5 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills

5 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills

If you want to succeed in the workplace, you need to have excellent communication. And even if you pride yourself in your communication skills, there's always room for improvement. Follow these five tips and learn how you can improve your communication skills in a way that gives you new opportunities in the workplace.

Don't Make False Promises

One of the pillars of good communication is honesty. After all, making false promises isn't communication - it's lying, and it sets you up for failure. You should only agree to take on a project or meet a deadline if you can actually do so. Being a "yes man" will only get you so far. It's better to be honest than to be a people pleaser.

To sum it up, actions say more than your words. Rather than say, "I'll finish it by Friday," do your best to finish it by Friday. If you actually meet your goal, you will impress your manager. But, if it takes you until Monday to finish, you haven't let anyone down. When you're honest, you build up credibility and enhance your reputation.

It can be difficult to adjust your attitude. If you're used to saying yes to everything, you probably can't just flick a switch and start saying no. You need to make a conscious effort to consider your abilities and limitations. Before you agree to something, pause and think it over.

Don't Wait for a Crisis to Communicate

Your employer understands that life happens. Even though you may have had every intention to meet a deadline, a complication could hold you up. If you wait until the last minute to communicate the issue with your boss, you can let them down.

It's best if you communicate your trouble before it's too close to your deadline. As soon as you suspect trouble, speak to your manager. Explain the situation and make it clear that you'll try to meet the deadline, but that it may not be possible. If they're a good employer, they'll understand and may even offer to help you meet the deadline.

There's another issue with waiting until a crisis to communicate. When you're stressed and worried, you're more likely to handle the situation poorly. You might not be as clear as you should be, or you might say something you regret. Whenever possible, address the issue early on when you're calm.

Share News with Your Coworkers

People often focus on communicating with their employer but ignore their coworkers. It's just as important to communicate with your coworkers as it is to speak with your manager or supervisor. When you open the lines of communication, you come across as informed and collaborative. Your manager is more likely to regard you as a valuable team member.

So, what should you share with your coworkers? If you listen to a relevant podcast or come across an informative news article, share it with your coworkers. You can also discuss challenges and solutions to those challenges. Even though you might not know how to overcome an obstacle, your coworker might have valuable advice. Speak up at team meetings and be vocal at social outings.

Businesses are much more successful when their employees communicate well. Therefore, your employer is bound to notice and appreciate your team-oriented approach. There are countless ways in which your communication can help you.

Streamline Communications

When it comes to communication, you don't want to overdo it. If you send your manager five emails a day, you may come across as a nuisance. Try to streamline your communications by taking notes throughout the week. Unless a topic is urgent, save your questions for one email or conversation.

Before you send an email or ask a question, consider the priority level of the topic. Is it something you should address now, or can it wait a day or two? After you assess the priority, decide when to approach the topic. By the time you talk to your manager, you might have four or five issues to discuss. Doing so saves their time and makes you seem more like a diligent employee than an annoyance.

You should be wary of using this approach for meetings. During a staff meeting, you should focus more on streamlining the meeting than streamlining your questions. Try to bring up matters as your employer addresses them and when the time is right.

Have Open-Ended Questions

If you want to communicate well, you need to ask questions. You also need to ask the right questions. Until you master that art, you should focus on open-ended questions. This means asking who, what, where, why, and how questions.  

Why should you do this? Yes and no questions won't get you very far. You'll get an answer, but you also won't get an explanation or all the information you need to learn and grow. Furthermore, you'll probably have to ask five more questions to get all the details that you need. You can communicate better by making your questions open-ended.

After you ask a question, listen to the answer. Oftentimes, people are so worried about getting to work that they don't even bother to listen to the full answer. If you find it difficult to focus, take the time to write down answers to your questions or stick to written communication when possible.

Make Sure You're Heard

Depending on your personality and your employer, you might feel as if you're never heard. If the problem is your personality, you can take measures to be more outgoing or at least communicate more.

If your manager is the problem, you should consider your options. Would it be appropriate to discuss the poor communication with your manager? In some cases, there's nothing you can do to change the situation. Your best option could be to look for a new position. If you decide to search for a new job, make sure it's with a company that cares about communication and has good management. Otherwise, you'll have the same troubles.

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