How to Demonstrate Good Communication SkillsKnowing how to communicate your work and ideas to the world is what can set you apart from your rivals January 18, 2019
No matter your occupation, you’re bound to communicate with colleagues, superiors and clients in the line of work. That’s why it’s important to work on your communication skills and continuously improve them.
Improperly conveying yourself may result in the loss of potential clients, bad relationships between you, colleagues and superiors and stagnation of your career growth.
So, from improving your body language to being empathetic, let’s go over the communication skills you need to master.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Effective Communication
- What Are Good Communication Skills?
- Examples of Communication Skills
- Barriers of Effective Communication
- Workplace Manners and Etiquette
- Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
- Interpersonal Communication Skills
- How to Improve Your Communication Skills
Benefits of Effective Communication
Improving communication at work is one of the best ways to boost employee satisfaction, increase yours and your colleague’s productivity and enhance customer satisfaction.
Not only that, but effective communication is an aid to leadership. Building trust, establishing good relationships between both coworkers and clients and achieving your goals are all benefits of effective communication.
What are Good Communication Skills?
Good communication is a combination of different skills used together properly. They can be grouped into three main categories – written, verbal and body language communication are what we call good communication skills.
Written Communication Skills
Knowing how to communicate your thoughts in a written form might sound simple enough, but it really isn’t something that you can do just on top of your mind. Often in a professional setting, you have to deal with lots of emails, small time periods and you must sound professional.
Another big obstacle in written communication is that it’s hard to conduct emotion, and no, emojis are no good if you want to look professional.
Work on your writing, double, or even triple-check an email or a document before you hit the “Send” button.
Spend some time on crafting your sentences and make sure you’re using the proper punctuation, as it’s the only thing that you can use to convey emotion.
It might seem like the easiest type of communication, but many people have problems to clearly get their thoughts across verbally. While we often have enough time to practice speeches and presentations, that’s not the case with surprise questions, which often occur in the line of work, and in such situations good verbal skills can be of great help.
And just like any other skill, you have to practice it enough times to become good at it. It takes time to improve your verbal skills. Meanwhile, you can make mental notes and think through possible situations that may occur throughout your day.
Proper Body Language Communication
Learning how to conduct yourself through body language and convey the right message is probably the hardest thing to master. Why? Most of our body language is influenced by how we feel and what we think, so it’s mostly subconscious.
Having to actively think about your manners and posture is hard. It’s like thinking when to inhale and exhale constantly.
Learning how to control your body language takes years of practice and self-awareness. You have to catch yourself when you’re slouching, fidgeting or crossing your arms (all subconscious signs that you aren’t comfortable) and change that.
Examples of Communication Skills
There are thousands of examples that you can take a look into and, of course, you have to tailor your approach and communication accordingly to whom you’re conversing with.
So, let’s take a look at what you should focus on to become an above average conversationalist.
Active listening is an important skill that can help you with understanding other people, settling problems and dealing with different work situation as best as possible.
It involves all your senses and it requires your full attention. So, whenever the situation requires you to be present in the conversation you have to give 100% of yourself.
There are both verbal and nonverbal signs of attentive listening. Smiling, keeping eye contact, the way you position yourself compared to the speaker can all be signs that you’re paying attention to what they have to say.
It’s almost certain that you’ll have to take part in these conversations, so you have to truly listen to what they’re saying and respond accordingly. Some indications of attentive listening are asking related questions, showing support, reflecting on what the other participants in the conversation are saying and most importantly remembering.
If you’re having a long conversation it’s always great to summarise everything at the end. That way you’ll know that you’re both on the same page, and if something important was missed.
Active listening is one of the best communication skills you can spend time developing as it can help you understand the people you work with better, help them grow or provide better services to your clients.
Body language is often a giveaway sign about what people think about when they’re talking with you and more importantly – how they feel.
Books about nonverbal communication often treat it as a language that you can learn to read, and it is to an extent.
While you may start to notice when a person is jittering, hunching or taking a power pose, it’s really hard to interpret what their posture really means.
The problem is that you can’t interpret a gesture on its own. Nonverbal communication is tightly connected with verbal and interpersonal communication and that’s where active listening and paying attention come into play.
It’s great to read about the topic of body language, but on its own trying to figure out what and how people feel based on nonverbal communication is nothing more than blindly guessing.
Starting a conversation on a friendly note by simply smiling at the person you’re talking with, shaking their hand or even asking a personal question is a sure way to set the tone for an honest conversation.
And the best thing is that you can be friendly both in written and face-to-face communication. Personalise your emails when you can and overall make both colleagues and clients feel appreciated.
Communicating confidently is a mixture of using the right words and body language. It’s important as it shows to other people that you’re confident in what you’re talking about.
It really isn’t that hard to show the world that you’re confident in your actions. Manifesting it can be as simple as using a steady and friendly tone and maintaining eye contact while you’re conversing with someone in person.
