Are you both verbally articulate and a good listener? Can you make your case and express your needs in a way that builds bridges with colleagues, customers and vendors?
It is well-known that before you come to work, you have to leave your informal self back home. In the office, you're an employee, someone who's supposed to go about his work in a professional manner. There is a way to talk to your superiors, to your peers and your subordinates. This mode of communication is known as workplace communication and is typically formal and to the point. Important skills include:
- Courteousness: A person should always be courteous while speaking to anyone in the workplace, whether senior or junior. One should not speak disparagingly with juniors, while speaking in a laudatory way with seniors. Courteousness should be maintained in the workplace irrespective of rank.
- Precision: You're not supposed to sit and chat in the workplace. Workplace communication facilitates necessity and should be completed as quickly as possible. It mostly consists of delegating tasks and reporting results. So keep it short.
- Language: One should never use any slang terms while at work. Business communication should be crisp and clear so that everyone understands what you're saying. Slang terms bring in the eventuality of misunderstanding and also look unprofessional. So one should avoid using slang in office.
- Low Speaking Volume: One comes across so many loud-talkers. Perhaps they are naturally so or do so deliberately to drive some point across. But speaking loudly is disturbing to other people around you hence, a low speaking volume should be maintained.
- Clarity: It is also essential to ensure that the person you are speaking with has completely understood what you have to say. Hence, one should speak very slowly and clearly. If you have a strong ethnic accent, you should make sure that you talk slowly so that the other person gets what you have to say. It is always good to ask, "have you understood?" just in case someone doesn't get what you have to say.
- Listen to Others: Most people think of effective communication as a one-way thing. But it is very important to also be a good listener and not just a good talker. Others too often have something to say or to contribute to a discussion hence, listening too, is one of the effective communication skills at work.
- Posture and Body Language: They say actions speak louder than words and the same can be considered to be true at the workplace. The body has a language of its own too, and at the workplace, the body ought to be courteous. There are simple things to keep in mind, whether it is wishing everyone 'good morning' at work, or having a courteous smile on your face, being well-dressed in office or sitting erect when someone is talking to you.
Effective business communication techniques are important for the simple fact that they establish trust and rapport amongst employees and team members.
Writing Skills are also crucial to your future success. Modern methods allow the least use of the written mode of communication (less than before). Today, we use emails, service forms, report sheets and the occasional sticky note. Your skills should extend to this area as well. Some tips to that effect:
- Do not drone on about things in your emails. In fact, an email is the perfect excuse to make it short, simple, quick and effective.
- Don’t be too brief or informal in your emails, either. Leave text language, emoticons and internet abbreviations (LOL, TTYL, etc.) for personal communications.
- While filling reports on any projects or for employee appraisals, keep the language clean and simple. It reflects on as you as someone who is hardworking and prompt.
It is important to be formal and cordial in the workplace for several reasons:
- You are viewed by everyone in the office as someone who has a positive influence in the workplace. Such people are always desired by companies.
- You learn to get your point across effectively and ensure that the work is done the way it should be.
- It makes you look like a team player and makes you more loved by the company overall!
Once you have developed basic communication skills, know that you must work on your effectiveness for a lifetime. Learn a bit more about improving workplace communication skills by reading this article on techniques important for the modern workplace.
Similarly, cross-cultural communication can often be a challenge. It's no secret that today's workplace is rapidly becoming vast, as the business environment expands to include various geographic locations and span numerous cultures. What can be difficult, however, is understanding how to communicate effectively with individuals who speak another language or who rely on different means to reach a common goal.
There are basic cultural differences which can cause for communication issues across multicultural teams whether they are all located in the one spot or working from different from old locations. Here are some tips for getting to grips with multicultural teams:
- Discuss with team members, or subgroups of teams, possible cultural differences.
- Establish how these cultural differences may affect interactions amongst the team and performance. Factor these into any team processes that may be affected (e.g. around time zones, holidays, availability of technology, decision-making process, work hours, etc.).
- Discuss how these differences may potentially affect team norms, the exchange of information, decision-making and communications.
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