Emails. Instant messaging. One-on-one meetings. Conference calls. Team meetings. Project management programs.
In an office environment, we all use most of these techniques to communicate with our coworkers on a daily basis. However, knowing how to and using the technology doesn’t mean you are communicating well. Because in the end, it all comes down to how you interact with people.
Check out the nine tips below to help you effectively engage with your coworkers.
1. Listen First, Speak Second
The golden rule to communicating effectively is to listen and act like you are listening. Whether it’s due to impatience, excitement or even rudeness, repeated interruptions can take a toll on the relationship. Make a point to actively listen and respond appropriately. In turn, you should receive the same courtesy you have given.
2. Understand How Others Communicate
Not everyone communicates the same way. For some, email is preferred, while others would rather have a face-to-face conversation. As you continue to work with someone, learn how they best communicate to more easily receive the answers or feedback you’re looking for.
3. Pay Attention to Body Language
In many situations, the words come out of our mouths and our body language can be two completely different things. Pay attention to (and be aware of your own) eye contact, facial expressions and tone of voice, as they can often be louder than words. Keep in mind that the way you look, listen and react during a conversation can affect how you’re perceived and, in in turn, trusted.
4. Your Tone Before You Hit Send (or Post)
Between email, instant messaging, social media and project management programs, we often type more than we speak to each other, especially in an office environment. While effective, it can easily go wrong when tone, intentional or not, is taken the wrong way. Before you hit send, reread the message to make sure you say what you intend to say.
5. Recap the Conversation
Toward the end of the conversation, restate major points and action items on your part to show you were paying attention. This will also show that you understand the task at hand and what is expected.
6. Ask Questions (and Invite Them)
The best way to show that you are paying attention is to ask questions. Just be careful not to ask questions that might have been answered had you been paying attention, as that can backfire. In addition to asking questions, welcome them. Create an environment where people feel that they can ask for your help or guidance.
7. Build a Rapport
Be friendly with your coworkers to build a rapport and therefore, trust. It doesn’t need to be too personal, but beginning conversations with small talk (and remembering details from previous conversations) can create a bond where people want to work with you.
8. Be Respectful
Whether you are the speaker or the listener, be respectful. Even when you don’t feel like you’re getting it, remain respectful as it may affect other relationships you have within your office.
9. Remember Where You Are
When speaking with a coworker, be cognizant of the time and setting of the conversation. If you need to have a private conversation, make sure it’s in a private location.
Communication is essential for a business, and also you as an employee, to succeed. Strive to communicate not only for today, but for tomorrow as well.
What do you think is the most important way to communicate?