When it comes to good skills to have in the workplace, communication is definitely up there. In fact, many people would argue that it is the top skill to have. It can make life at work a lot easier for you and everyone else around you at work. And who wouldn’t want to do that? In this post, we’ll be taking you through some easy ways to improve communication skills in the workplace, for yourself and your colleagues or team. And, we’ll also be taking a look at exactly why communication is so vital, and why it’s a skill that everyone should be working on!
What is communication and why is it important in the workplace?
Firstly, we’ll take a look into what communication is, and why communication skills are just so important. Communication can take many forms, from written to oral and everything in between. It also involved actively listening and actually taking on board what is being communicated to you. In the workplace, chances are that you spend a good proportion of your day communicating in some way, whether you realise it or not! So, if we’re all using this skill so much, surely it is a priority to make sure that we’re good at it? Being a good communicator can build trust between you and others, help projects get completed more efficiently, and much, much more. Here are just a few of the reasons why communication in the workplace is such a vital thing to have:
It helps avoid confusion
Everyone has been in a confusing situation at work. Perhaps you don’t know what is going on with a project, or what you need to work on to complete it. These situations can be really frustrating and make you feel at a bit of a loss! But, the vast majority of them can be avoided with effective communication between everyone. As a result, you will save time and confusion, which can all be put to better use completing your projects. So, finding easy ways to improve communication skills that work for you should be a priority if you often find yourself confused.
“Team” and “building” are probably two words that many people don’t want to hear together. They conjure up visions of embarrassing activities and forced fun. But, this isn’t the only way to strengthen your work as a team! Effective communication can really go a long way towards team building. After all, if everyone is comfortable communicating with each other, they will get to know one another better. As a result, everyone’s strengths and weaknesses will be known, so tasks can be divided up in an efficient way that actually makes sense.
Communication gives everyone a voice
What do employees like about their workplaces? There can be many things, but everyone likes to know that their voice is being heard, no matter who they are or what job they do. Open and effective communication is one way to ensure that this happens. One of the easy ways to improve communication skills is by creating good channels of communication that can help give people the confidence to speak up and be heard without fear of prejudice. Whether they have something positive or negative to say, making sure everyone’s voice is heard is vital for any organisation that wants to retain happy and confident employees.
It builds trust
When we think of trusting relationships in the workplace, we often think about managers and their employees. Does the manager trust their employees to get the job done without them having to watch over them like a hawk? And, do the employees trust the manager to lead them well? Yes, building trust between these two groups of people is really important for an organisation to run smoothly. But, it is also important for employees themselves to trust each other. Good communication builds trust because it ensures that everyone is on the same page. Everybody knows what they are meant to be doing, and when they are meant to be doing it, which can help you to avoid conflict. Trust is the backbone of good relationships, so it really is vital to have if you want your working life to run smoothly.
Easy ways to improve communication skills
Improving your communication skills doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are a few things that you can implement into your daily life that will really help you build upon these skills.
Don’t be afraid to use tools
The modern workplace is always a busy place! Chances are you will have multiple projects and things that require your attention going on at once. This can make communication difficult because you need to wade through all of the mess to get to what you actually want. This is where good tools that are genuinely useful can come in. Whether it’s tools to organise your individual to-do list, or a company-wide roll out of a project management system, organisation is really key to communication. Once everyone is aware of what they need to do, and when they need to do it by, communication becomes far, far easier. If your current tools aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to overhaul them. It may take a bit of trial and error (and transition periods where nobody is sure what’s going on) to work out what is actually going to make everyone’s ability to communicate skills better, but it will be worth it in the end!
Often, when we are conversing with someone, we are more focused on what we’re going to say next, rather than really listening to what they have to say. But, listening is really key to communication. And, one of the easy ways to improve communication skills overall is to improve your listening skills! Make sure to practice active listening wherever you can. Be engaged in what the other person is telling you, and show them that you are listening with your body language. This sounds simple, but you would be surprised by how often we forget to do it! The person you are communicating with will respect the fact that you are truly listening to them and their concerns. This is another way to build that all-important trust in your professional relationships.
Think carefully about how you’re communicating
Everyone loves emailing because it’s simple, quick, easy, and you don’t have to speak to anyone face-to-face. This must mean that it’s the best method of communicating, right? Well, while email definitely has its place, and we would all be lost without it, it is important to think about what the best way of communicating your message really is. Things can easily get lost in translation over email, leading to confusion as mentioned above. Don’t be afraid of communicating more directly, either over the phone or face to face. Often, this can actually save time, as you’re not having to send multiple emails back and forth to clarify your point. While many people often do their best to avoid face to face meetings, it’s often the easiest way of communicating and also gives us human connection and interaction, helping to strengthen trust between colleagues, clients, customers, and more!
Be an active communicator
How can we expect others to communicate well with us, if we aren’t doing the same with them? If you want easy ways to improve communication skills in your organisation, then be a role model for what good communication looks like! But how can you do this? There are several simple steps that you can take. Firstly, always make sure that you are communicating updates about your work to anyone who may find them useful. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Then, make sure that you let everyone you work with know that you are there for whatever they may need, and that your lines of communication are open. This will encourage others to keep their lines of communication open, too, leading to more communication all around. Finally, ensure that any messages you are communicating are as clear as possible, to minimise the chance of confusion and to just generally make things easy for everyone.
This is only the beginning of what you can do to improve communication within your organisation as a whole. Essentially, if you ever wish that somebody was communicating with you more effectively, think about whether you are doing it yourself! The best way to bring about change is to be a leader, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when it comes to communication.
Make objectives and expectations clear
Leading on from this, no matter what your position may be in an organisation, it’s important to clearly set out your expectations. This could be from your role in a general sense, or individual tasks or projects. This is perhaps especially important for managers. Clearly set out to your team what you expect of them, and the chances for confusion are minimised. Furthermore, make sure that everyone is actually aware of what needs to be done. And, don’t forget to check in regularly and keep the lines of communication open for anyone who may need further clarification and support.
This list of easy ways to improve communication skills is definitely not exhaustive! There are so many ways to improve your communication skills, that will make your life at work easier and build up your skills for the future. Here at Chrysalis Partners South, we are passionate about working with businesses to help them grow. Enhancing communication and the associated skills is a big part of this. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the contact form here and I’ll get back to your shortly to discuss your individual requirements.