5 ways to improve your communication skills at work

The way in which you communicate while at work has the ability to impact your job satisfaction, promotion potential, and career success.

How many times have you sat in a meeting and left without being sure what you’ve been asked to do because it hadn’t been explained succinctly? Or opened an email and had to call the sender to clarify the contents because it made zero sense? It’s annoying, right?

Don’t be one of those people who can’t communicate properly. You will find your emails get ignored and you’re seen as a less competent worker, leading to Lazy Larry being promoted ahead of you.

We all want to climb the proverbial ladder when it comes to work, so here’s a few areas where you can improve how you communicate with your colleagues (and steal that promotion from LL. Sucks to be you, Larry).

  1. Make sure you listen

Listening is one of the most important elements to improve your communication skills. We are able to skim read documents to pick out the main points of the text and you can apply this skill to how you listen.

As someone approaches your desk to begin a conversation, completely stop what you are doing and focus on their opening sentence. They will likely give you the topic of conversation straight away, for example, “can I speak to you about the upcoming client event?”

Make sure you understand exactly which event they are referring to. If you have more than one coming up, ask them to clarify right away which it is so that you don’t spend the rest of the conversation distracted by trying to work it out. Collecting the facts straight away helps focus on the key points they are making.

Once they have finished speaking, summarise it back to them, e.g.; “So, you want me to double check John and Jane from Barclays are attending and that the caterer will be arriving at 6pm?”

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need

Asking the right questions will help you to communicate better with your peers. Be mindful of how you’re asking questions to encourage an open discussion between you and your colleague. Instead of asking ‘why’ all the time (which can make people defensive), asking ‘how’ allows you to better understand their mindset, and work on a productive solution to the problem.

If you need something, whether it be more information or further clarification, ask for it. We’re all guilty of giving half a story and expecting people to read our minds for the rest of it. Don’t be one of those people, and don’t let others get away with doing it either. It’s lazy communication and makes everything take twice as long in the end.

 

  1. Learn how to speak confidently to a group

Many people fear public speaking, but if you want to get ahead in your career, you need to learn how to speak confidently in a group situation. Like so many other things, public speaking gets easier with practice so try to put yourself in as many situations to do so as possible.

Begin by speaking up in smaller groups, such as your own team, and build up from there. Before you open your mouth, pause, and make sure you have formulated in your head exactly what it is you want to get across. Be clear and concise with as few filler words as possible to help the listener understand the key points.

 

  1. Know your audience

Whether you’re talking to your boss, your team or a client, you’ll need to adopt your communication style to suit the audience.

Some people like lots of information, others like statistics. Some like to discuss the topic face-to-face, whereas others prefer email. You should learn the best way to communicate with each person to be more effective. If your boss gets too distracted to answer your emails, arrange a brief 15 minute meeting to run through things. Not only will it make you look more productive, it will help you to be more productive by getting the answers to your questions faster.

 

  1. Write better emails

Sloppily written emails waste everyone’s time. Take out acronyms, jargon and confusing sentence structure to avoid spending time repeating things in another email or over the phone. Always proof read and spell check everything you send out (especially when emailing the entire firm!) and be mindful of who you copy into the email.

 

Good communication isn’t just about being able to present information and ideas more accurately and concisely. It’s also about being able to form beneficial working relationships to help further advance your career.

Are you looking for the next step up the ladder? Take a look at our current job vacancies or call our friendly team on 614841.

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