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"Businesses that communicate effectively are 50% more likely to have low employee turnover."
Listen More and Talk Less to Improve Your Communication Skills
When it comes to being happy and successful in your relationships and your career, effective communication is key.
Whether you’re giving instructions to a direct report, sharing an update with a supervisor, or telling your partner how you feel, strong communication skills are important. They can help you to get your message across, obviously, but can also help you to acquire what you need and want out of life with less stress and anxiety along the way.
1) Listen more, talk less. The first rule of effective communication is listening. We can get so caught up thinking about what we’re going to say next that we forget to listen to (or read) what the other person is saying. How can we respond effectively when we haven’t actually heard what was said? Think about it: How many times have you received a peculiar response to a question only to wonder if you were even heard at all?
The next time you’re having a conversation with someone, make a point to actively listen to them—repeating things back for clarification—and give yourself a chance to form a response before you open your mouth. It’s OK if there’s a pause or a silent moment! The most effective communicators pause before responding: That’s because they’re using the information that they just heard to form their thoughts and their words.
2) Limit distractions. Especially now that so many folks are working from home, interruptions can be common. From glancing down to see what prompted the ding on your phone to an innocent checking of an email during a conference call, it’s easy to try to multitask when you’re supposed to be listening. But when you allow distractions to creep in, you’re actually hurting your ability to respond in a clear, effective way. What if you missed a pivotal piece of information? Or worse, what if you ask a question that someone has already asked? By limiting distractions, you’re giving yourself the best chance at effectively communicating.
3) Know your audience. Whether you’re getting ready for a conference call or drafting an external email, you first need to consider who you’ll be communicating with. What will the individual or group want to know, and how will they want the information presented? Your choice of words and the methods by which you communicate should always be geared toward your audience—and this goes for both personal and professional communications.
4) Be transparent. Friends, colleagues and clients all appreciate transparency, even if it’s in the form of telling them you don’t have all of the answers or that there are things you simply cannot share at this time. Saying I don’t know, but I’ll get an answer and get back to you isn’t a sign of weakness or ineptitude. It’s a chance to actively engage with your community.
5) Encourage feedback. Organizations where staff can routinely provide feedback and ask questions often have cultures with less defensive, more collaborative employees. Staff should be encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions in a way that allows them to feel comfortable. And the organization should be transparent about how it responds to that feedback. In order to do good work, employees need to know their ideas are valued, and encouraging and acting on feedback is one of the clearest ways to communicate that.
"93% of communication is nonverbal."
6) Write clear, effective emails. Especially now, emails are a huge part of our communication toolkit. As much as we may want to power through our inbox and sling out responses or new messages as fast as possible, sometimes it takes a little planning and revising to get our point across clearly. In addition to using the tips outlined here, make sure the purpose of your email is clear, limit yourself to one topic and keep it brief. Bullet points can be very helpful in emails. If you need practice in the art of brevity, draft an email that you’ve been meaning to write; then, without losing any of the substance, cut the word count in half. Take note of which words or phrases you cut and which were necessary to maintain the intent of what you wrote.
7) Focus on consistency. Communication that is delivered in a consistent way makes us feel safe, and it lets us know, to some extent, what to expect. Consistency builds trust. Work on being consistent with tone, timing and frequency and, if any changes are expected, be sure to let your audience know. Communicate those changes several times again before they’re implemented.
Communication development takes time and hard work, and Ulliance can help. Ulliance provides Training & Organizational and Leadership Development services designed with the sole purpose of making sure your employees and their skills are aligned with the goals of your organization. How can we help you? Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866.648.8326.
Now more than ever, your employees need emotional support and resources to boost their morale. The global quarantine has created a whole new set of physical, financial and emotional stressors that have woven their way into the home and workplace.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Combining years of clinical experience and the formation of a meaningful partnership with an organization’s human resources department, Ulliance is among the best EAP providers, and our experts can tailor recommendations for a variety of work\life circumstances.
To learn how we can help, give call us at 866.648.8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!