Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
In its most basic form, business is a communication between two parties – one selling and one buying.
And in its most basic form, a workplace is a communication between two parties – one working and one managing. Since communication plays such a vital role in business, it’s surprising we’re so poor at it. If you’d like to improve your communications skills, stop texting and try these workplace communication tips.
10. Small Talk Before Big Talk
Ease into workplace communication with some small talk – it’s the main reason we have professional sports teams. Even if you’re in a hurry, have a light conversation before dropping the heavy information and it will be better accepted.
We have two ears and only one mouth because it’s twice as important to listen instead of talk, especially in the workplace. To practice your listening skills, repeat what you’ve just been told. It improves your ability and shows the other party you understand what they’ve said.
8. Ask Questions
Another way to show you’re listening is to ask questions. Keep them relevant to the subject being discussed and listen carefully to the response – it often helps to hear a point described in two different ways to better understand it.
7. Give Others A Chance
OK, a business meeting isn’t a democracy, but it’s not a dictatorship either. Don’t let one person (that includes the highest-ranking attendee) dominate the meeting. Encourage others around the conference table who don’t usually share to join in, then give them communication feedback privately.
6. Use Emails And Texts For Information Only
We’ve all heard horror stories about employees finding out they’ve been fired via email. Nothing sensitive should be discussed in emails or text messages – face-to-face meetings provide better understanding and reduce harsh reactions or resentments.
5. Consistency Counts
If your statements mean one thing to one employee and something else to another, you can lose the trust of both. Be consistent and you won’t have to concern yourself with remembering what you said to whom.
4. Surprises Are For Birthdays
Don’t wait until an employee’s review to give feedback – small course corrections are much easier to make than emergency maneuvers. Use feedback sessions to give employees a chance to give you feedback as well – it builds trust and you won’t have as many surprises either.
3. Avoid Multitasking
Taking cell phone calls, text messages, Facebook updates, tweets and email during conversations and meetings shows the person how little you value their communication. It will be difficult to get younger employees and managers to follow this, but uninterrupted communication builds a bond that will more than make up for a missed tweet.
2. Curb Your Emotions
The hostility and negativity that is so prevalent on the Internet has no place on the workplace. Take a deep breath and calm yourself before serious conversations – your demeanor will help calm the other person. Criticize the actions, not the employee, stick to the facts and give feedback and guidance.
1. Be Honest
Bad news is still news and must be delivered eventually. Be honest and you will be respected. If you’re concerned about negative impact, break the message into smaller pieces or deliver it to smaller groups. Lying or hiding the truth doesn’t just delay the inevitable – it makes the consequences worse.