Six Steps Towards Effective Communication at Work

In any line of business, effective communication is essential. In a single day, an employee may have to communicate with half a dozen different people, including clients, co-workers, employers, and suppliers. It is worthwhile, therefore, to take some time to consider the importance of effective communication and the ways to achieve it. Here are six tips for successful communication in the business world.

1. Be clear.

In the modern world, language is often veiled in false complexities, double-speak, and vagaries-all to protect the speaker form having to defend his or her own words. But this kind of communication is no communication at all. Unless we are direct, neither our clients nor our coworkers will be able to understand us, and it will be difficult for them to accomplish any of our expectations. So when speaking with a client or fellow employee, be as clear as possible. As the poet William Butler Yeats once said, “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”

2. Get to the point.

“Many attempts to communicate,” wrote Robert Greenleaf, “are nullified by saying too much.” You value your time; it is only right that you should take pains to value the time of others. Clients and fellow workers will be more responsive if you are direct and concise. They will be more likely to focus on your words if they know you are not inclined to wander off onto unhelpful tangents. If you say too much, your listeners may tune out, and as their minds wander, they could miss your most crucial points.

3. Be personal

Getting to the point, however, does not mean you should communicate in a cold, cursory manner. Let your audience know you care about them as individuals as well. Let your communication take their concerns into account. They will know, then, that their input is important to you.

4. Listen

Communication is not a one way street. You have to be willing to listen as well as to speak. As James the apostle once said, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.”

5. Think Before You Speak

James’s quote has another important implication. It reminds us not to rush into words, but to think about what we say before we say it. If we do this, we can avoid misunderstandings, and, in moments of annoyance, we can avoid saying something we might later regret. For, in addition to being swift to hear and slow to speak, we should, advises James, “be slow to wrath.”

6. Don’t Be Overly Negative

It is necessary to expose and tackle problem situations in order to solve them, but we must also take time to accentuate the positive. By being overly negative, you can destroy a person’s desire to achieve or assist. But by pointing out one or two positives to balance every negative, you can encourage others to achieve their full potentials.

Communication isn’t always easy, but effective communication makes your everyday life easier. So be clear, get to the point, be personal, listen, think before you speak, and avoid extreme negativity.

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