Our ability to communicate with others effectively is key to improving our professional relationships and results in the workplace. A good communicator can encourage two-way dialogue, discuss critical issues, exchange information, build trust, and engage people in the mission of the business.
While most people understand the benefits of good communication, it can still be a difficult skill to use masterfully in practice. Many of us develop bad habits that get in the way of effective communication. These communication roadblocks must be actively unlearned and replaced with effective communication practices. This kind of change requires commitment and practice.
How to Improve Communication Skills in the Workplace
1. Listen to the Other Person
First, we must improve our ability to really listen to and clearly understand the other person’s message. There are many barriers to effective listening. High performers are repeatedly rewarded for finding solutions, but moving into a “fix-it” mode before fully understanding the issue can lead to communication mishaps.
2. Understand the Topic
Additionally, we often have our own expertise on the topic being discussed. Talking too much about our background and knowledge on the subject can quickly shut down a conversation. It discourages others from sharing information—and without their perspective, we’re more likely to make the wrong decision.
3. Adapt Your Message to be More Receptive
We must also be able to adapt our message so that people with personalities different from our own will be more receptive to what we have to say. Some people are more naturally expressive and comfortable talking an issue out. Others are more reflective and prefer time to analyze the situation and think through a solution before coming to an agreement.
4. Recognize Difficult Emotions
Difficult situations sometimes raise strong emotions. To move communication forward, we must be able to recognize and control our own emotions. We must also be able to respond effectively to any anger or frustration exhibited by others.
While we engage in conversations with others every day, some people have never learned or practiced the skills required for effective communication.
Communication Skills for Leaders
Leaders must be able to communicate at many levels. They are required to coach and mentor others in one-on-one meetings; they must also be able to communicate to small, informal groups and in very large, formal meetings. CMOE helps individuals at all levels of the organization improve their ability to communicate. The skills we teach in our Communication Essentials program can be applied when communicating with any audience: direct reports, colleagues, customers, teams, suppliers, and others.
Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, the ability to interact with and understand others is the key to healthy and productive relationships. Situations that require you to communicate effectively come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re communicating your vision to executives, or finding solutions in a team setting, you must be able to connect with many different kinds of people.
Effective communicators can discuss critical issues that the business is facing and engage people in fulfilling their commitments.
Our Communication Essentials course will improve your ability to share information, solve complex problems, make quality decisions, and exchange ideas, enabling you to build strong relationships inside and outside of the organization.
Contact CMOE to learn more about how we can help you focus on intentionally improving your habits to become a more effective communicator. Complete a request form on our website to connect with our team.