Being able to communicate at work is essential to career success. If unable to effectively communicate at work, you may find yourself missing out on opportunities such as a promotion or securement of an important business deal. Furthermore, effective communication in the workplace is fundamental to the success of every business, as it strengthens relationships within the organisation, increases employee engagement and improves the ultimate effectiveness of a team. This is because communication is one of the most important soft skills. Employees with strong communication skills are valued assets within an organisation and stand out amongst other colleagues.
Importance of communication skills in the workplace
Effective communication at work can have substantial organisational benefits, for example:
- Improves team building
- Increases growth
- Increases innovation
- Improves productivity
- Enhances efficiency
- Mitigates conflict
- Improves employee engagement
- Resolves problems
List of communication skills
Skills that can improve communication at work include:
- Active listening
- Body language and other nonverbal cues
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Open mindedness
10 Ways to improve communication in the workplace
There a number of ways to improve communication in the workplace, including:
Define goals and expectations
When discussing projects or delegating tasks, it is important to set clear and achievable goals that outline exactly what is required of each colleague involved. Defining goals and expectations will ensure that all team members are on the same page, allowing for an improved workforce.
Deliver messages clearly
Communication in the workplace shouldn’t be overcomplicated. Speaking simply and politely when communicating at work will ensure that your message comes across plain and clear, leaving no team member confused as to what is required.
It is important to remember that communication is a two-way process, thus you should actively encourage feedback on your ideas, give colleagues a chance to speak in meetings and collaborate with others to determine how to achieve goals. Doing this will lead to better engagement amongst your team.
Listen and be empathetic
When at work, make the effort to really listen to what your colleagues are saying. This is fundamental to business communication, as no organisation or employee will last long without listening and encouraging dialogue with others. Moreover, listening demonstrates respect and allows you to learn about any issues that you may need to address with an employer or fellow employee.
Give undivided attention to others
When communicating with others at work, ensure that you offer your full focus to whomever you are speaking with. Refrain from distractions, such as your smartphone, and maintain eye contact during conversations. Visually conveying your focus will allow you to stay present and greatly improve how you’re received amongst others.
There is more to communication than just words. Body language and non-verbal cues play a significant role in how effective your communication is perceived amongst colleagues. When communicating, pay attention to things such as your stance, facial expression and movements. For example, rest your arms by your side as opposed to crossing them over your chest and nod your head affirmatively when listening to others.
When having meetings with co-workers, it is unlikely that your colleagues will remember everything that was said. To counter this, be sure to follow up with them, whether that be in writing or again in person. This will keep important information fresh in your colleagues’ minds and ultimately improve workplace efficiency.
When delegating tasks at work, be sure to explain why you are asking someone to do a certain task. To make demands of team members without explaining why or how it fits into the overall picture is guaranteed to frustrate them. Explaining why a task is important will allow colleagues to feel valued and will likely encourage them to work more efficiently.
Give constructive criticism
Feedback is critical in the workplace as it allows employees to understand whether their work is meeting organisational expectations. However, when done wrong, feedback can come across as a personal attack. Ensuring that all feedback given is constructive will help employees understand areas in which they are doing well and how to improve in others.
Know colleagues on a personal level
There is more to communication than effectively distributing information and delegating tasks. You probably spend up to 40 hours a week with your colleagues but how well do you really know them? Getting to know your co-workers on a personal level can help to develop genuine friendships, ultimately resulting in more honest communication, plus a more supportive and pleasant work environment.
We hope you found these 10 ways to improve communication in the workplace helpful.
Here at V-Teamwork, we have designed a program that helps you develop your communication and other soft skills. The program is not another online training video. Through years of experience, we understand that the only way to develop soft skills is through experiential learning. So the training program takes you into a safe and immersive environment where you can practice using your soft skills with feedback from expert coaches. Find out more about how it works.
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