Effective Communication at Work

In this article you will be able to identify the characteristics of effective communication at work and in the personal sphere. You will have the opportunity to understand the impact and scope of what you say on others, as well as incorporate a set of good practices into your communication style to ensure that your message reaches your interlocutors clearly.  

What is effective communication?

After thinking about it a lot, Arturo had decided to accept a new job offer. It was exactly 1 year since his current boss promised him a raise that never came. Arturo had managed to increase the team’s sales by more than 40% with his innovative ideas. Clients were delighted with his management and his co-workers recognized him as an undisputed leader. With two years in the company, he had become indispensable. He knew he deserved the raise and when he didn’t get it he decided to put on his LinkedIn profile “open for new jobs”.

The offers were not long in coming. He turned down several of them hoping for the promised raise. He wanted to stay, he loved the work team, the products, the clients. Finally she made up her mind. He accepted a proposal that exceeded his salary package by 30%. The only thing missing was to talk to his boss to tell her about his decision.

  • Hello Arturo, how can I help you?
  • Well, nothing, Mr. Benítez, I have come to give you my letter of resignation.
  • Resignation? How? Why? What happened?
  • It’s that I have a job offer with a bigger package and since the raise we talked about a year ago never happened, I had to start listening to offers.
  • But Arturo, you are in the company’s high-potential talent plan. In a few months we were going to promote you with a better package. You even have a training in Switzerland in the middle of the year to polish your profile. How are you going to do this to us?
  • I’m sorry, but I didn’t know anything about this and I already got engaged to the other company.

Effective communication at work goes beyond a simple exchange of information. It is about understanding the other, their intention, their emotions and everything that is behind what their words or gestures say . In addition to being able to clearly convey a message, we also need to listen to ensure that the other feels part of the conversation. 

Communication is the responsibility of two . In our previous example we can see how a company loses an excellent employee for not making his career plan clear and, on the other hand, we can also say that Arturo loses a place where he felt comfortable, for not being more assertive and show your discomfort to try to find a solution. 

Effective Communication at Work

What is the importance of being a good communicator?

Having effective communication helps in all aspects of life, from your professional performance to your most personal sphere. From a business point of view, all transactions are the result of communication . Let us think, for example, what would a company’s clients be without salespeople who express themselves clearly; Or we can even think how far a work team could go if its members maintain unhealthy or destructive communication. Good communication skills are essential to enable others, and even yourself, to understand information more accurately and quickly.

In a survey conducted by LinkedIn, communication topped the list of the most sought-after soft skills among employers, and it is probably the most important asset a company can have: a culture that promotes healthy and effective communication.

Impact of poor communication at work.

Bad communication affects companies , more than we think. At least we can identify five major areas that are altered by the effects of poor communication:

Productivity: When employees don’t feel heard or feel like they can’t express their ideas freely, they tend to be less productive.

Organizational Climate: poor communication between co-workers translates into a heavy environment, full of mistrust and confusion.

Leadership: How can we follow a leader who does not know how to communicate? The development of effective communication is an inescapable responsibility of the leaders of a company, it is a requirement that is attached to the role.

Costs: Without a doubt, inefficient communication translates into rework, dissatisfied customers, errors and, therefore, unnecessary expenses.

Most valued communication skills at work.

Listen: To become a good communicator it is necessary to know how to listen . Listening is nothing more than the recognition of the other, it is an act where we momentarily shed our ego to think that the person speaking to us is saying something important to which we should pay attention.

Accuracy: the organizational world is saturated with information channels that tend to constantly distract our attention. A differentiating ability in these times is to transmit messages that are as specific as possible, that get straight to the point.

Gestures: When we talk about face-to-face communication, it is important that our speech is accompanied by eye contact with our interlocutor, as well as gestures and a posture that reinforce the message we want to convey.

Opening: Starting a conversation thinking that you are right and that the other is wrong is a mistake. It predisposes us and makes us close possible meeting points. The openness implies trying to put my ideas aside, to try to understand the ideas of the other without major prejudices.

Respect: Being respectful is as simple as paying attention to what another has to say, calling the person by name, not being distracted by looking at the mobile, for example, or looking for a space without interruptions to talk. This generates a sense of well-being in the interlocutor that makes him feel appreciated and that allows a more honest and productive conversation.

Stop unfounded information: Rumors do a lot of damage to companies, they distract people from their work and make them focus on information that is not necessarily true. Not echoing these rumours, is an invaluable contribution to work teams.

Keys for your online communication to be effective.

Elements of effective communication:

  • Read more, write less : In conflict situations, take some time to write the appropriate response. It is not a contest to see who writes the fastest. Think before you write. Ask questions that allow you to understand the problem in all its dimensions.
  • DON’T YELL!: Avoid using capital letters, because they make your interlocutor negatively biased.
  • Avoid sarcasm: The affective tone of written communication is decided by who reads the message, not who writes it. This means that sarcasm is not understood and your words are taken seriously.
  • Proportional responses: Try to match responses in length and tone. If they write you a message with a 20-line explanation on WhatsApp, you can’t reply with just a thumbs up emoticon. You should add some substance to your answer such as: “Thank you for the detailed explanation, you cleared all my doubts” .
  • Control the ellipses: Ellipses leave the feeling of something unfinished and can come across as condescending or sarcastic.
  • Do not abuse emoticons, images or animated gifs: these resources are very useful to express moods and make it clear to the person how you feel, but they cannot be your only means of expression, especially if your interlocutor prefers to express himself by text.
  • Do not discuss in public: If you have something to discuss with a person, do it in a private chat. It is not necessary for an entire team to know about your discrepancies. When you are kind and take care of the other person, you also take care of yourself.

Feedback as a tool for improvement.

The best way to improve our communication is by becoming aware of the impact of our words on others. Feedback at work is the perfect way to achieve this goal. To receive feedback you must:

  • Validate the person who will give you the feedback. Find someone objective who knows you, but is able to tell you what they think honestly.
  • Listen openly to what the other person tells you.
  • Ask questions to clarify points you don’t understand.
  • Ask for specific details and, if possible, concrete examples.
  • Ask what you can do differently on a future occasion.

Assertive communication model.

Assertiveness is the direct and honest expression of what we think and feel, without hurting the other and without feeling guilty for not expressing our position. It is an excellent technique when it comes to handling difficult conversations , without becoming aggressive or submissive.

The steps of assertive communication are:

  1. Describe, do not judge: judgments are labels that are difficult to manage in terms of communication. Once someone tags us, we are closing the door to dialogue and find a solution to the problem. Describing implies referring exclusively to the problem behavior, without cataloging it.  

“Arturo, I would like us to discuss your punctuality because you have been more than half an hour late all week”

  1. Express feelings: it is important that the other person knows how you felt when they did this or that thing. This phase makes the other understand the impact of her actions.

“I’m going to be honest with you, when I started the meeting on Friday and saw that you weren’t there, I got upset because I don’t want the team to think that I have preferences with you”

  1. Empathy: put yourself in the place of the other person, imagine the reasons that led him to have that behavior. Make an effort to understand her position.

“I understand, Arturo, that you must be complicated with the birth of your first child, I am also a father and I know that it is very difficult to adapt to all the changes that have to be made”

  1. Establish an agreement: this phase seeks to commit the person to a change that allows both parties to resume the relationship.

“I would like to know how I can help you so that we can establish an agreement and guarantee that your punctuality returns to what it was before.”

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