January 8, 2020
Harmony in the workplace has a lot to do with communication. You need to talk to your coworkers to get things done—on task and on time. The way you communicate can also make your work environment more peaceful and a lot more fun. So if you feel like you haven’t exactly been seeing “eye to eye” with your fellow employees and work hasn’t been going as smoothly as you’d like, it could be due to a lack of good communication. And brushing up on your skills is easier than you may think!
Follow These Five Communication Tips
The good news is that good communication is a learnable skill. Just follow these five tips and you’ll be in sync with your coworkers in no time:
Be a good listener.
Fifty percent of communication is listening, but it’s a factor many of us may overlook. In your zeal to tell your coworker about your ideas for a project, do you also pause to listen to what they have to say—or instead interrupt and talk more than your fair share? It’s easy to do when you’re passionate about your work, but it can also impede the flow of conversation. Being a good listener can greatly improve a conversation, plus strengthen the work you produce when everyone gets to share their thoughts.
Look for nonverbal cues.
You can tell a lot about how a conversation is going by watching for body language from the other person. If someone is nodding and smiling but seems tense and on edge—there may be something they aren’t saying. Fidgeting can be a sign a coworker is uncomfortable and that you need to pause and listen, rather than continue talking. Or that an alternate means of communication may be a better option.
Consider alternate communication methods.
Not all people function best in person, especially if you don’t know each other well just yet. Email, instant messages or the phone can be better ways to communicate with a shy or guarded coworker.
Ask about non-work topics.
One way to ease into a conversation and put help someone relax is to talk about topics that aren’t work-related—such as a TV show you both like, a movie you just saw, their kid’s soccer game, their pet, etc. This is a good way to break the ice and get to know your coworkers a little better, too, which can help you build stronger bonds and make work more fun.
Pay attention to your tone.
If you’re having a rough day, you may use a harsher tone than you mean to without even knowing it. This is especially true in email or instant messaging, where people can’t hear the inflection of your voice. Your best bet is to keep everything positive and professional since you can never be sure how someone may interpret what you say or send.
When Communication Isn’t Working
If you’ve made attempts to communicate better at work, but things still seem difficult, all is not lost. You can always talk to your boss or recruiter about the challenges you’re facing and ask for advice.
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