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7 Ways to Develop Your Communication Skills to Boost Productivity at Work

March 15, 2018
6 min read

You think that more communication at work would lead to more distractions and procrastination? You’re wrong! Your career success is basically determined by your ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, superiors, and the audience.  

Communication skills are important from the very beginnings of your career journey. You need them to secure an interview, to get the job, and to make progress in your career.

Researchers found that doctors with good communication skills were able to identify the problems of their patients more accurately. They also had better job satisfaction and less work-related stress. We can translate these results to any other profession. Even when you’re not a doctor, you’re dealing with a specific set of issues that your target audience has, and you want to solve those problems. With better communication skills, you’ll boost your job satisfaction and you’ll become more productive, too.

How exactly can you direct your communication skills development towards higher productivity? We have the tips you need.

Many times miscommunication occurs because of lack of listening. Your colleague or superior is explaining something to you, and you don’t pay attention to everything, thinking it’s not important or you already know that. As a result, you deliver work that doesn’t meet their expectations.

Sometimes people fail to express their expectations in the clearest way. That’s why you have to learn how to listen even to what they are not saying. Pay attention to people’s body language. When you know someone, their reaction tells you when something is off.

If you’re a manager, in particular, you have to develop the skill of figuring out what people are thinking, even if they are not speaking up their minds. Top performers may not be the smartest people in the room, but they are definitely the ones who can understand other people and connect with them.

Jessica Ericsson, career expert from EssayGeeks.co.uk, shares a nice piece of advice: “It’s amazing to see how many people are absolutely terrified of public speaking. I’ve seen many workers in my team who would gladly avoid such occasions. Do not avoid them! Maybe public speaking terrifies you, but you’ll get better with practice. When you do get better at it, it will make a huge difference in your career.”

If you’re not able to speak confidently in front of a group, you’ll never be able to share your brilliant ideas during meetings. You won’t be able to give presentations. That’s a huge career setback. Public speaking is no different than casual communication; you’re simply addressing a larger audience. Whenever you get an opportunity to speak up at work, grab it! It’s okay if your voice breaks. Don’t let that stop you from making another attempt. It’s simply important to start expressing your point of view.

Whenever you’re talking to someone, face-to-face contact is essential. Do not be afraid to look people into their eyes. When you speak the truth and you know what you’re talking about, you’ll have enough confidence for such a direct approach.

The handshake, in particular, is important for making a strong first impression. Be confident when you shake someone’s hand and maintain that eye contact!

You should also pay attention to the movements of your hands while you speak. Be energetic, but don’t let your hand gestures all over the place.

When you’re talking to your colleagues in an informal setting, it’s okay to use a friendly tone. However, you can’t write or say “Hey!” when addressing your boss or a potential business partner. Acronyms are also not okay in formal communication. You can’t just assume the other person knows what FYI means.

Always adjust your tone according to the person and situation. If you’re not sure how to speak to someone at work, do it in a formal way and allow them to set a different tone if they want a friendlier approach.  

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If you’re managing an entire team, giving feedback is a communication skill you must master. This doesn’t mean you should be quick in pointing out when someone makes a mistake. It means you should acknowledge the good things they make, too. Positive feedback is a powerful motivational tool.

Negative feedback is also necessary in some situations. When you have to give it, you should do it properly. First of all, it’s important to get your emotions under control. Do not critique someone when you’re upset or angry. You’ll sound much more convincing when you maintain a calm, secure tone. Give this kind of feedback in private and talk to the person. Be very specific and give instructions for improvement. When this person does achieve improvement, don’t forget to give them credit for it.

Coping with constructive feedback is one of the most important skills you need for career progress. You need feedback from managers, peers, and team members. You should require their honesty and prepare to accept it in a noble way.

How does feedback make you a good communicator? It allows you to discover things about you that need improvement. If, for example, someone from your team tells you they don’t understand the instructions you’ve been sending, you’ll know you have to pay more attention to the clarity of your message. When you regularly request for honest feedback, you’ll be able to keep working on your personal development. The way you communicate will improve, too!

In essence, proper communication skills mean one thing: saying just enough. You should never talk too much. Words dilute the clarity of your expression. Do your best to convey a clear message in as few words as possible. Practice speaking directly and clearly, no matter who you are talking to. Never make long introductions; just get straight to your point and don’t waste people’s time.

When you become an effective, clear communicator, people will understand you. You won’t have to repeat the same things over and over again, trying to explain yourself. You’ll simply become more productive.  

Conclusion

We must all keep working on our communication skills. It’s a lifelong journey! The more effort we invest in improvement of team communication at work, the better we’re getting in the way we communicate with other people. The tips above will help you grow your communication skills towards greater productivity at work.

Author:

Chris Richardson

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