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5 Phrases Excellent Communicators Always Use At Work

5 Phrases Excellent Communicators Always Use At Work

If you are good at your job, solve problems and can meet deadlines, you may think that is enough. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, there is something missing. Effective communication skills are vital and are at the top of their list.

They list the top 5: communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork skills, technical skills and strong work ethic that employers are looking for. Not that leaders and managers are doing so well on the communication skills battlefront either. They often have to deal with the rather nasty consequences of poor communication when productivity and morale plummet, not to mention lawsuits, some of which stem from a simple breakdown in communication.

“Communication heals most wounds, but when you are amongst those with hidden agendas, they are more like viruses and difficult to cure.”- Glenn Llopis, Forbes magazine contributor.

Here are 5 phrases that skillful communicators will use with maximum effect in the workplace.

1. “Have you had a situation where that strategy worked?”

This is ten thousand times more effective than “No, I honestly think that would not work.” An excellent communicator knows she has to show a certain openness to new ideas. Asking for details of past experience shows a desire to build a team and make joint decisions without destroying trust or morale.

2. “Tell me more, that sounds really interesting”

If the coworker says this, it shows a willingness to listen which is one of the pillars of effective communication. If he chooses to say “If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me,” he is sending a very strong signal that it is his turn to speak and he has a better idea/proposal/ example to talk about. It is also saying that he wants to dominate the discussion. All these are the telltale signs of a very poor communicator. You can tell that this person is hardly listening at all as he prepares his own perfect example.

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3. “What do you mean when you say…?”

A manager or colleague can give feedback in many ways and they can also repeat exactly what the team member has just said. This sounds rather false. A much better approach is to use the above question and ask more questions to clarify other issues, outcomes and consequences. Also, show that you have really listened at the end by recalling a few of the points raised in a fresh sentence or in action points, if they are feasible.

Skilled communicators will be paying attention to the non-verbal signals they are sending as well. They will avoid crossed arms and look to maintain eye contact. They are not afraid to use appropriate touching. They know that touch is the most powerful of all the non verbal cues.

Did you know that body language conveys more meaning than the actual words we use? Albert Mehrabian is a psychologist who has done some interesting research on this. The message is not so much -watch your language as watch your body language.

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4. “Let me know why you were behind on that deadline so that we can get back on track.”

The clever communicator knows that ticking off a person with “You should work harder at meeting deadlines” is missing the mark almost entirely and comes across as unhelpful. A much better idea is to offer a solution or help to find out what the real problem is. Making suggestions and offering advice is a great way to build bridges which is what communication is all about.

5. “Here are a few points you need to work on before the next sales presentation.”

Very often, critical comments such as “ I’m really disappointed your sales presentation went badly” will be taken as a personal attack and will cause resentment and poor performance. An excellent communicator knows that keeping emotion and opinions out of the equation are far more effective. She starts by praising any good points then gently suggests changes for the next time round. This works just as well when carrying out performance assessments too.

Finally, don’t forget that an over-reliance on email and technology may destroy the wonderful art of communication. Texts and emails are fine for conveying information but when it comes to actually dealing with more sensitive issues, you just cannot beat a face-to-face conversation. That is why no email Friday is such a great idea.

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“No E-mail Friday helps us to remember we really could go over to that person sitting right over there and collaborate more.”- Sara Roberts, President, Roberts Golden Consulting, San Francisco.

Featured photo credit: VFS Digital Design Mexico Intensive/ Vancouver Film School via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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