As we know, clear communication at work is essential. It can mean the difference between a missed deadline and a successful project, a new customer or a lost prospect, employee happiness or frustration... the list goes on.
While there are many tips and tricks to improve communication, in this article we’re highlighting three simple but effective ones. See if you can put them into practice!
Listen: There’s a saying that goes “you have two ears and one mouth” -- which suggests you should be listening twice as much as you should be talking. Communication is as much about listening with intent as it is about speaking with clarity. The next time you’re in a conversation, check that you’re truly listening and considering what someone is saying (rather than simply waiting for your turn to talk).
Learn: If you find that people tend to misunderstand you or are constantly asking for further details on something, it may be time to ask yourself how effective you’re communicating. Do you find yourself getting caught in a volley of Q and A emaills? Do you ask people to do something and often find they completely misinterpret it? Next time, before assuming someone else is to blame, check yourself. If you’re not 100% sure you gave clear instructions, ask the person if everything made sense. If it didn’t, ask them what wasn’t clear and then clarify. Try not to get frustrated, else people will stop asking for clarification and you’ll be back to square one.
Repeat: This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last. A key way to ensure that you’re on the same page in a conversation is to use repetition. Simply repeat an action item back to the person/people involved in the dialogue: “So, to clarify, I should invite the customer to the office, Bob will prepare the meeting room, and we’ll both be in attendance?”
You may feel like an awkward parrot at first, but you’ll get used to it - and you’ll have fewer miscommunications. The added bonus of simple repetition is that it often highlights flaws in a plan early-on. On hearing a plan repeated back to you, other ideas or missed steps can surface.
If you have any other simple and actionable communication tips, let us know. We’d really like to hear them!