No matter what job you’re in, having the skill to communicate well is essential. People who practice good communication not only improve their personal lives but their professional life gets a boost too. You don’t have to have a certain personality type to be a great communicator. Being good at communication is a skill that gets perfected over time and isn’t something you can really master. Your communication tactics may be very good in one department at work but the minute you start a new job or change departments, your strategy may need to change. If you’re looking to improve on your communication, take a look at these top habits of good communicators:
They’re good at adapting to new situations quickly
People who know how to communicate are able to read a situation quickly and adapt their skills accordingly. If you can handle change well and know how to handle change when it comes to people, you’re already on your way to being a good communicator! People who can’t roll with changes at work tend to be the people who get most affected by them.
Realise it’s not a one-way street
When people listen to be able to reply rather than to be able to understand a situation, they’re not good communicators. The art of listening is the crux of good communication. If you can’t listen, you can’t communicate. Active listening is a skill in itself to get right. (More on this later)
They are able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes
Pretend you’re the other person being communicated to by you. Whether it’s by email, phone, text or even face to face. How would you perceive the communication that’s being given out? Would the other person actually want to hear what you’re saying? Perhaps it’s something that ought to be sent via email or by phone. Would you listen to what you’re saying? Sometimes we feel the need to communicate things we find important however the other party is less than interested. If you’re making yourself aware of how people could perceive you, then you’re communicating well.
“It’s not what you said, it was the way you said it”
Good communicators have a level of emotional intelligence that enables them to read people better. Having emotional intelligence really helps with understanding how you’re being perceived by others. Along with being able to pick up on others’ emotions, be sure to pick up on their body language. It sounds cliché, but body language can really tell you a lot about how a person is feeling in that moment. If you’re an authority figure, being able to read body language is especially important. People don’t always want to (or can’t) speak their minds to someone in a position of power, so to a certain extent it’s up to you to be able to read their mind.
Good communicators are active listeners
Active listening is a skill that all good communicators do really well. The ability to listen actively can be tricky to get right because it depends on who you’re talking to and what the other factors are (your environment, relationship etc.)
You’re an active listener if you can do the following:
- You spend more time listening in a conversation than you do talking (this applies if you’re being spoken to rather than speaking to someone about something specific).
- You don’t interrupt the other person/people (this is sort of a given, but a lot of people interrupt without even knowing it).
- Your body language indicates that you’re genuinely listening (making eye contact, smiling and nodding, not fidgeting etc.)
- You can remember details from the discussion in question.
- You ask questions so you can understand the topic of discussion better.
They don’t bury their heads in the sand
People who are good at communicating don’t avoid awkward situations that they don’t want to face up to. Everyone has situations in their jobs where they want to evade a situation that they know is going to be difficult or awkward to deal with. However, if the situation is going to get worse or not disappear then it needs addressing by you. The quicker you deal with it the better. In the long term you’ll gain respect from your co-workers too.
They don’t jump to conclusions
Sometimes things get said or heard without any proper context. Most of the time, questions will be raised and any misunderstandings can be easily resolved. On the other hand, people will also sometimes go on what they’ve heard without any further knowledge. If you think there’s more to a situation you should always ask for more clarification on the subject. Don’t be ignorant if you can avoid it.
Being able to communicate well sounds easier than it actually is. A lot of people think they’re good communicators because they don’t interrupt people or because their body language signifies that they’re engaged and listening attentively. However, there are many other ways you can improve on your communication skills in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what level you are in your job either – as long as you’re a good communicator then you’ll be adding a lot more credibility to your overall career.