‘Communication’ is the process of sharing information, thoughts and feelings between people through language. ‘Effective communication’ extends this definition a little further to include the idea of not just sharing information but also making it understood the way you intent it to be. The goal of effective communication includes creating a common perception, changing view points and opening people up to new ideas and thoughts and hence is a very valuable skill to practice at work.
5 Steps to Effective Communication:
1. Be Clear about What You’re Going to Say
Correctness of facts always wins over everything else because the crux of workplace communication is passing information and ideas from one person to another.And if the information isn’t up-to-date, complete or correct then there are more chances that it will be ignored. Also, incomplete communication can cause confusion instead of clarity, hence keepyourself up-to-date with the complete information and carefully put together the facts before going ahead and communicating it further.
2. Confidence and Body Language Matter
Remember, communication is not just about words, it is both verbal and non-verbal. So the idea that you’re communicating must be done through your facial expressions and your body language as well. Just imagine, if someone informing about the company’s downsizing announces it with a smirk on his face, surely it would leave a very different opinion about the speaker in the people’s minds. Bring your communication together by being conscious that your non-verbal and verbal messages are in agreement. And never forget to follow the age-old golden rule of making eye contact and speaking with confidence.
Listening is an important communication skill that is often ignored. In order to actually share information and communicate better, it is essential that you place close attention to what the other person is saying. This way you will able to gauge the reaction of your audience, and in turn will help you channel your information appropriately. When you listen carefully, it leaves the impression that the conversation is important to you, making the other person to also listen as attentively and attach as much importance as you did. Also, poor listening means having received only partial information, which will lead to further confusion when communicated further, so listen as carefully as you speak to be an effective communicator.
4. Engage in Difficult Conversations When necessary
Do you ever avoid saying something just because it would lead to a long grueling discussion? Well, great communicators are generally the first ones to broach a difficult topic (refer to point number 1 and keep your fact sheet up-to-date before doing so) and take the lead to come up with solutions or clarifications. So, to get people to sit up and notice, take the lead to initiate important but difficult conversations,however, do take some time out to actually plan what you’re going to say. Also,make sure the tone you use is open and non-confrontational in order to encourage feedback from the other person.
5. Follow Up
One important trait of effective communication is following up on time. Practicing strong follow-up will also leave the impression that you are involved in the bigger picture. When people see this commitment towards the issue, they will know you are open to future communication. This creates a loyal and discerning surrounding that cultivates positive movement and communication. However, ensure that you’re following an open and honest communication here to lead to a healthy discussion at work.