By: Meghan Bassett
Effectively communicating with coworkers is something you cannot afford to overlook. There are many things which can make or break the success of a company, and communication is certainly one of them. Despite the important role clear communication plays in the workplace, there are many employees that have not been trained in effectively communicating with coworkers. Here are four important tips that, if followed, will help you become a better communicator.
Effectively communicating with coworkers starts with active listening
The truth is, not many of us are great listeners. We tend to not listen to what someone is saying, interrupt them, or begin to prepare a response before they can finish what they are going to say. This is something we all need to avoid, especially when our goal is effectively communicating with coworkers. When you are speaking with another coworker, be actively involved with what they are saying. This can be accomplished by simply reacting to what they say with a nod or by paraphrasing what the other person said. By doing this you are confirming that you are listening while also strengthening your own understanding. You will make a better impression on your coworker.
Build trust, but don’t get too casual
It is perfectly acceptable to get a little personal with the people you work with day in and day out. By interacting on a personal level, you can build trust among your coworkers. However, as you are building this bond, be aware of yourself and do not slide into being too casual. Make sure your emails, meetings and phone calls are still professional, regardless of how well you know them. By being too casual with your coworkers, you may make them uncomfortable and this will hinder your future communications with them.
Be aware of your tone
In a time when email and social media are the primary sources of communication, it can be difficult to determine tone when you are reading words on a page. You could mean something as a joke, but the reader could interpret it as hostile or rude, which could lead to an unintended reaction. Try to make your words as clear as possible or meet in person if you are hesitant about how to put it into an email. Most importantly, never forget the pro tip: never write angry. Nothing good ever comes from writing an email while your emotions are heightened. Cool off and come back to it later.
Watch your body language
Believe it or not, body language plays a key role in effectively communicating with coworkers. You may be speaking clearly and saying all the right things, but if your body language is off, your coworkers will pick up on it. The best way to remedy this is to simply start paying attention to your body language. Avoid sighing, averting your eyes, or any other negative body language so you don’t unintentionally communicate something. Try to use forms of positive body language such as maintaining eye contact and genuine smiles. It may seem basic, but it’s true that a smile goes a long way.
To master effectively communicating with coworkers, pay attention to how your body language affects how you communicate and how others do in return. It may be difficult to adapt your current communication style and it may take time, but the effort will be well worth it.