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7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace

7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace

Communication in the workplace is critical to success. Success for you as an individual and success for the company. Teams work so much better with clear, consistent communication. Your ability to communicate well directly impacts your success, your teams success, and therefore the companies success.

In this article, we will take a look at why good communication is so critical in the workplace. We will then look at the 7 most important communication techniques in the workplace you need to know. You will be able to clearly see why having strong communication skills are a must have resource for your success at work.

With that, let’s examine why strong communication is so critical in the workplace.

Why Communication Is Critical in the Workplace

Being able to communicate well will help you in all areas of your work. You’ll be able to work more effectively with your coworkers, your bosses, and clients. Strong communication impacts your relationships with everyone you work with.

If you are a leader, it is vital that you are able to convey clear information to others on your team. You’ll be able to create a vision everyone can see. You can share goals that the entire group can get behind. A much better sense of team can be created by your ability to communicate. Conversely, you’ll be the captain of a rudderless ship if you don’t communicate well.

Clear communication is important in every area of our lives. From our workplace to our personal relationships. We can look at 3 areas of our work where communication is extremely important:

Communication in the Company

It cannot be understated how important clear communication from company leaders is. This is an area that is easy to spot if it’s a yes or a no.

Company leaders that convey a clear message about company goals, values, and culture are doing everyone a wonderful service. It gets everyone going in the same direction. As a company you’ll hire the kind of people who align with the company culture and values. Everybody knows what’s important.

Companies that have poor communication from leaders suffer because of it. People that work for the company don’t know what’s important. They tend to not know what the values of the companies are. Culture becomes something they aren’t able to tell anyone about because they don’t know.

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Are we trying to grow this year? By how much? What do we care about as a company? How are we staying ahead or at least on pace with our competitors? What are new developments in our industry? Hard to know these answers if you never hear it from the leaders.

Communication within Your Team

Almost everyone works with a team of some sort. Your team might be 2 or it might be in a group of 20. It doesn’t really matter, you have to be able to communicate.

Chances are you are all in one department so you are working towards a common goal. It might be an project getting ready to launch or recruiting for your company or the sales team. It’s vital to be able to clearly communicate with other members of your team about goals, processes, challenges, and camaraderie in general.

Communication with Your Boss

It is critical to be able to communicate clearly with your boss. Having a good rapport with your boss has so many advantages. It allows you to know what you need to do in order to be successful.

If you can’t communicate with your boss, you won’t be able to get the resources you need to do your job well. You’ve got to be able to have a clear picture of what your boss defines as success in your role. None of this happens without solid open dialogue with your boss.

Plus, let’s be real, it’s much more fun and engaging to work for a boss that you get along well with and have a strong working relationship.

7 Important Communication Techniques in the Workplace

Let’s take a look at some of the communication techniques that can super charge your success in the workplace.

1. Be Available

One of the easiest ways to have good communication at work is to simply be available. I’ve worked for bosses that were always available to talk to and willing to jump in and help. I’ve worked with fellow coworkers who always had a shut door to their office and took 4 days to return an email.

Guess which scenario creates the better working environment? Not too difficult to figure that one out.

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By simply being available you help create a comfortable atmosphere of communication in the workplace.

2. Be Friendly

Being friendly to the people you work with is another fairly easy way to have good communication skills at work. Having a positive attitude and caring about the folks you work with goes a long way.

When you have a friendly, engaging attitude, the people you work with will naturally flow towards you. They will see you as approachable and have an easy time opening up to you.

This type of communication leads to groups that work well together and enjoy being around each other. It helps to develop a good sense of team in the workplace.

3. Be a Good Listener

I’ve covered this in another article but it certainly bears repeating. Good communication isn’t just about conveying information. It’s also about being a good listener in order to fully understand what someone is saying.

When you have well developed listening skills, you are able to fully process what someone is saying. This is mission critical for working closely with someone.

You have to be able to get what they are saying and what they are communicating to you. When you fully understand someone, you are able to have good back and forth communication dialogue, and create a great sense of team and balance!

You can learn how to be a better listener in this guide: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

4. Be Clear

Sharing information clearly is one of the most important communication techniques in the workplace. Being clear is one of the 7Cs of communication — an essential framework to prevent miscommunication.

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I have worked with people who can talk for 30 minutes and I am more confused about the question I asked at the beginning than when they answered it.

I’m sure we all know someone who can generate a lot of words coming out of their mouth but really not say anything. Don’t be this person. All it does is hinder communication.

While it’s great to have small talk when you share important information, be very clear about it. Make the points that are needed and don’t build in a lot of fluff around it. Say what is needed in a clear manner. Add more information if needed. Clarity is key.

5. Be Aware of Non Verbal Communication

Remember, non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. Watch other people’s body language when you are interacting with them.

Things like crossed arms and frowns should be big signals that someone either doesn’t agree with you or doesn’t understand. It’s just as important to be aware of your own non verbal communication.

Look at other people in the eye when speaking to them. Have an open posture when someone is speaking to you. This reflects that you are open to what they are saying.

Watch yours and other people’s non verbal communication cues.

6. Be Open to Feedback

Think of this as being someone who is able to be coached. It’s incredibly important towards the beginning of your career but also throughout your career.

Everyone has a boss. Even if you are the president of a company, you have a boss – your customers. Be open to the feedback of your boss, colleagues, and customers. Many people have an issue with constructive criticism.

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I find this is the best way to learn about yourself and more importantly, improve yourself. If you aren’t willing to listen to feedback, you’ll never change how you are doing something which means you’ll never improve your results.

7. Be Open Minded

Think about this. If you aren’t open minded while having a conversation with someone, chances are you won’t be listening very well. You’ll be too busy formulating a response to think objectively about what is being said.

Having an open mind will allow you to have a strong dialogue with others that leads to working together to solve problems.

Final Thoughts

Strong communication skills are a wonderful skill to have in your arsenal. Great communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This goes for all of your personal relationships as well as your work partnerships. You will be able to get more of what you want when you communicate well. The listening side of communication helps you understands others needs as well.

We’ve taken a look at the 7 most important communication techniques in the workplace you need to know. As you read through the list, see if you feel you could improve upon any of the techniques.

Challenge yourself to get better at one or a few of them, your work self will thank you!

More About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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Mat Apodaca

On a mission to share about how communication in the workplace and personal relationships plays a large role in your happiness

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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