Communication is an important part of any business. The wrong interpretation of a message can have huge ramifications. People may think communication is just about talking but there is so much more that we convey when speaking. This article highlights some aspects to consider for more effectivecommunicationin the workplace.
One of the important parts of conversation is being an active listener. Focus on the person speaking and don’t let your eyes wander or look at your watch, etc. Don’t interrupt a person whilst they’re in full flow– we’ve all been there when someone interrupts us and before you know it, the conversation has taken a different turn and you’ve forgotten what you were going to say.
A good communicator has the patience to let the other person/people have their say before they contribute. This is an important skill for managers since their team hast or feel they will be listened to. It also gives confidence to people in the workplace that they will be heard.
Clear communication is also necessary. There are times when someone is speaking and the meaning they attach to a certain word is different to yours which can lead to cause confusion. For example, the word “theatre” has a very different meaning to an actor and a surgeon. Is it about a play or an operation?
An extreme example maybe, but in the workplace, the nuances of the same word being used in different contexts can lead to mistakes so clarify to people exactly what you mean. There is no guarantee that a meaning you attach to a phrase will be identical to someoneelse’s.
Having empathy with the person speaking with you can have many benefits. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and understand what they are going through. If one of their family has an illness and it’s affecting their work, how would you feel in the same situation? We may react differently in the same situation, but having that empathy will give you an idea of what emotions the person is going through and help you understand their needs.
On a subconscious level, we are probably interpreting a person’s body language as we talk and again, this is another communication skill. A person’s tone of voice can help us see if they’re enthusiastic, being sarcastic or unhappy about what we have to say. Facial expressions such as a smile or a frown, a person’s posture or stance all convey some meaning about what’s going on. Become more conscious of this – notice your body language in addition to others.
People also react differently depending upon the type of communication. Some people like to read books, others prefer audio books. This is because they have a preference for one communication mode overanother.
Below are the main types:
- Visual – reading, pictures – documents,video
- Auditory – spoken, like to listen – mp3,audio
- Kinesthetic – touch, hands on. Work better by walking it through,practicing.
In the workplace, it’s important to know which people fit into which category so that project requirements can be given to them more effectively. If a person prefers to listen, having them speak to someone will be faster than having them read lots ofdocuments.
We need to understand that everyone is different in how they handle information and communication. If a manager likes to talk, but the client prefers to read documents, there is a mismatch which could lead to problems.
The art of communication is about knowing that everyone is different and tailoring what you have to say to their preferences. It is a skill which can lead to more productivity for a company, more sales and so on. At EnlightOne, we have a course to help people communicate effectively by teaching them in more detail the above points. They discover how to understand other people not by words alone but also by which communication mode best fits.
Author Bio. – Dr Malti Patel has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and has been practising Mindfulness Meditation for over 10 years. Her company EnlightOne provides training to help businesses with their communication skills and the wellbeing of their employees. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.