Irish poet William Butler Yeats once said, “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.” I think this quote embodies a really important thing that we sometimes forget not only in the office, but in all aspects of life: how to properly communicate. We talk to strangers, friends, colleagues all the time, but there are many techniques we could employ to enrich our communicative experience for us and those we are communicating with. That’s what I’ll be talking about today – things to take in to consideration in order to communicate better.
- Listen! Suggesting listening as a way to improve your communication may seem silly, as it is something we do naturally, but if you stop to consider it, there is a lot of time we spend doing the exact opposite. How many times have you been more preoccupied with what you plan on saying next while someone is speaking to you instead of listening to what they are saying yourself? How many times have you completely ignored someone’s sentiment because you do not agree with it? If we take a pause to absorb what is being spoken to us instead of focusing on what we want to say next, we may learn a lot more than we would expect.
- Communication is not just the things you say. A lot of communication is about the way you present yourself. If you want someone to make sure they know that you are paying attention to what they are saying, things like straight posture, eye contact, and nodding or some other interactive gesture can help to get that point across. A lot of these things we do naturally, but in some situations, where we are nervous or uncomfortable, for instance, keep them in mind or that stiffness may send the wrong message.
- Constructive Criticism. It is natural to react defensively to any criticism someone might come to you with, but if you work on relaxing and taking it in stride, you will find yourself with a lot more room for growth and learning. The same goes with when finding yourself with criticism for someone else’s work – remember what it feels like to be criticized, and be constructive, statements like, “I like what you’re doing here, but…” help soften the blow of any problems you may find and segue into easier lines of communication on how to improve.
- Remember who you are speaking to. Being able to empathize with others will help you to know how to communicate better. For instance, if a worker is doing something that is negatively affecting the rest of those in the office working on a similar project, instead of automatically issuing a sort of warning or letting them go, tries to understand why they might do those things. If you can do that, you can help resolve it by speaking to them from a place of understanding.
A lot of communication is natural, but sometimes we have to remember certain things to keep ourselves ready for anything at any time. To stay at the edge of issues on HR and staffing, be sure to subscribe to the Human Capital Supply Chain Blog.