Good communication is one of the keys to working effectively, but it’s not an easy skill to master. Whether you’re working with colleagues, freelancers, suppliers or customers, you need to learn how to communicate with a broad range of people, in order to run your business efficiently. Here are five tools for mastering the art of communication in the workplace.
1 It starts with empathy
It’s difficult to communicate well, if you can’t demonstrate empathy. The ability to understand the other person’s point of view is key to being able to share opinions in a truly non-judgemental manner. Whether you’re talking to co-workers or customers, you need to appreciate what their needs are, before you can clearly communicate your own. Start your conversations by asking the other person what they are hoping to get from the discussion.
2 Watch your tone
When we think about communication, we often think about words and what is actually being said. But one of the most important aspects of communication, is about the way in which the words are said, also known as tone. Even a friendly discussion can quickly turn sour, if someone perceives the tone of another to be harsh or untoward. If you want to learn how to communicate effectively, start by becoming very conscious of your tone of voice.
3 Slow down
When you are trying to explain a complex topic or give detailed instructions, it’s important to take time to communicate your message slowly and clearly. When you’re rushed or only half listening before dashing off to your next meeting, you are giving the impression that the person you are talking to is not important and you are not leaving room for questions. Communication is a two-way street, so make sure you are giving your team members plenty of time to respond.
4 Communicate often
In order to minimise misunderstandings and ensure you are clearly communicating to your staff, clients and customers, you need to keep the lines of communication open. Make sure your business has an open door policy, that allows people to address any issues quickly or ask questions when needed. Let everyone know they can also approach you if they need to talk, and let them know what the best methods of contact are if they need to reach out.
5 Ask for feedback
If you’re committed to getting better at communication, why not ask your team or co-workers for feedback. Ask how you can improve and if they can see any potential communication issues in the office. This shouldn’t be a one time thing either, but something that you regularly do, to make sure the business is running smoothly and your employees and third-party stakeholders are happy.