Good communication solves problems before they become problems.
Whether you’re talking about the professional world or just everyday life, communications skills are extremely valuable. Like all other skills, it comes easy to some people while others need to work a little harder to perfect their abilities. Good communication skills are not something you’re born with. You can learn and improve at any point. Check out a few tips for becoming a better communicator.
Don’t think that being a good communicator is simply about being able to say the right thing. Communication is a two-way street. The listening component is as essential as the verbal component — maybe even more essential. Really consider what the other side is saying before you respond. What do they want? What are they not understanding? What can I clarify for them? Don’t get caught up thinking about what you’ll say next. Let the other side of the communication inform your side and you’ll have a more educated and worthwhile exchange.
Think about your goal.
In business especially, communication usually comes with a specific goal. Maybe you’re explaining a new project to colleagues. Maybe you’re pitching an idea. Maybe you’re discussing a workplace issue. Whatever it is, identifying the your goal can make it much more effective. This doesn’t mean you are communicating for a specific outcome, but think about what you want to get across to your audience, whomever it may be. Identifying this beforehand can help to shape your message more concisely.
Again, communication is not one-way. Listening is key, but sometimes there needs to be a little more effort to get everyone on the same page. Say someone is explaining a new business concept to you and you just aren’t understanding it. Instead of getting frustrated or panicking, help them explain it in a way that you’ll grasp. Ask them for specific details, run some things back at them to see if you understood, or ask them to simplify it. Good communication means both parties are walking away with the necessary information.
Be conscious of your tone.
Tone can change a conversation very quickly. Whatever the content of the message being conveyed or the purpose intended behind it, the wrong tone can lead to everything being misinterpreted. Especially in the workplace, an awareness of tone is very important to maintain constructive and professional communication. With certain subjects or dealing with certain people, there can be an amount of frustration or impatience. Don’t let those emotions cloud your message. If your point or concerns can be communicated in a professional way, it’s all the more likely to be resolved.
Communication is important in any business and any role. If you feel your communication skills could use a little help, try these tips going forward.