|Back to Back Issues Page|
iManage, Issue #001 -- How well do you communicate at work?
August 04, 2009
How well do you communicate at work?
We all know people who seem to be natural communicators at work. They communicate confidently and well with others. People respect them and help them achieve their goals. So what is their secret? Is it possible to become a better one-to-one communicator if it doesn't come naturally?
Most definitely! I have worked as a management consultant over the last 20 years and have seen people transform into great communicators, once they set their mind to it. So if you want to build better working relationships, you can. Here are three steps to help you on your way.
Step 1: So, Whats your Passion?
How well do you know the people you work with? Do you see beyond the job title and the task in hand? Take the time to find out what they do outside of work. What is their passion? Take a genuine interest in them. The skills they use and enjoy outside of work just might transfer into the workplace. And if you get to know them on a personal level, you can share their joy and know when they are experiencing difficult times. You will be able to connect at a deeper level and judge when and how to get your message across with success.
Step 2: Perception is greater than Reality
We communicate through the words we use, our tone of voice, but above all through our body language. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who doesn't speak your language? It is possible! So in the workplace, pay attention to the signals you transmit. You may be standing with your arms folded because it feels comfortable. Your employee might get the impression that you are angry or annoyed. Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, posture and dress all speak volumes without you even opening your mouth. Learn to read others as well as yourself.
Step 3: Say that again?
Develop the skill of empathy. It means being able to really understand what the other person is saying. People who are good at this tend to be non-judgemental, confidential, trustworthy and have similar life experiences. Practice active listening to help you become more empathetic. When the other person makes a statement, reflect back the feelings and the content of what they just said. For example: "It sounds like you are really upset" or "So what you are saying is..." You don't agree, disagree or sympathise. This is a particularly useful skill if someone is in an emotional state, as you allow them to vent, without adding fuel to the fire. You don't tell them what to do; you explain what you would do in that situation (and only if asked!)
So practice these steps and see how they make a real difference in your relationships, both in the workplace and in your personal life!
Until next month,
Wishing you every success!
|Back to Back Issues Page|