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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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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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