Working with teams is a necessary part of work. It is necessary to provide high-quality products and services, maintain a safe working environment and lead the company into bigger and better deals. On a personal level, being able to communicate with coworkers is essential to leading a happy work-life balance.
However, communicating with teams is a stressor for many people. Many people struggle to communicate while working on projects or they stick to the minimum amount of communication required to get through the day.
Here we will break down some tips to improve your communication at work.
Improving communication starts with listening. Listen to directions clearly and listen to what your bosses and coworkers think. If you do not know what they think or show respect for their opinion, it will not matter if you voice your opinion at all; they will show you the same disrespect. Listening is just common courtesy, but more importantly, it helps you understand a variety of opinions and problems that your team is facing. This will help you integrate them together into an actionable plan.
PAY ATTENTION TO BODY LANGUAGE AND TONE
Often times, the way something is said is more important than what is said. The same idea, shared with different tones or body language, can have significantly different interpretations. Listening involves paying attention to these indicators to make sure that you truly understand what your coworkers are thinking.
Encourage others to share their ideas by asking questions. Getting a variety of input might help avoid making mistakes or finding solutions more efficiently. Additionally, getting input from everyone encourages communication by creating an open and friendly work environment.
No one is going to question your intelligence, but make sure not to let your team down. Make sure you know what you are talking about. When spitballing ideas it is one thing to just throw new ideas out there, but when it comes to major projects or changes, think your ideas through. Try communicating your ideas with one or two coworkers before presenting your ideas to a large team or your boss. Try to find flaws in your own plan before someone else does.
Similar to educating yourself is being confident in your ideas. When delivering your message, speak positively and clearly. Stumbling through a message or pausing constantly to retrace your steps are major red flags that a person might not know what they are saying or they are not confident in themselves.
ADMIT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG
Admitting when you are wrong is essential to any healthy relationship – including the ones you have at work with coworkers and larger teams. Own up to your mistakes no matter how big or small. Your coworkers will respect you more when you are honest. Lying about your mistakes or trying to cover them up will only hurt you in the long run either affecting your credibility or perhaps eliminating your ability to voice an opinion at all.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY LANGUAGE AND TONE
Your coworkers will also pick up the body language and tone that you use to deliver your message. You can always tell when someone has a negative attitude; they carry it with them in their walk, their work and their conversation. Do not be that guy. Be conscious of the signals you give off in addition to your actual message.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK
A major roadblock for many people is a mental one. Too many are obsessed with what others are going to think of their opinion. This can lead to people who know they are absolutely correct to not voice their opinion. After a problem occurs, have you ever thought, “I knew that would happen?” Why did you not say something? Do not worry what others think of your ideas, even if and when you turn out to be wrong. Speaking up is the best way for teams to more efficiently identify the right solutions to their problems. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
CRITICIZE AND BE OPEN TO CRITICISM
Make your criticism constructive and clear for your team. It’s not enough to make them aware of their mistakes, offer them solutions so that they can improve their work in the future. Likewise, be open to criticism. Criticism should be viewed positively when done correctly. It’s a signal that your coworkers care about the quality of your work. There are of course time for fun and games, but make sure when they involve serious matters that the criticism is not lost in the fun.
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