By Arjun Kulkarni
It is well-known that before you come to work, you have to leave your informal self back home. In the office, you’re an employee, someone who’s supposed to go about his work in the most professional manner. There is a way to talk to your superiors, to your peers and your subordinates. This mode of communication is known as workplace communication and is typically formal and to the point. So how does one get the required workplace communication skills and what is the importance of communication skills in the workplace?
Communication Skills in the Workplace
What are the good workplace communications skills?
Courteousness: A person should always be courteous while speaking to anyone in the workplace, whether senior or junior. One should not speak disparagingly with juniors, while speaking in a laudatory way with seniors. Courteousness should be maintained in the workplace irrespective of rank.
Precision: You’re not supposed to sit and chat in the workplace. Workplace communication facilitates necessity and should be completed as quickly as possible. Workplace communication mostly consists of delegating tasks and reporting results. So keep it short.
Language: One should never use any slang terms while at work. Business communication should be crisp and clear so that everyone understands what you’re saying. Slang terms bring in the eventuality of misunderstanding and also look unprofessional. So one should avoid using slang in office.
Low Speaking Volume: One comes across so many loud-talkers. Perhaps they are naturally so or do so deliberately to drive some point across. But speaking loudly is disturbing to other people around you hence, a low speaking volume should be maintained.
Clarity: It is also essential to ensure that the person you are speaking with has completely understood what you have to say. Hence, one should speak very slowly and clearly. If you have a strong ethnic accent, you should make sure that you talk slowly so that the other person gets what you have to say. It is always good to ask, “have you understood?” just in case someone doesn’t get what you have to say.
Listen to Others: Most people think of effective communication as a one-way thing. But it is very important to also be a good listener and not just a good talker. Others too often have something to say or to contribute to a discussion hence, listening too, is one of the effective communication skills at work.
Posture and Body Language: They say actions speak louder than words and the same can be considered to be true at the workplace. The body has a language of its own too, and at the workplace, the body ought to be courteous. There are simple things to keep in mind, whether it is wishing everyone ‘good morning’ at work, or having a courteous smile on your face, being well-dressed in office or sitting erect when someone is talking to you. All these things too are included in the superset of workplace communication skills.
Modern methods allow the least use of the written mode of communication (less than before). Today, we use emails, service forms, report sheets and the occasional sticky note. Your skills should extend to this area as well. Do not drone on about things in your emails. In fact, an email is the perfect excuse to make it short, simple, quick and effective. While filling reports on any projects or for employee appraisals, keep the language clean and simple. It reflects on as you as someone who is hard working and prompt.
Importance of Communication Skills in the Workplace
If one understands the significance or importance of something, then I feel that they do that thing better. So instead of just dishing out all the important workplace communication skills, I feel it is equally important for people to understand, what is the big deal about it! It is important to be formal and cordial in the workplace for several reasons. Firstly, you are viewed by everyone in the office as someone who has a positive influence in the workplace. Such people are always desired by companies. Secondly, you learn to get your point across effectively and ensure that the work is done the way it should be. And thirdly, (I’m being a bit informal here) it makes you look like a team player and makes you more loved by the company overall!
So this was all about the workplace communication skills and their importance. Now you know how to communicate effectively in the workplace and why. So get on with the job!