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Top tips on how to communicate effectively in the workplace

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This is the first article in a new series for recent graduates about to embark on their ‘proper’ job.  Effective communication – both written and oral – is critically important for your success and chances of promotion at your company.  It also frequently comes near the top of the list of essential qualities of candidates in job descriptions. So here are some key tips on how to polish your communication to achieve the results you want and to get yourself noticed and respected amongst colleagues:

  1. Master the art of the business email. In busy professional environments, a lot of people prefer communicating via mail – for both internal and external messages so drafting a concise and clear message is an important skill. Keep your emails short and to-the-point, clearly-structured and broken up into paragraphs, well proofread and with the main purpose of the email conveyed clearly close to the beginning.  Use plain English. For more information on writing effective business emails see my other blog post here.
  2. When communicating with colleagues or superiors, aim to demonstrate your expertise on the subject matter – this builds your credibility and helps you build rapport, establish trust and gain respect within your target audience. You could for instance, use examples from your academic study or previous work experience that are related to your current assignment or what you are discussing.
  3. Listen more than you speak (this of course depends on the context of communication as for instance, when you are presenting you will expect to speak more). But overall the rule of thumb here is – try to create opportunities for others to voice their opinions and engage in conversation with you so that you don’t simply end up broadcasting your message but create a discussion around the subject matter.
  4. When communicating with colleagues or superiors, try not to judge them or criticize them straight away. Stay open-minded in your communication efforts, trying to understand the problem or challenge at hand and arrive at the best possible solution without being judgmental.
  5. If something is unclear, don’t hide it, paraphrase your understanding. For instance, something along the lines, “I heard you recommending this… Have I understood you correctly?” Showing empathy, asking questions, giving feedback are all signs of active listening, which you should be employing in your workplace.
  6. Understand your audience well and target your message to them as much as you can. Try to anticipate their needs and what they would like to take away from this particular discussion and centre it around their goals and objectives.

In our next article, we will be looking at non-verbal communication and its importance in producing a memorable first impression. I will leave you with this great quote by the marketing guru Peter Drucker, which re-emphasises the importance of active listening “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”.

For more information on our effective communication in the workplace training for new joiners, graduates or business schools, please get in touch on dasha@careercoachingventures.com

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