“Communication is key” is a saying that is used quite often in the business world. As a student who will soon be entering the workforce, I know that the concept of communication is one that is also preached to high school and college students everywhere. However, what I have learned throughout my internship here at Maritz Motivation Solutions is that effective communication is a skill that very rarely comes natural to people, and it is a skill that needs to be practiced and honed on an ongoing basis. Based on my experience, here are the five most important communication tips needed in the workplace.
- Actively Listen. This is one of the most common tips given to new hires and preached to students being prepped for the workforce. However, despite the fact that this tip may seem overly talked about, it is one that will never go out of style or lose value. Being an active listener means you make an effort to truly understand what the speaker is saying by paying attention to their word choice as well as their body language.
Tip: Practice quieting your mind in order to fully pay attention to what the speaker is saying.
2. Always be clear and direct. The best communicators know that if they want to get their point across effectively and quickly they need to use clear and direct language. Beating around the bush is never a good way to communicate with your co-workers because it may leave them confused as to what you’re actually meaning to say.
Tip: Always be sure to check with the receiver to be sure they understand you, and leave them room to ask questions.
3. Find your medium. All professionals have a preference when it comes to how they like to communicate. Some employees like face-to-face communication so they can see the receiver’s body language and others feel their communication efforts are more effective when they take the time to write out their message and share it in an email. Regardless of what your preference is, it is important to choose a medium of communication based off of the preferences of the receiver as well as the content in which you’ll be sharing.
Tip: Take the time to get to know the communication preferences of your co-workers for a more effective and purpose-driven workplace.
4. Text like a professional. Due to improvements in technology and younger, more tech-savvy employees in the workforce, texting is becoming a method of communication that is used in the workplace daily. This comes with benefits and risks, however, and it is important to only use texting as a form of communication for quick questions that don’t require a follow-up or a long response.
Tip: Before texting a co-worker, touch base with them to be sure that this is a form of communication that they feel comfortable with. If the receiver isn’t comfortable with texting, it is likely that your message won’t be portrayed effectively.
5. Don’t avoid face-to-face interaction. Not all communication needs to be done face-to-face, but it is very important that you don’t avoid this type of interaction all together. If you have difficult information to convey, always choose face-to-face as your medium of communication so that your receiver can ask questions and you can both benefit from nonverbal cues.
Tip: Set up regular meetings with team members or those who you work closely with to talk in-person about any ongoing and upcoming projects to ensure that you’re both on the same page.
Effective communication will never go out of style! It is crucial that all employees in today’s workforce update their communication skills frequently as it is a skill that must remain polished.