Regardless of the industry, you are going to work in; possessing effective communication skills to engage with your staff, colleagues, and superiors effectively. Nowadays, you must know how to effectively receive and convey messages in person and also through social media, email and over the phone/voice call.
Having effective communication skills will assist you in getting hired, promotions and be successful throughout your career. In this post, I will be sharing some of the skills you can improve to become a much prolific communicator.
10 effective communication skills to further your career
The hiring managers and recruiters would like to see this list of skills portrayed in your cover letter and resume. You will have a strong first impression when you highlight and demonstrate these skills during your interviews. Continue developing these skills once you are hired to impress your clients, teammates and the boss even more.
1. Active listening
If you genuinely want to be a good communicator, then you have to be a good listener. No one wants to interact with someone who keeps on interrupting the conversation and only cares about what he or she has to say without taking a break to listen to what the other person is saying first.
If you are a poor listener, you are going to have a hard time to understand what you are being directed to do. Always take time to practice being an active listener.
Being an active listener means that you are going to pay close attention to what the other person is saying, ask relevant questions for clarification and rephrasing what they are saying (with a phrase such as, “So, what you are saying is that…”) to show understanding and concern. You will be able to easily understand what the other person is saying and respond appropriately through active listening.
2. Providing timely feedback
Giving and receiving feedback appropriately is an essential communication skill that you need to be successful in your career, and that holds true for any level in the organization be it assistant or top management.
Supervisors and managers should always look for efficient ways to give employees or clients constructive feedback, be it through weekly status updates, phone calls, or emails. Providing timely feedback can significantly increase motivation, and it involves appreciating or giving praise with simple words like “thank you for taking the time to…” or “good job.” Also, it is important for you to encourage and accept feedback from other people. Listen to the feedback, ask relevant questions to clarify any unsure issue and make an effort to implement the feedback.
3. Speaking clearly and concisely
Effective verbal communication means that you don’t talk too little or too much; you say just enough.
Try to convey your message in as clear and concise as possible. Whether you are talking to someone through email, on the phone, or in person, say what you want directly and clearly. The one you are communicating with will either be unsure of what you want or will tune you out if you ramble on.
Before you even say it, think about what you want to say to avoid confusing your audience and talking too much.
One typical example would be: you are delivering a presentation of a solution to your customer, for instance, if you ramble and get lost in your own words, they might get confused and assume the service/product is not that great, causing a loss to both you and your company.
4. Be friendly
You will encourage your employees, coworkers, or employer to engage with you in an honest and open communication through a friendly tone, a smile or a personal question. It is essential to be polite and courteous in all your workplace communications, whether written or face-to-face communication.
To ensure that the recipient of your message feels appreciated, you can personalize your emails with a short quote such as, “I hope you enjoyed your weekend.”
This point can be controversial depending on the type of culture or country you are working on, as there are top managers who believe in more of a stern and severe approach to dealing with their staff. I have experienced working for one that only smiled once in three years, and that was at his farewell party.
5. Have empathy
Even if you are not on the same page with your employee, coworker or an employer, it is crucial for you to respect and understand their point of view. Using a phrase such as, “I understand what you mean” will show that you have been listening to what they were saying and you respect their opinion. This will ensure that the disagreement will not interrupt the workflow and performance of the daily business.
Don’t be that co-worker who is approached by someone asking for support and he replies “I don’t care, not my problem.” Instead, provided you can spare some time, say something like “I am busy with some stuff now, let me find sometime later to help you with that.”
6. Pay attention to nonverbal communication
Your tone of voice, hand gestures, eye contact, and body language shows the message you are trying to put across.
When you are relaxed with legs relaxed, arms open and have a friendly tone, you reveal yourself as approachable and encourage others to speak with you openly. Eye contact is crucial (but don’t stare because you can make the other person uncomfortable) since you show that you are focused on the conversation and the person as well.
Also, please pay attention to nonverbal signals of other people while talking because they reveal how they are really feeling. For instance, if the person you are talking to is avoiding eye contact, they might be hiding the truth, or they are uncomfortable.
7. Be open-minded
You should be flexible and open-minded if you are a good communicator. Instead of just getting your message across, be open to listen and understand the other person’s point of view. You will have more productive and honest conversations by being willing to have a dialogue even with people whom you are not on the same page.
Being able to open your mind to new ideas, new ways of looking at things and absorb them in order to better equip yourself and your team with the right tools to make decisions is, perhaps the most critical of the communication skills needed in the entrepreneurial world we’re moving into.
8. Be confident
It is essential to be confident while interacting with others. It may sound like this point does not belong to a list of communication skills, however, if you look at it from the right angle, it may just make sense to you.
Confidence demonstrates that you believe in what you are saying to your employee, coworker or an employer and you will follow through. Be careful not to sound aggressive or arrogant and always listen actively to the other person.
9. Pick the appropriate medium
Knowing what form of communication to use is one of the most important and effective communication skills you can master early on. For instance, if the person you want to speak to is very busy, you should convey your message through an email but if you’re going to have a conversation like changes in salary; it will be best to do it in person.
10. Respect others
Other people will communicate with you openly if you show respect for them and the ideas that they put across. You will make one feel appreciated when you listen actively when they speak, make eye contact, and use their name when addressing them. Stay focused and avoid continually distracting the conversation while on the phone.
By taking your time to edit your emails, you will be demonstrating respect since the recipient might think otherwise if you send a confusing and sloppily written email.
Respect people’s boundaries, cultural gaps, by addressing them with the right tone, wording, and even dress code (Yap, even that). What I mean by this in simple terms is BE CONSIDERATE!
Having effective communication skills can lead to both professional and personal success, and if you follow the above ten effective communication skills tips, you will be on the highway to jumpstart your career.
- Active Listening – listen attentively, paraphrase and ask questions to make sure that you understand the message, and that your audience feels listened to.
- Provide Timely Feedback – providing timely and constructive feedback is an essential skill to have and to teach your team.
- Speaking clearly and Concisely – try your best to give the essential message, and that’s it.
- Be friendly – speak politely, smile and try to be a team player.
- Have empathy – show concern for others, and do your best to help or at least sympathize.
- Pay attention to non-verbal communication – there’s more going on in any conversation than just what the person is saying.
- Be Open-Minded, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and learn from that
- Be Confident and transmit that through your body language and words
- Know how to choose the best medium to convey your message
- Respect others, be considerate of others in your tone, wording and even dress code.
These are some of the ideas I wanted to share with you today. Thank you for reading this far, let me know what you think. What other communication skills you would add to the list and why?
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
Improving Communication: Developing Effective Communication Skills. https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/improving-communication.html. Accessed on 03/19/2019.
Communication Skills for Workplace Success. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/communication-skills-list-2063779. Accessed on 03/19/2019.
Effective Communication Skills – The Art of Communication. http://www.leadership-development-tips.com/effective-communication-skills.html. Accessed on 03/19/2019.