Communicating well in the workplace can really help you shine. There are three main ways we communicate: verbally, written and…this is one people often forget…non verbally. Making sure you express yourself positively and clearly in all three ways can be a huge asset to your career.
Verbal communication involves anything you say to people, from how you speak to your associates and subordinates to how you present yourself in meetings and speaking opportunities. Using a confident voice, avoiding raising your voice at the end (as if you were asking a question rather than making a statement) can help make you look more assertive and therefore more trustworthy. Taking care to use real “words” rather than slang, and certainly not profanities can also enhance your professional image. And, making sure that your voice is pleasing – not too loud or shrill – ensures that your words are actually being heard.
Written communication takes many forms these days, from the informal email to the formal report. But, take care to realize that even informal emails reflect on you and your professionalism. Make sure that you are spelling things right; that you are editing so that you are succinct and clear; that you are letting people know exactly what action they should take – and when – to make sure that your emails are being properly received. And, of course, remember that you should never put anything in email that you wouldn’t want forwarded to everyone in the company. On that note, when you are sending an email, take care that the proper recipients are included and that you are not inadvertently sending an email string that should not be forwarded. Email gaffes are all too common and can hurt your reputation – or worse! Whether your communication is formal or informal, a good edit and proofreading can make sure that you are putting your best foot forward.
Nonverbal communication can be just as important as the other two. You’ve heard people say, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” Make sure that your nonverbal communication is showing that you are engaged if you are in a meeting. Nod, lean in and show that you are following the conversation and that you are interested. Greet people with a smile and look genuinely interested to see them. Master the art of a firm handshake and use it often. When giving a speech or presentation, learn to make gestures that look natural and put your listeners at ease.
When these three forms of communication are in concert, they can help raise your professional image. You want every interaction that your colleagues and clients have with you – whether it is in person, via an email or on the phone, to underscore your professionalism and attention to detail.
And finally, consider the methods you use to communicate. Does something need to be put in written form to create a “paper trail”? Would it be easier to just pick up the phone rather than initiative a trail of email? Would it be easier to convey your message if you walked down the hall to your colleague’s desk?
Never underestimate the value of communication.
Articles on communication:
- 6 Keys to Clear Writing
- Communicating Clearly: Focusing the Message
- 5 Ways to Improve Office Communication
- 5 Tips for Making Your Point
- Miscommunications: Listen to What You’re Saying
- How Your Speech Habits Can Hold You Back
- The Art of Clear Communication
- Five Ways to Communicate When Expertise Varies
- Managing Effective Communication