Written by Linda Carter

Speaking together

As any relationship counselor will advise, effective communication is the “key” to successful personal relationships. This is also honest advice for relationships in business environments. We often think our communication issues are different at home than at work. However, studies have shown that they are the same, although the stakes are higher at home than at work, perhaps.

If you were to stop and analyze the issues that you may be experiencing in the work environment, you would most likely reveal that the issues could be avoided or minimized, if only the communications surrounding the events improved.

Ironically, in today’s business environments, we have several methods of communications as tools, such as smart phones, emails, social media, etc. You would think that communications would only improve, correct? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Regardless of how amazing the technology that aims to improve communication is, it can’t improve our communication skills. Let’s face it: most of us aren’t great at choosing what words we want to use and when we choose to share information with others. Developing your communication skills can impact your personal success (regardless of what role you have) as well as the overall success of the company you work for.

Here are a few tips to consider when seeking opportunities to improve your communication skills in the work environment:

  1. Know the outcome. Know what you want the results of your communication to be. Make sure that you are including all information necessary to achieve desired results. With some audiences you may have to be more detailed than with others. Make sure that you’re including the right audience as well. Often times, we fail to include necessary participants or details, and progress on our agenda ultimately becomes delayed.
  2. Avoid flaunting power and intellect. Compelling communicators don’t strong-arm people into paying attention or dazzle listeners by showing off how much they know. Leave your ego at the door when speaking to people. Establish an even playing field, and place yourself at the same level with your listeners. Avoid a condescending tone of voice and terminology your audience will not immediately understand. While you may be the smartest, most knowledgeable person on a particular topic, wait for the invitation to share your expertise.
  3. Show awareness of others. Shoving your great ideas or accomplishments down the throats of your listeners isn’t going to work. Building relationships is part of the communication process and is key to your success in conveying your message.
  4. Master the art of listening. The most adept communicators are experts at listening and reading between the lines. Show your respect for the person speaking and for the information they are sharing. Practicing good listening skills will help you gain the respect of those you encounter.

By analyzing and being thoughtful in your communications with both your subordinates and superiors, you can better learn how to lead in whatever position you may have. In this way, you’ll not only secure your future prospects to rise up your company’s ranks, but you’ll also create a more productive and better working environment for yourself and your colleagues.

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