The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is essential, no matter what industry you work in. Workers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media.
These top communication skills will help you get hired, land promotions, and be a success throughout your career.
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who cares only about putting in her two cents and does not take the time to listen to the other person. If you’re not a good listener, it’s going to be hard to comprehend what you’re being asked to do.
Take the time to practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding.
Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice all color the message you are trying to convey.
A relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone will make you appear approachable and will encourage others to speak openly with you.
Eye contact is also important; you want to look the person in the eye to demonstrate that you are focused on them and the conversation. (However, be sure not to stare at the person, which can make him or her uncomfortable.)
Clarity and Concision
Good verbal communication means saying just enough—don’t talk too much or too little. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want.
Think about what you want to say before you say it. This will help you to avoid talking excessively or confusing your audience.
It is important to be confident in your interactions with others. Confidence shows your co-workers that you believe in what you’re saying and will follow through.
Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Avoid making statements sound like questions. Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.
Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you are coming from” demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions. Active listening can help you tune in to what your conversational partner is thinking and feeling, which will, in turn, make it easier to display empathy.
Even when you disagree with an employer, co-worker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view.
A good communicator should enter into any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across.
By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.
Being able to give and receive feedback appropriately is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors should continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls, or weekly status updates.
Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” or “thanks for taking care of that” to an employee can greatly increase motivation.
Similarly, you should be able to accept and even encourage feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.