As good as we think we are at communicating effectively in the workplace, most of us can improve our business communication skills in one way or another. We do not want our efforts toward fostering strong working relationships to backfire due to easily avoidable miscommunications with our colleagues.
Luckily, it is not necessarily about what you say; it is usually more a matter of how you say it. Follow the tips below to better your communication skills in your office:
1. Take a deep breath – Communication in the workplace will not always be without conflict. When dealing with conflict, take a deep breath and be as calm as you can. If you find yourself in a heated discussion, think about your response before you speak and put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
- Takeaway: Before addressing a conflicting viewpoint, take the time to consider your words; ultimately, you want to be heard, but without being offensive.
2. Written communication can be misinterpreted – Do you take all caps to mean someone is YELLING? Do italics mean you are emphasizing a word? What about bolded words? Aim to have as many live meetings as you can, whether that is in person, over the phone or through video-conferencing. This is a great way to prevent written communications at the workplace from being misinterpreted.
- Takeaway: Talk directly with your colleagues whenever possible; don’t leave the opportunity for written communication to be misconstrued.
3. Be Positive – This is critical to the long term health of a team, especially when it comes to having good communication skills in the workplace. Communicate in a positive, reaffirming way with your colleagues and you are sure to see morale improve.
- Takeaway: Your attitude when communicating is just as important as what you’re saying. Keep it positive!
4. Humor has its place and its time – There are people known as “the class clowns” who think they can skate through life by turning everything into a joke. Ultimately, they can become a distraction and possibly undermine the best interests of the team. Know the place and time for your humor. Be conscious of the tone of your next meeting and remember just because it is popular on The Office, doesn’t make it office appropriate.
- Takeaway: Comedic contributions are appreciated, when it is the right time and the right place. Remind either yourself or your teammate that comedy bits are usually not appropriate when the tone of the meeting is serious. You don’t have to be stuffy and uptight when communicating at the office, but you do have to be professional.