Poor communication skills can lead to a hectic work environment and personal and/or social issues. It can lead to confusion, frustration, and mistakes, but why should you focus on establishing great communication skills?
Good communication skills foster stronger relationships, clear and defined expectations, and creates an improved workplace environment. What’s more, it can increase productivity, enhance your professional image, and produce better problem-solving results.
Firstly, though, you need to learn how to reduce the chances of miscommunication. How can you do that? Well, by adopting the following rules:
- Talk about what you want, not what you don’t want.
- Impose order in your message.
- Define and emphasize all the essential terms.
- Limit what is said so that the message is clearer.
- Use numbers where appropriate.
Still unsure on how the above can help? Let’s expand on each point.
Talk about what you want, not what you don’t want
Avoid talking about what it is you do not like and instead focus your efforts on what you do like, what you want, and how to achieve it. You’ll find that a lot of people will focus on what you don’t like when, in actual fact, you should do the opposite.
You can do this through a clear and concise email but also by leaving all questions open to what it is you will do to attain the desired goals. Be affirmative of your views.
Impose order in your message
Without order, chaos will ensue. You need to have structure in your communication; otherwise, confusion can happen. Of course, structure depends on how you are communicating. For instance, how you compose an email is different from lecturing for students. For the latter, you need to think about body language and the way you emphasize words as well as the order you have to hit your points.
There are many ways to put order in your message, it just depends on context.
- The structure could be chronological
- The structure could be from the biggest to the smallest
- The structure could be based on cause and effect
- The structure could revolve around the problem, cause, solution
The information you are communicating will decide how you impart the information. Finding a solution will, for example, call for the problem, cause, and effect structure so that you can have all the relevant information to analyze and move forward from.
Disorganized messages will only confuse and cause issues down the line.
Define and emphasize all the important terms
Ambiguity can lead to miscommunication. Words have different meanings, and if you are not careful, someone can get the wrong end of the stick. Language is full of ambiguities, so you need to reread through your email and/or notes to ensure nothing can be misread.
A good example is the word “Fairness.” Some people believe this word means:
- Treating people the same
- Treating people according to their individual performance
- Treating people according to the ten commandments
Limit what is said so that the message is clearer
Refrain from saying too much. Less is more when it comes to explaining tasks. People can only retain so much information in their short-term memory, so do not overwhelm them with information that is irrelevant or not necessary.
Numbers are a simple and easy way to clarify your message. Rather than write two in the afternoon, say 2pm. Rather than say “Complete this ASAP,” state that it needs to be completed for 9am.
If you are still unsure about how to improve your communication skills, companies like corporatecoachgroup.com can help train you in specific business skills. These skills can help you become a better professional.
Bonus: Remember this shortlist
- Talk about what you do want
- Structure your instructions
- Define your key terms
- Limit the amount of information
- Wherever possible, use numbers
The above is sure to help you improve your communication skills.