What is the most important skill you can have to get ahead at work? Hands down it’s your communication skills. Your communication skills impact every thing you do at work. You need to get people to listen to you and do what you say. This is how you network & get raises & promotions. Here I’m going to teach you how to improve your communication skills at work.
How to Improve Your Communication Skills at Work
Note: No one was born with amazing communication skills. If you know someone with a great ability to communicate he/she worked on it. So should you if you want to get ahead. I’m still working on mine!
There is not a skill in the world that our society assumes we should be born doing perfectly well without any instruction-except for communication skills! We study academia for 16 years at a minimum, but take swimming lessons, music lessons, sports, you name it! But for some reason our society feels that we should be perfect communicators during small talk, introductions, giving presentations, communicating bad news, etc.Listen without thinking about what you're going to say next. #Communicate #Leadership Click To Tweet
So don’t blame yourself for not being the perfect communicator at work. Just think of it like practicing your golf swing. Work on it! Communication can be improved.
I know, I started with a boring one. Who wants to listen when they can talk instead? Fight the urge to talk and really listen to people at work. You can go so far as to ask clarifying questions. Making other people feel like they’re being heard is a great way to ingratiate yourself to others.
Also, the less you speak the smarter you seem. It’s science.If you want to be a leader authority & warmth need to emanate from you. That means absolutely no whiny voices. No upspeak & no glottal fry. Click To Tweet
Listening is crucial to improving your communication with colleagues.
Back in the Flintstone days, people were afraid of getting hit with rocks & sticks. It was a thing. We evolved to be physically defensive so we close our bodies by crossing our arms & legs. But the best thing you can do (to have amazing communication skills) is keep your body open. Open your arms & make sure your legs aren’t crossed. This makes the others in the workplace feel open & warm towards you. And you want that.
Another thing that’s evolved from our days living in caves is that we want to see peoples’ hands. Leave your hands open & visible. Especially when you’re meeting colleagues & clients for the first time. That’ll make your coworkers much more comfortable with you.
Many people use too many words to get their message across. You're doing yourself a great disservice if you don't work on being concise. Click To Tweet
You may have to work on making an open body posture comfortable & natural for you. If you’re feeling a little defensive in meetings it’s going to be hard to open your arms & keep your legs uncrossed but it’ll make all the difference.
Do you know bitchy resting face? Our faces have muscles on them and they get tight just like the other muscles in your body. That causes lines in the face. (You’ll see them in the brow and from the nose to the lips.) These are very unhelpful when you’re trying to have great communication skills at the office and elsewhere.
Are you the limp/dead fish handshaker or the power grip? Neither is good. You want a firm, warm handshake. Click To Tweet
What you want to do is relax the muscles of your face and allow your face to take on natural expressions. Smile when you are greeting people. Allow your face to react with emotion when you’re listening to people. This helps with developing & strengthening your relationships.
Repeat & Rephrase
It’s always a good idea to confirm the messages of your clients & coworkers. If your client has just conveyed to you what he wants or your boss just gave you some direction, rephrase it to make sure you are crystal clear about what they mean. Nearly every time it’ll help the speaker to clarify with a bit more precision.
Leadership Communication Skills
I talk a lot about this with my manager and C-level clients. You need to have leadership communication skills to effectively manage your team at work. Authority & warmth need to emanate from you. That means absolutely no whiny voices. Record yourself to hear what you sound like and then fix it. That also means absolutely no upspeak or glottal fry.
You know what upspeak is, right? It’s when you use yes/no question intonation at the end of your declarative sentences. What does that do to your listener? It makes their brain decide if what you’ve just said is true or not. If you pepper your speech with it nobody will take you seriously at all.Your eyes should convey warmth, excitement, happiness & caring whenever possible. Click To Tweet
Your leader voice needs to be direct, authoritative & warm. Your body language needs to be warm & open. Also, no over-reacting or getting upset. Always be relaxed & calm.
Many people use too many words to get their message across. You are doing yourself a great disservice if you do not work on being concise every time you speak at work. Being concise is a big part of how communication can be improved.
Here’s how. Open the recording app on your phone:
- Record yourself saying something you need to say at your next meeting.
- Then listen to it and revise it.
- Take out passive language & redundancies.
- Finally practice your edited version and then apply it at your next meeting.
You’ll be so surprised at how your colleagues will really listen to you.
That’s what it’s all about, right?You need to get people to listen to you & do what you say. This is how you network & get raises & promotions. Click To Tweet
Eye contact is so important if you want to learn how to improve your communication skills at work. Make a point of looking directly into people’s eyes for at least 80% of your conversation with them. Your eyes should convey warmth, excitement, happiness & caring whenever possible. This is all part of learning how to improve your communication skills at work.
Are you the limp/dead fish handshaker or the power grip? Neither is good. You want a firm, warm handshake. You can even touch the back of the person’s hand with your other hand. Or touch their shoulder. Touching is great for strong relationships provided it doesn’t fall into creepy, predatory status.
Develop fun handshakes with your colleagues & clients, anyone at your peer level or below. It makes your greetings more interesting & enjoyable. Thereby improving your relationships. 🙂
Yes, Do Improve Your Communication Skills at Work
Improving your communication skills at work is of the utmost importance. We should always be working to foster better communication skills & finding ways to add kindness warmth & authority to our communication style.
Remember, we only need authority when in your wheelhouse. Let go of a need for strength when others are speaking about topics in their area of expertise.
I’d Love to Hear From You
Tell me about how you improve your communication skills at work. Do you shy away from making eye contact & shaking hands? Do you have fun anecdotes to share at work parties or are you a wallflower? What tricks do you have for improving your communication skills. Anything I should add?