Whether you’re one of the world’s most high-profile business leaders or at the helm of a young startup, you have an array of communication methods at your disposal. The tricky part, however, is knowing which of them to choose and how exactly to use them.
Even just over the last decade, workplace communication has seen a significant rupture as the technological likes of Skype and Slack have competed for attention. However, there remain suitable times and places for interacting face-to-face; here are some techniques to prioritise refining.
Listen before expecting others to do likewise
How much of your daily communication involves listening? According to studies cited by this Entrepreneur article, it’s 45%, whereas 30% is set aside for speaking.
However, this doesn’t prevent our listening skills from being, by and large, terrible – thanks to distractions, daydreaming and overanalysing aplenty. All the same, though, you can’t expect to be able to connect to other people’s concerns if you fail to thoroughly understand what they are.
Carefully analyse body language, too
Former Forbes contributor Steve Olenski quotes Glenn Wilson as saying in his book Introducing Body Language – A Practical Guide: “Where body language conflicts with the words that are being said, the body language will usually be the more ‘truthful’ in the sense of revealing true feelings.”
By paying attention to such non-verbal cues as expressions, gestures and posture, you can glean a more reliable insight into the inner thinking of, say, clients and interviewees.
Avoid being verbose when communicating vocally
As already revealed in this article, people can’t always be trusted to listen attentively. For this reason, when you communicate verbally, you should do so in a clear and to-the-point manner. This entails leaving out words that the average person would not understand.
You could find it useful to prepare your words ahead of time, in the process anticipating objections that might be raised and how you could put people at ease about your opinions or solutions.
Hone your writing skills
If you are accustomed to communicating verbally on most occasions, such as over the phone or in the meeting room, your written text could, conversely, too often degenerate into “text speak”. Facebook Messenger, it seems, can have a lot to answer for…
Nonetheless, your written text, like the oral communication, can benefit from losing unnecessary flab. Don’t write in ten words what can, without losing the original meaning, be put down in five. After all, outsourcing your email-writing to marketing agencies might not be very cost-effective…
Use communication technology in the right way – or ways
Anna Pickard, a Slack creative director, acknowledged to CMSWire that modern tech can mean “a lot of context switching and wasting time trying to remember what you were doing”. Therefore, she advocates sorting the most efficient tools from the timewasters.
Those tools readily accessible to your whole workforce can prove especially efficient. Those can include the Employee Assistance Programme from LifeWorks, which is capable of spurring a 92% improvement in workers’ issues and reducing absenteeism by 47%.