If you do a bit of research on one of the main reasons behind why so many marriages end in divorce, many experts and therapists will tell you that it’s due to the fact that there has been a breakdown in communication. Oh, but it doesn’t just affect marital unions. Poor communication can also make things very tense within the workplace. And as we all know, when people are not effectively connecting with one another, it can cause lots of challenges up the road.
So, if you are someone who would like to discover some ways to improve the communication climate at your office, here are five tips that will provide you with the tools that you need to engage those around you in a more productive way:
Listen. Although a lot of people would probably say that the first thing that people should do is clearly articulate their thoughts (which we’ll get into in a moment), honestly, if we all focused on listening better, we would create an environment where people would want to hear what we had to say in return. Listening isn’t just about being quiet until someone finishes speaking. Listening is about thoughtfully paying attention to their words and processing them before responding (if there is a need to respond at all).
Be clear. When people use the phrase “lost in translation”, it can definitely apply to the times when they are trying to hear where a person is coming from, but it’s hard to grasp their perspective because they did not really think their points through before stating them. It can make things a lot easier on you and those around you if you would do the very thing that a lot of us were told as kids: “Think before you speak.”
Watch your body language. There are a lot that we “talk” without ever saying a word. That’s because whether we realize it or not, our body does a lot of our “talking” for us. So, if you are having a face-to-face conversation or if you are in a business meeting with a group of people, make sure to make eye contact, to not roll your eyes or turn up your lips, to acknowledge things that are being said (even if it’s simply by a nodding of the head) and to always address people by their name.
Keep a paper trail. Another obstacle that sometimes happens in the workplace is that things are said that are not remembered (or remembered in the context in which they were stated). This is why when it comes to pertinent matters, especially if it was addressed during a brief conversation, it is best to follow-up with an email so that everyone can be on the same page. Literally.
Remain positive. You don’t have to have a master of communication to know that things simply go better in the office when you determine to approach matters from a “glass half full” rather than a “glass half empty” perspective. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to act like things are perfect when they’re not, but if you purpose in your mind to be more solutions-oriented than problem-focused, it always makes things better for everyone in the long run. It’s definitely a signature characteristic of an effective communicator.