After job skills, good office communication skills are your most important asset in the workplace. Even as more and more of our professional communications take place via technology, face-to-face interactions are still crucial. Do you know how to communicate effectively with your coworkers? Let’s find out!
Communication in the Workplace
These communication skills will serve you well during your job hunt process and interviews. Once you’re hired, keep practicing and learning to be an effective team member. Your boss and coworkers will be impressed! Here are the skills you should be practicing now:
- Choosing the right medium
- Active listening
- Nonverbal communication
- Friendliness & openness
1) Choosing the Right Medium
Good office communication starts by knowing how to approach the other person. Different conversations are best had through different communication media. For instance, a quick question or reminder can just be sent through an email or even a text message. On the other hand, discussing a raise or holding a 90-day review is best done in person. How will your choice of media affect the topic of your conversation?
2) Active Listening
Active listening involves more than just hearing what the person is saying to you. Listen intently to them, ask clarifying questions, and repeat important information back (“So when you say that, you mean…”) to prevent any confusion. They will appreciate knowing that you are paying attention, and better yet, repeating their points will help you remember them better later on.
3) Nonverbal Communication
Actions, or body language in this case, speak louder than words. If you tend to sit with your arms folded and don’t make eye contact, others may view you as standoffish and unapproachable. On the opposite extreme, never looking away from another person while they talk comes across as overbearing. Adopt a good balance in your body language. Sit with an “open” body language posture, arms at your sides and legs relaxed, and make eye contact as appropriate. Others will learn to read and appreciate your body language.
Pro Tip: Learn to read your coworkers’ body language in your communications with them. Often, their posture and behavior will speak volumes compared to their words.
4) Friendliness & Openness
Professionalism certainly has its place. But how often do you smile and have casual talks with your coworkers? Use a friendly tone of voice and show interest in what others have to say or contribute. This attitude will help others relax around you and show that you respect their opinions.
You can be the friendliest person in the office and have excellent nonverbal communication skills, but unless you know how to help others understand you, you won’t get far. This goes beyond enunciating your words properly. How much time do you spend focusing on your topic versus talking about only tangentially related information? Does your point tend to get lost in your speech? Keep your communications clear and to the point to prevent confusion.
Finally, confidence in oneself is a valuable skill to possess in the workplace. Don’t second-guess yourself in conversations with your coworkers–show that you truly believe in what you’re saying. Your confidence will boost your credibility and your coworkers’ view of you. As cliche as it may sound, believing in yourself will help you accomplish great things!
Good Office Communication Skills
Communication skills do more than just ensure you can understand others and help others understand you. Leaving an excellent impression on people and encouraging an atmosphere of openness will contribute to a healthy work environment as well. Work on your skills to give yourself the best chance for success in your office!
Join the conversation to learn more about effective communication skills in the workplace.