Being an effective leader doesn’t start with a new job title or pay raise. Ensuring that you are a good role model and leader to your coworkers starts with mastering your communication skills. No matter what position or role you currently hold, there are always opportunities to work on your ability to connect with others. Effectively communicating with others is the foundation for creating strong working relationships, increasing productivity and potentially setting yourself up to enhance your personal career path. Here are 5 tips to become a more effective communicator:
1. Unite Digital Platforms
In today’s workplace, there are many digital avenues for communication. From email, instant messaging platforms, video chat, and conference lines we are becoming more tech-savvy in our communication methods. While more options typically mean more availability, it can also increase the possibility of your response rate becoming delayed. The more digital platforms you utilize, the more you are expected to monitor and respond to; meaning if you are not routinely checking all platforms you are likely to miss messages. Take preventative measures and unite your channels through a unified communications platform. This allows for all of your notifications to come through one central suite. By doing so, you are providing yourself with the ability to prioritize your most commonly used tools and monitor everything at once in real time.
2. Be Mindful of Your Response Time
Elaborating further on the previous point, an effective communicator is timely. Meaning all questions and concerns are attended to and thoughtfully answered within an appropriate timeline. Punctuality goes a long way in terms of leadership. Being known for your responsiveness can generate a reputation of being a team player that lends your time to everyone regardless of subject matter. Being attentive can help build camaraderie and increase productivity. When your coworkers and employees feel that you have a clear understanding of their work, it will only make them want to work harder.
3. Be Clear and Concise
Take into consideration the channel that you are using to transmit your message; different channels of communication can be used to share different kinds of messages. We have previously shared tips on writing effective leadership emails. However, no matter the message or method of communication, you should always remain clear and concise in your response. To limit miscommunication:
- Use simple words. You don’t want to confuse the recipient by using words they may not understand or can easily misinterpret.
- Be clear. To the same sentiment above, don’t overshare and over complicate. Share the necessary details and omit anything that can distract from the main point of your message.
- Use actionable terms. The recipient should be able to immediately pick out what is being asked of them upon reading your message.
Keep in mind: Shared information can be shorter or longer and more detailed depending on your channel of communication, and the above should always be applied regardless. No matter the amount of information you’re sharing, clear and concise messages are always the goal.
4. Practice Frequent Verbal Communication
While it’s clear that digital communication is seemingly becoming a top source of connecting, you should seek every opportunity to have in-person conversations. There is an added element of understanding what happens when communicating face-to-face. People are able to ask questions as they come up, receive instant clarification, and become better informed. Additionally, verbal communication provides the opportunity to foster deeper connections with team members. When you are able to see how your message is being received, you are able to adjust your presentation if need be. Speak to create camaraderie. Do so by keeping these suggestions in mind:
- Use unifying expressions. Verbal communication using the term “we” in place of “I” or “you” will help unify nearly every message you relay. Even if you are providing constructive criticism, inclusive terms will decrease the likelihood of you coming off as dominating or overpowering and transform the message into one of teamwork.
- Use verbal communication for all messages. Don’t use verbal communication to only share one type of message. If you do, you will perpetuate that a face-to-face conversation is either good or bad and leave no room for in-between. Get in the habit of delivering as many verbal messages as possible so that you develop a level of comfort with those you’re communicating with.
5. Be Aware of Nonverbal Communication Cues
Those sharing information are often analyzing the recipient’s nonverbal cues to further gauge how a message is being understood. The same analysis occurs on the receiving end. Those transmitting messages are often being observed and having their nonverbals critiqued. How you present information should always be top of mind. Here are some nonverbal cues to keep in mind in the workplace:
- Make eye contact. Keeping eye contact with those that you are speaking to is a great way to show that you’re giving your full attention. However, you want to keep the conversation comfortable so be sure not to confuse eye contact with staring. You’re welcome to break the glance, but be sure your attention doesn’t wander to something else entirely.
- Alter your posture and tone of voice. Think about the scenario that you are in and adjust your presentation to match. Serious conversations should be met with a strong tone and upright posture, while more casual meetings should be accompanied by a more relaxed demeanor.
- Be attentive to clothing choices. How you present yourself even has to do with your outfit choices. Choose to dress yourself to match the environment you’re in while maintaining a level of professionalism. This will show your attention to detail and perhaps inspire others to follow suit.
Are you someone who prides themselves on their communication skills? While some have a natural ability to connect with others, there are always ways to be a more effective communicator. These tips serve as a great thought starter on simple ways to help self improvement today!