Being able to communicate well at work, is often what separates those who perform well from those who excel. Tapping into the expertise of a business coach can enable you to more quickly evolve your existing communication approach into effective communication skills at work!
Why Communication is Key
The way we communicate conveys a wealth of information. Good communication skills can help you develop awareness, improve clarity, and ultimately harness the power of dialogue more effectively. It is most often a two-way street that requiring both listening and talking to accurately relay information. Thus, how you say what you say is part of what’s vital to succeeding within a job.
Executive Coach and Developmental Psychologist, Erma Steyn, points out that “When we change the conversation; we change the story. When we change the story, we take charge of changing the ending or the outcome – and then, the future.”
Types of Communication at Work
There are two primary ways of communicating at work, verbally and written. Being able to do both well will help your efficiency and effectiveness, as well as decrease your frustration and stress levels. You don’t need to master the art of public speaking to speak well. Nor do you need to be a walking dictionary to write a persuasive email. What you need is a basic communication framework to build around.
Using a Basic Communication Framework
A basic communication framework, has key points to build your approach around. They are general ones that you then need to work specifics around. A good communication framework enables conversations to be less complicated and for participants to leave with the same take-away message.
How to Improve Verbal Communication
Situations vary and people differ in how well they understand what they’re hearing. This means that how we say something can be more important than what we’re saying when we need buy-in. Thus, we need to plan when and how we say something, if we want to communicate effectively. Within a business setting, this means having a mixture of one-on-one conversations and group meetings. Therefore, adjusting your technique and approach to a context will be necessary if you want to have successful conversations.
- Start by checking for the most suitable time to talk to them. Then, schedule for that specific time. It also helps to tell them the topic of conversation so that they can prepare anything if necessary.
- Focus on what you want the other person to hear. What do you want their take-away message to be? This means not emphasising a specific point or highlighting that you are right. Doing this is more likely to derail the conversation and make it very long.
- Don’t Generalise or Personalise. For example: When providing negative feedback, be specific about what is wrong. State why something they have done is a problem and the impact it’s causing. Then talk about how to resolve it. Stick to the issue and keep it work focused.
Group and Team Meetings
- Make sure you can see everyone attending a meeting. Within a group setting, it is especially important to listen to what people are not saying. You therefore need to be able to observe their body language and non-verbal reactions.
- People value well run and focused meetings. It conveys to them that their time is valued. As a result, they are more likely to participate in a meaningful way if there’s an agenda which includes time allocations.
- Plan what, and practice, how you want to say something. This way you are focused and to the point when you talk. Less padding and beating around the bush decreases the likelihood of misunderstanding and generates support.
3 Quick Hacks for Better Meetings
- Have an agenda and stick to it. If the conversation starts to expand into other areas, note the issue and bring things back to the point. Do this by adding the issue onto the end of the planned agenda or scheduling a separate time.
- Your Jobs not More Important. You are each there to do a specific job. This means that, while work overlaps, the other person is right to care about their job more than yours.
- Mind Your body language. Be aware of how you sit or stand while you are talking and listening. For example: Turning slightly towards someone relays support, while crossing your arms as they talk relays opposition.
Improving Your Written Communication
Writing takes practice. Understand the basic structure of written communication and life will be a lot easier.
Communication via emails, group forums and hard copy documents needs to:
- Have Purpose: Have a specific purpose behind your email. This way you are not effectively spamming colleagues or answering just for the sake of sending a reply.
- Be Concise: Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. People tend to prioritize reading shorter emails.
- Be Clear: Outline the issue then ask for a specific action point from an individual. Do this in both group and individual emails. This makes your email solution orientated and less likely to create long confusing threads of back-and-forward conversations.
Why Use a Business Coach to Improve Your Communication Skills
A Business Coach can help you succeed quicker in improving your skills than if you try by yourself. This is because they assist you to:
- Remain focused on achieving the specific skill goal.
- Be held accountable, without judgement, for how much actual effort you put into improving a specific skill.
- Devise a strategy to improve your skill that builds on your specific strengths rather than a generic approach.
- Provide Unbiased Feedback on your progress and where you may need to adjust your approach.
- Persevere and stay motivated by encouraging you while you take the time to improve and master a skill.
How to Become a Business Coach
Coaching is an exciting field which is increasingly becoming a go-to resource for many people. Both in their personal and work lives. If becoming a professional coach appeals to you, contact SACAP today and find out more about their full-time and part-time courses.