How to Be an Effective Communicator in the Workplace

 

If you’re fresh out of college and worried about starting a new career, you’re not alone. People may think effective communication in the workplace is inherently easy, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not. In any job it is essential to show effective communication skills when interviewing, communicating with your boss, and communicating with other co-workers.

 

Interviews- Show the Skills to Get Hired      

The study “Personnel interviewers’ perceptions of the importance and adequacy of applicants’ communication skills” (Peterson, 1997) shares the importance of demonstrating good communication skills when interviewing for a job. For this study, a questionnaire was sent to 500 personal interviewers that asked if oral communication significantly effects hiring decisions, if higher level positions require more communication skills, if job applicants currently displayed adequate communication skills, and if increased communication skills are needed for jobs in the 21st century. The results were that 90% of the interviewers indicated that communication skills are essential for success.

This makes it clear that during the hiring process good communication skills is something that all companies look for. It’s not all about who has the better degree or who went to the better school. It’s about who can talk themselves into the job. In sum, verbal and nonverbal communication skills have a major effect on hiring decisions. It also has a tremendous effect on the level of effectiveness of communication in the workplace.

Tips on how to show your skills in interviews:

-be personable

– showcase your experience

– be relatable

 

Communication with Bosses

It is extremely important to know how to communicate with your boss, since they make most of the hiring/firing or promotional decisions. Getting to know your boss, the manner in which they talk, as well as the things that “make them tick” will help you navigate conversations and how to talk to them.

Some companies spend a lot of time and money in order to train their employees to communicate effectively. No matter what company you are working for communication is likely a very valuable skill for the company, especially if you are working a corporate job. Communication skills don’t just include verbal communication but being able to craft emails and written reports as well as navigating tricky communicative situations such as dealing with a disagreement with a fellow employee, delegating work, or firing someone.

Tips on communicating with the boss:

-learn their style of speech/talk

-start with a level of respect before warming up to a more casual friendship

-show your worth to the company/knowledge

 

Communication with fellow co-workers

Verbal communication within a company or organization is highly important, especially between co-workers. With the speed of technology today, it is important for people to communicate with ease and complete tasks and projects on time. Verbal communication in the workplace has suffered due to the increased use of technology to communicate with one another. Good communication in the workplace increases worker productivity. Studies have shown that good lateral and group communication leads to an improvement in company performance and group dynamic.

Team building is another benefit of effective communication. It helps the company a great deal if its employees are working like a well oiled machine and the best way to do that is through effective and meaningful communication. Modern workplaces have a good amount of diversity in the workplace, therefore communicating with people of different backgrounds and personalities will be an essential part of being a successful employee at a company. Understanding your co-workers and becoming aware of the way they communicate with others will allow you to predict their communicative behaviors and thus help the overall team dynamic.

 

Informal Workplace Communication & Public Speaking

Whittaker, in the article “Informal workplace communication”, discusses findings on the nature of informal communication in the workplace (1994). In the study they tracked and recorded office workers during their day-to-day activities. Their findings were that informal communication, or non-work related conversations take up approximately 31% of work time. More traditional workplaces discourage these personal interaction because of the belief that they decrease productivity.  Modern times call for a more collaborate and group oriented idea sharing within companies. Getting to know your boss and coworkers can aid you in the long run to navigate conversations and tough situations.

Another important communication skill that is helpful in any future job is the ever dreaded public speaking. Whether you are speaking in front of an audience of five people, fifty people, or five hundred people, being able to communicate ideas to a corporate meeting, conference, or key note address is an essential skill to have. According to the article “The importance of communication and public-speaking skills”, (Parvis, 2001), almost every profession has some form of public-speaking. The article goes on to talk about communication as the most essential human skill that you will need throughout life.

 

Top 6 tips when communicating in the workplace:

  1. Listen carefully to what others say

At work it may seem like people are listening, but they are really just thinking about what they want to say next. This may make it more difficult to find a solution to the current problem on hand.

 

2. Communicate with all of your co-workers.

Don’t leave anyone out of the loop. Make sure everyone is on the same page, otherwise     conflicts may occur that result in further problems instead of problems being solved.

 

3. Try to see things from other people’s points of view.

Sometimes it’s hard to see things from another person’s point of view, especially when we’re dead-set on our own point of view. We’re sometimes so convinced that we are right that we don’t even want to hear any contradictory information. It’s important      however to try to consider other people’s ideas and come up with the best solution or idea.

 

4. Don’t take criticism personally.

Its not personal, it is strictly business. It can be very easy to take criticism personally, but in a business environment, criticism should be a way for you to learn and progress. It is important to take in the criticism so that you can develop or improve the original idea.

 

5. Take ownership for your actions.

Taking responsibility for your actions is the right thing to do and taking personal    responsibility would make you look good to your managers and fellow co-workers even when it could get you into trouble.

 

6. Look for compromise instead of trying to win the argument.

You’re not on the debate team when you’re in a workplace setting. It is not about winning the argument but rather looking for solutions that meet everybody’s needs. Healthy communication involves compromising and finding a resolution that all parties can be happy with.