Effective communication is the cornerstone of great leadership. In the workplace, this simple observation holds true to both team leaders and team members. This is because the person you are communicating to should understand your dialogue as you meant it and reciprocate.
Effective communication also is important for eliminating misunderstandings and unhealthy competition, and promoting a peaceful environment in the workplace. This brings us to the question - how to communicate effectively so that your colleagues listen and act? Here’s how:
1. Use Simple Words
What you want to say is less important than how you say it. The best way to communicate is by using simple vocabulary and concise sentences. Everybody cannot be on the same level when it comes to language. When complex words are used, you stand the risk of being misunderstood or wasting time having to explain yourself.
2. Listen To Your Team Members
The first step to being understood is listening. Listen to what your team members have to say, without interrupting. If you are a lead, encourage team members to open up. Allow feedback and constructive criticism, and show the team that you are more than willing to work on the same. Take any form of feedback professionally.
3. Be Assertive
In order for your team members or leaders to understand you and take you seriously, you need to exude confidence and firmness. This may not come easily to everyone but with enough practice you can gradually become more confident. This requires a combination of job expertise and public-speaking skills. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stand on a podium and orate. Just learn how to talk clearly and mindfully without breaks, and avoid speaking in one breath.
4. Lead By Example
If you are assigning someone a new task or teaching your peer, the best way to get your message across is by acting out the message instead of just giving oral instructions. For example, if are assigning a team member the task of uploading a fresh batch of articles in the website for the first time, show them how it is done, step by step. Repeat if you can.
5. Use The Right Tone
You can be assertive without changing your tone. When you speak, watch out for signs of sarcasm, condescension, aggression, dominance, and general rudeness in your tone. Your message may be right but your tone may discourage, anger or even scare people. If you are a lead, then a negative tone may make your team members passive aggressive, afraid or reclusive. A positive tone will help them open up to you, and be more friendly and cooperative.
6. Avoid Repetition
This applies to both casual conversations with colleagues and speeches during presentations. Don’t beat around the bush and don’t milk the cow for too long. What we mean is, unless necessary, don’t repeat sentences. Be more mindful of what you are saying, and if you have been interrupted, don’t begin the topic all over again; instead, pick up from where you left. If you repeat sentences and concepts more than once, it may make people feel patronised or you may start sounding like a broken record. This is more difficult than we made it sound here, but it is part of the communication skills.
7. Make Email A Habit
Not many people follow this, but emailing all official communications is better than saying it out verbally. Unless the message is fewer than 2 sentences, compose emails to communicate your message. This will give you several advantages over your peers, including: professional image; clarity of message; and official record of what you said.
8. Use Presentations
Use presentations when you want to communicate an idea that you think will benefit the company and your colleagues. It doesn’t have to be an official idea. Email your higher-ups about your idea and ask them to let you deliver a presentation. A detailed presentation with visuals such as pie charts, statistics and other forms of explanations is often better than written or spoken communication.
9. Communicate Regularly
If you communicate regularly, you will learn where you are going wrong and what parts of your speech require polishing. Talk to your team members or your team lead and maintain a rapport with them. Share your aspirations with them and update them regularly on your progress, if you think they are interested. And do not restrict yourself to talking to your team. Go beyond and talk to other teams and the management.
10. Work With Other Departments
Most of the important ideas you need for your tasks may be in the expertise of other teams. For this, you need to familiarise yourself with those teams and acquaint yourself with the kinds of work they do. Help them out when they need something that only you (or your team) can do. And don’t hesitate to ask help from other departments to solve problems in your work.
11. Use Body Language & Hand Gestures
Be free while communicating. Use subtle hand gestures but do not overdo. Keep your back straight while you are talking, as that will suggest that you are confident, firm, and active. Body language and hand gestures are important for setting the mood and tone of your speech and reinforcing your ideas. But make sure you don’t become intense, as that will divert their attention to your hands and body instead of your speech.
12. Be Appreciative
Communication is a two-way street. The people involved in your conversation are as important as you are. Appreciate people for their achievements and ideas whenever the time is right. While giving someone feedback, make sure to make positive remarks along with the negative ones. Appreciating people for their positive qualities while giving feedback is a better and friendlier way of helping them improve. If you point out only the negatives, they may feel animosity and hostility from your end, and may begin to resent you.
These are some of the tips you can use to communicate effectively at your workplace.