to think about all of the ways that communication has an impact on your work. I think we can all agree that…
- The majority of issues in the work place arise because of miscommunication (and often too many emails rather than just speaking to people face to face)
- Most issues can be resolved using the HOT communication method: Honest, open and two-way.
- We communicate our passion to attract supporters who believe in our organisations cause
“Communication leads to community, that is, to understand, intimacy and mutual valuing” – Rollo May
The good news is that communication is a skill that you can constantly develop.
There’s often a lot of focus on developing our ability to use new technology, access the best programs and build a set of skills that look incredibly impressive on our CVs. But we then over look the importance of people skills such as emotional intelligence and communication, which can really enhance your personal and professional development.
So start your new year by opening the channel of communication with your team and work towards creating an environment where great communication is second nature to all, with these tips.
Why communication is important…
It allows you to build better relationships
One of the many benefits of being a great communicator is that you can then build incredible relationships with the people around you. The more you get to know your team, the easier it will be to get tasks done. You’ll know whether they’re more of an introvert or extrovert, appreciate that they may prefer a quick chat than an email and know what time of day works best for them if you need help with daily tasks.
When your team can see that you are being accommodating to their needs, they’ll be more than happy to return the favor.
It allows you to share your interests, passions & vision
The charity sector is full of energy. With so many amazing organsiations working towards making the world a better place, you can bet that being able to communicate your passion is an incredibly valuable skill.
You’ll have a greater foundation for conversation if you’re able to tap into the passions of others and discuss topics that really strike a chord with them. Even simple daily tasks can be done with ease if you’re able to effectively communicate the goal in mind or reason behind it.
It helps you to get feedback
Good communication allows you to seek the feedback that will help you to grow. If you’re more prone to asking questions and open to constructive criticism, you can take your projects from good to great.
Advice for improving your communication
Respond, don’t react.
When we speak to people about difficulties and issues, we have a tendency to react rather than respond. Reactions are often instant, in the moment and quite abrasive. Responding is well thought through and takes the other persons view into consideration.
If you’re taken aback by some feedback or caught in a difficult conversation, take a moment to think about how you’re going to tackle it. You will be much better off asking for a moment to think about what they’ve had to say than instantly snapping back. Responding is the process of building a bridge with the people around you and can be the gateway to better communication.
Listen to understand, not reply.
Listening is a skill that goes hand in hand with communication. In order to truly resolve anything, you have to understand the perspective of the person that you’re speaking to. And you can’t do that if you’re more concerned with replying. So always begin by listening to people with the sole intention of wanting to understand what it is that they have to say.
Focus on the person that you’re speaking to
There will be times that your team deserve your full, undivided, attention. So make sure that they are the priority in these situations – get rid of the distractions (phones, emails and other devices) so that you can give people the time that they deserve. Not only does fiddling come across as rude, it can also create a barrier with the people that you’re trying to speak to. Should they feel that they don’t have your full attention, they may not be willing to give you theirs (and the vicious cycle of poor communication will continue).
Be attentive, respectful and 100% focused on the task at hand.
Be aware of your body language and tone of voice
Around 55% of our communication is nonverbal. That means, before opening your mouth to speak, the person that you’re communicating with has already assessed your facial expression, gestures and posture. And 38% of your communication is judged based on vocal elements such as tone of voice and use of words.
If you want someone to understand your message and always take your body language and tone into consideration. Think about that it would feel like to be on the receiving end of your conversation and, if you’re not convinced that it will be effective, make some changes. Don’t cross your arms, keep eye contact and remember that you can be assertive without being offensive.
As mentioned before, a lot of our issues with communication stem from a misunderstanding. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is by asking questions in order to gain clarity. Take a moment to summarise the discussion that you’ve just had and ask people to confirm the actions that they would like you to take. If you’re in a team meeting, write an action list and send it to everyone afterwards to ensure that everything has been prioritised correctly as well.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question where communication is concerned!
Do you have any communications tips you’d like to share? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!