Leadership and Productivity

Can you hear me now? Effective Communication AT the workplace

by Azhad Aliwafa

Communicating effectively seems like it should be natural.

Yet, often the lines of communication fail and something is misheard or misunderstood. This leads to frustration and to conflict which can cause further problems and make it much more difficult to be understood. So the question is how to be successful in understanding each other.

When we improve our skill at communicating with others, whether it is your spouse, boss, co-workers or friends, learning how to understand and be understood leads to many benefits.

Learning to communicate effectively leads to greater connections with others, build trust and respect, improves teamwork, problem solving, your social and emotional health and aides in work life balance.

But the question is, what is effective communication?

Effective Communication as a diagram(Communication)

Effective communication is more than just the simple exchange of information - it is about understanding the intention and emotions behind the information.

Communication can be explained as a sender placing a message in a medium for a receiver. Because the communications medium can take the form of written, verbal, non-verbal and even as emoji, it can be complicated to understand.

However, with some time to understand the intention and emotion, you will be able to clearly receive the message. Because humans have up-to 93% non-verbal cues (body language 55% and intonation/musical voice 38%) when communicating, it is easier sometimes to simply pass a message on in person. But you must remember, that when receiving a message it is easy to hear it, harder to actively listen.

Active listening is different to simply hearing what is being said. Active listening is where you engage your brain and pay attention to the sender and their message, including non-verbal cues, to understand the message in its entirety.

It is listening to not only the words said, but how the words are said - and the intention behind the message.

When you engage your listening skills, you’ll help the speaker feel understood and heard and you will better understand the feeling and emotions they are trying to communicate - building a stronger connection between you.

Avoid doing the following and you will communicate well:

  • Interrupting others - not only is it rude but you also can’t understand someone if they don’t finish their thought
  • Looking at your phone while others are speaking - if you aren’t paying attention, you can’t understand what is being said
  • Rambling without a clear point - be clear, concise and get to the point, no matter what medium you use.
  • Avoiding eye contact - Eye contact is important as the eyes send non-verbal cues to the listener and speaker
  • Closed body language - this is standing with your arms crossed and generally signals displeasure with what is being said

Research shows that when in groups of three or more it is imperative that communication is effective to maintain efficiency of the project.

If communication is poor, team members in the group will wind up not understanding what makes themselves more efficient, waste time and energy on busy work and other work not required and can lead to conflict and a lack of trust - which is bad for the project and the team.


Tips for communicating with your superiors, colleagues, and subordinates

 Make sure you know the best communication medium for the person you are intending to give a message to (do they prefer email or a phone call?) Understanding that in today's connected world there are multiple ways of receiving a message, be respectful of that preferred medium.

  • There are just not enough hours in the day to listen to and read everything that you send your colleagues, avoid complex explanations and recommendations. Keep your communications short, simple and direct. Understanding how busy the person is, especially if it is your superior be respectful of the time needed to comprehend your message.
  • Give the reason for why you are telling them this information. Is it so they can act on it? For informative purposes only? If it is something that needs to be tracked, it is better written down.
  • When sending emails, keep them short with only 1-2 paragraphs and use dot points and subheadings to summarize.

(For more tips on communication between colleagues check out this article)

So remember that when we effectively communicate with those we work and live with, whether they are our superiors, co-workers, spouse or children, our life is smoother as problems are solved before they become problems. 

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Written by Azhad Aliwafa

Google Adwords Pro and Hubspot Inbound certified digital marketing wunderkind. Digital Marketing Manager @ Ubrik Media.

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