5 essential communication skills
In such a digitised world, it’s important for business owners, project managers and other staff to practise effective communication.
No matter the industry or type of business you’re running, the ability to communicate effectively with staff, colleagues and other key stakeholders is imperative. How messages are conveyed, and to whom, forms a crucial part of how teams and a business operate and are perceived by the public.
Whether you are managing contractors and other staff, leading and managing a project, working autonomously as a contractor or working within a team, sound communication skills will help you to work more effectively, efficiently and to get the job done! Here’s how:
The general consensus is that listening is numero uno when it comes to communication! Practising active listening involves listening to the person, asking questions to clarify and gaining a solid understanding of the information they are presenting.
When verbally relaying a message, it’s important to carry out verbal communication positively and in the right way so that it isn’t hazardous to your business or the organisation you work for. Ensure you are expressing the information in a clear and concise manner. Being assertive rather than aggressive is also key.
Body language, eye contact, hand gestures and stance are a form of non-verbal communication, as are tone, font and colour in written messages.
Pay attention to non-verbal communication signals. For example, if someone isn’t looking you in the eye, they may not be telling the truth. A relaxed stance and open arms equates to comfort, and good posture and eye contact shows confidence in what a person is saying. It’s also important to be culturally aware when it comes to communication. For instance, in some cultures it might be considered rude to actually make eye contact.
Personal presentation in professional environments can also project messages to others. Dressing for a boardroom meeting with a room of directors and execs will differ to when working on site.
EMPATHY AND RESPECT
Often forgotten, but just as important as the rest. It’s unrealistic to think that we are all going to agree with one another in a workplace every time. That said, it’s important to allow others to voice their thoughts and opinions, to respect their point of view and to also share your thoughts. Often different ways of looking at concepts is how the best ideas are formed!
Also be mindful of people’s personal space. From the words of Aretha Franklin, R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
The ability to give and receive constructive feedback helps us to grow and develop.
Positive and encouraging feedback is important to keep up motivation and so that staff and colleagues are aware of the good work they are doing, and that it’s noticed and appreciated.
The way you approach an individual with constructive feedback is key – with respect and allowing for two-way communication. It’s also important to ensure others follow through with any issues or concerns that have been addressed.
Constructive feedback is very useful and should be delivered in a way that isn’t humiliating or resentful, but rather, a helpful way of encouraging others to change an action or behaviour and/or to develop.