7 Tips To Make You A Better Communicator At Work
We live in an era of communication. Developments in technology, like phones, email, and the internet, mean we can be connected all the time. But being constantly “on” and “connected” is harming our ability to actually communicate with one another.
And communication skills are key, in life as well as at work. But there are plenty of things you can do about it. We’ve collected our 7 top tips here:
- Talk about how to communicate better
Maybe the best place to start is square one. What methods of communication do your bosses and colleagues prefer? Ask about what people like, and don’t like, and work out your own ‘best practices’ – and share them around!
- Create boundaries
Once you’ve agreed how best to communicate, work out when it is best not to. Research has shown that the average office worker checks their emails SIX SECONDS after they arrive. It then takes an incredible 25 MINUTES to get back into the task you were working on beforehand. Being too connected harms your productivity.
- The old ways are the best: pick up the phone
Only 19% of millennials primarily communicate over the phone at work, whilst 73% prefer to use email. Anxiety about interrupting is one of the main reasons people avoid calls. But email is clearly as disruptive as a call. Talking over the phone can achieve your means quicker, plus it’s a lot more personal. If you’re nervous about what to say, jot down some bullet points beforehand to direct conversation.
- But don’t be afraid to try something new
Email is an effective tool. But if your inbox is where you talk to clients, it may be easier to declutter it by moving internal communications away from it. Platforms like Facebook for Business or Slack offer teams a more informal communication space. They also let remote workers feel involved.
- Face-to-face will always triumph
Rather than email colleagues who sit in the same office, why not start making more effort to go over and talk to them? Face-to-face communication remains the most effective way to communicate, and paves the way to better social interactions.
- Relationships are the foundations for communication
Research from the Harvard Business Review found that “the best predictors of productivity were a team’s energy and engagement outside formal meetings.” Spend more time with your colleagues in an informal setting. Maybe try and coordinate your tea or lunch breaks. Ask your managers for feedback over coffee; not only does this let you improve; it builds your relationship with your boss.
- Collaboration encourages communication
Good ideas don’t come from nowhere. Even if you’re working hard on a solo project, open it up to feedback. Ask colleagues for their thoughts. You never know where their suggestions could lead you. Collaboration is a two way street; if you share your weaknesses with teammates they may well come to you with work that suits your strengths, and leads to new opportunites.
Communicating better improves your relationships. But it also makes you more productive, and a more efficient worker. It helps plot the path to your next promotion, or new and exciting responsibilities.