Empathy may sound simple enough, but being a truly empathetic person requires time. While some people have the ability to put themselves in other people’s place, many can’t and this communication skill is shaped mostly by how we grew up and our surroundings.
The great thing is that you can practice empathy by putting yourself in the situation of the person you’re talking with.
Whether you’re emailing, speaking in person or via phone you have to keep things concise. Good communication is based on a clear and short sharing of information.
Keep the rambling and personal talks after working hours. Speaking too much will result in your listener to zone out, or even worse – too much needless information will result in confusion which costs time and money.
It’s hard to enter a dialogue if you aren’t open-minded to the interlocutor’s point of view.
You may disagree with them, but show empathy and try your best to understand what they want to say.
Be flexible, you still have the right to disagree with the opposite side, but by keeping your mind open you’ll have a more productive communication than just sharing your side.
Providing feedback is a mandatory communication skill that is used to give work direction, praise success or acknowledge failure. There is nothing wrong in providing all types of feedback as long as you do it constructively.
While it’s often that employees won’t provide feedback to their management, it’s an important step any company should take. Feedback is a must to keep everyone at work motivated, as well as improving the quality of work and it should be a two-way thing.
Choosing the Right Medium to Communicate
Throughout your day it’s common to communicate with numerous people. Some conversations are light, others hold more value and are upright important.
It’s only normal the people we have to talk with to be busy and have limited time. Sometimes it may be important, but the other person might not be available at all.
This is where choosing the right medium to communicate your message becomes an important communication skill. To do it right, you have to be empathetic and concise.
Next time you don’t know where you should communicate with someone ask yourself questions like “Do I really need a personal meeting with my manager or can I write an email?” or “Should I handle this client by email, or maybe it’s better to talk on the phone?”.
Consider the importance of the information, as well as the situation if you’re dealing with a client and choose if you’ll contact them by email, phone or in person.
Barriers of Effective Communication
To keep the communication in your workplace effective you have to understand what are the barriers of effective communication.
Use of Jargon
Everyone appreciates a professional who is well read in his field of work, but that doesn’t mean they understand them when they start using professional jargon. Keep in mind that if you want to effectively communicate with your colleagues and clients most of the time you will have to simplify the technical terms to an understandable level.
Lack of Attention
Lack of attention in a conversation may be a result of numerous reasons. Maybe it’s a busy day, but things like bad history between the communicators, being prejudiced or being judgemental can be the reason for the lack of attention, as well.
If you don’t have the time to talk right now, reschedule for another time. If any of the above-stated problems are the reason for the lack of attention keep things professional, stay empathetic and open-minded to what they have to say.
Emotional barriers are bound to influence our behaviour in our professional day-to-day life. Pride, anger, joy, pessimism and even jealousy are good examples of emotional barriers that can play a bad role in professional communication.
At best, emotions can motivate and inspire your team, while at worst they can cause friction in daily communication, stress you, your colleagues and your clients out and, of course, stagnate the workflow, thus reducing productivity.
Workplace Manners and Etiquette
A workplace is pleasant to work in as long as everyone has good manners and keeps the workplace etiquette. A lot of different people working together on a daily basis in the same space can lead to some altercations. It’s normal as everyone has different habits and comes from a different background.
Common sense manners in the workplace are enough to keep the good relations between you and your colleagues. Avoid eating at your desk (especially if it’s smelly food), respect others’ property and workspace, pay attention during meetings and make sure you’re on time.
Be a person who leads by example and makes the office space better with its actions. Don’t be afraid to call out bad behaviour if you see it or experience it from coworkers.
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
Being comfortable to speak in front of a group of people is a valuable skill. It’s good to know how to make a good presentation, structure your speech and engage the audience when you’re speaking.
You can improve your public speaking and presentation skills by going to courses, participating in similar events, and of course, boost your confidence by being an expert in your field.
Interpersonal Communication Skills
Interpersonal communication is the things that are said, the gestures used, the tone with which the information is said and body language combined into one.
Exclusively a face-to-face contact it can happen only in person. The communicators don’t have to speak to be apart of interpersonal communication. All that is needed is for both of them to be aware they’re apart of it, and that’s why interpersonal communication skills are valuable.
In the workplace, problems with interpersonal communication may occur by wrongly reading the body language of others and improper use of words.
How to Improve Your Communication Skills
Not all of us are born great communicators, but everyone can improve their skills. Everyone feels differently about working with people, and these notions are mainly influenced by previous experiences.
Luckily most communication skills can be learned through learning more about them and daily practice.
Learn About Body Language
There are numerous articles online and books which you can read about body language, how to read it and interpret it. Some of our favourite reads are “Body Language” by Allan Pease and “What Every BODY is Saying” by Joe Navarro.
While books are great sources to understand what body language is, in order to interpret it correctly you need experience.
About the Authors
Created by Gratsiela Borisova, project manager of the Fantastic Services franchise sites in Australia and the UK, and Evgeni Asenov, blog strategist for Fantastic Services Australia. Both of them produce business-related content and share the ins and outs of starting and running a business in Australia.