“Communication is the key to your personal and professional success” This has been an age-old mantra. Simply speaking, effective Communication is to minimize the gap between what you intend to convey and what is being understood.
It sounds simple but is it easy?
Think about the umpteen number of conflicts that people face with a team member, reporting manager, a customer or even in personal relationships. The price that one has to pay due to poor Communication could be huge. Some end up losing customers and some lose their jobs. The impact of this on overall productivity is unimaginable.
In this article, we share with you some of the important and foundational aspects of being a masterful communicator at workplace. Adapting a continuous improvement plan in these areas can improve your overall communication significantly.
- Master internal communication: Mastering communication with the outside world begins with mastering internal communication. What is the quality of your internal communication? What do you tell yourself consistently? Are you empowering yourself with positive words or the negative spiral is making you feel dis-empowered? Monitoring your internal communication and being aware of everything that you tell yourself is the first and most important step. The clearer we are internally about what we think and intend to do, the clearer will be our communication. Remember, clarity is Super Power.
Tip to master internal communication: One of the ways that great leaders master internal communication is through journaling their thoughts, ideas etc. You can do this too.
- Being a Great Listener – Be a Great listener to achieve great success in life. Listening is an art where you completely involve yourself in listening to what is being said by the speaker. If you notice carefully, there are 2 steps involved in it – First is listening without any pre-conception, ideas or prejudice with clear or quiet mind. The second is to have a laser-sharp focus on what is being spoken by the other person. These steps enable us to not just hear but clearly understand what is being communicated. This enables you to build a response that is more meaningful and productive.
Tip to be a great listener: Learn to minimize your prejudice and listen with a quiet mind. This will help you minimize conflict and misunderstandings.
- Customize Communication as per the audience – Another important aspect of Communication is keeping the audience/listener motivated enough to listen to you. This implies being aware of the different mindsets, cultural background, professions etc. For example, some people prefer crisp points while some prefer details on matters being discussed. One needs to be sensitive to the varying needs of the audience and plan their communication accordingly.
Tip to Customize Communication: Invest time in knowing your audience. A little time spent on knowing the mindset, culture, preferences, etc can help you customize your conversation and achieve the desired results.
- Medium of communication– The modern world is relying more on online tools as a medium of communication. Email, telephone, video conferences, etc are the major mediums in the online world. Communicating using virtual media is a bigger challenge. These media limit the speaker and listener which can lead to misunderstandings. In an offline medium, communication challenges can be minimized but cannot be fully avoided. When using emails as a medium, the human touch is totally at stake. Hence depending on the medium of communication one needs to be flexible in their expression, style and language too. Also, knowing which medium to use when is the key.
Tip to using the right medium of communication: knowing which medium to use is the key to being a masterful communicator. Learn to be flexible and do not rely on only mode.
- Handling Difficult conversations – This seems to be one of the most anxious aspects of communication and many don’t really do well when it comes to handling difficult conversations. We fear misinterpretation by the listener and avoid such conversations. This could be while giving feedback, performance review, or talking to a tough customer.
While handling difficult conversations, two skills play a crucial role. One is establishing trust and the second one is regulating emotions. While in a difficult conversation, work on establishing trust first. Then work on regulating your emotions and understand the emotions of the listener. Silent/ Violent responses must be avoided. Choice of words, tonality, and remaining objective are few other aspects that one must focus on.
Tip to handle difficult conversation: Building trust is a long-term process. Take every possible action to build trust around you. This creates safety for the listener and helps in making difficult conversations easy.
These 5 fundamentals are the foundation of being a good communicator at the workplace. What are some of the challenges that you face while communicating at the workplace? Do let us know in the comments below.