Communication is a key aspect of any business. But what does effective communication in the workplace actually look like? Here are Elm’s top 5 tips on communicating in your workplace!
1. Ask Questions
This may seem very obvious, but how often are you afraid to ask? How often do you feel like everyone else already knows the answer, or it’s just a silly question? Chances are, you are not alone. Asking questions also helps clear up any misunderstanding. This is especially important when reviewing written communications, as there is a higher chance of misinterpreting tone and language in those mediums. Asking questions not only clarifies the information for yourself, it also lets your team leader or co-worker know what they need to make clearer for future conversations.
2. Provide Concise and Complete Information
When you are communicating in the workplace, it is important to provide the information needed concisely and completely. This applies to presentations, pitches, meetings, and written communications such as memos and emails. People will not have the time to decipher which information is necessary for them to know and which information was just fluff. Make sure to briefly, and completely, communicate the information required.
3. Be Aware of Body Language
Not all communication is verbal or written. Much of the way we communicate is through unconscious body language, and it is important that your nonverbal communication matches your verbal communication. For example, sitting up straight rather than slouching during a presentation can indicate to the presenter that you are engaged in their work and encourage them. Tone of voice is another example that you may not be aware of. Pay close attention to your own body language as well as your workmates’ for hints on which way you should steer the conversation.
4. Follow Up With Written Communication
Most of us will forget information relayed to us verbally pretty quickly. It is a good idea to get into the habit of following up meetings, presentations, or even last minute conversations with some sort of written communication. Send a quick email or memo after your meeting, summarizing the points and decisions made. Written communication not only helps to remind the team what happened, but is also a good way to keep track of details that may otherwise be missed.
5. Listen to Your Workmates
More than half of communication is listening to what the other person is saying. Part of listening is paying attention and actually absorbing what is being said. You can’t listen effectively if your mind is on tonight’s dinner instead of the topic at hand. Taking the time to listen during a conversation with your boss or a meeting with your team prevents misunderstandings in the future.