As a foreigner working in a Singapore, although English is commonly used as a medium of communicating in the corporate world, even IT Environment; Sometimes I find it a bit difficult to convey exactly what I want to say to my receiver- do you share the same difficulty as mine?
If your answer is YES or if you’re interested in improving your communication skills further, you’ll definitely benefit on some of the pointers I am sharing.
Good communication skills help a great deal in making a person impressive and influential, it is one of the key ingredients in your career development. Not everyone is a good orator by birth, but one can surely develop good communication skills on his/her own. If you are not able to put across your thoughts effectively that will effect your work commitments, you are probably in need of some grooming. Steer through this article to know more on how to boost your communication skills.
1. Stark Clarity, Zero Ambiguity
“You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen; it said, ‘Parking Fine.” So that was nice.”
No ambiguity, please. You should be clear as to what you want to convey with your words. Ambiguous words and statements can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding. While communicating at work, keep in mind the essence of your words as well as the understanding level of the listener. If your listener is not strong in English, use simple words that are easy to understand! Or, if the context is not yet clearly established, be sure that all parties are aware of the same context first.
2. Be Direct, Don’t Stray.
“Hmm, I think this landscape photo is nice but hmm, I’m not sure if we should use this for the banner. By the way, did you know that I went to Australia last year for vacation? The landscape was so nice that I wish to go again!” Being straight to the point is very necessary when communicating at work. Your clients, employees as well as seniors will be thankful if you are direct and concise. Provide only necessary information. If you say too much, you are likely to wander off the main topic. In turn, the listener will also tune out of the conversation and will likely miss out on your most main points. Remember, time – be it yours or of anyone else, is valuable!
3. Add In a Personal Touch
“You must complete this task by today. You actually had more time to do it but you reported sick for the past few days. Nonetheless, I want it in by hook or by crook before 5pm.” “Are you feeling better today? I noticed that you reported
sick yesterday…” Sure, I mentioned that it is good to be direct and to-the point, but when dealing with your co-workers in the office, it does not mean that you should be crude and impersonal. After all, you are talking to human beings and not
androids. You should always have a personal touch in your words, so as to show your audience that you care about them. If you follow this approach, your communication would definitely bring the desired results. It wouldn’t hurt to show some concern for the people you work with. In fact, it might actually make the person more comfortable around you and that will make your coordination smoother.
4. Be Prudent, Think Before You Speak
“A good speaker never uses abusive words.”
Words can be weapons. Before you say something, stop and think how you’d feel if someone said it to you. Consider the cultural background and personality of your audience. Is he/she an easy-going person who is not easily offended? Or is he/she hyper-sensitive and would feel offended easily when harsh words are being used? Remember, a word, once spoken, can never be taken back. So, it is better to think twice before speaking anything, rather than be sorry later on.
5. Positive Presentation
A communication will be the most effective when it is positive. While it’s true that negative words can also get work done, you don’t wish to have your co-workers to harbour any bad feelings due to the negativity from your words, do you? Whenever you speak, try to underplay the negative aspects and accentuate the positive ones. Balancing negatives with positives will always encourage the listener to work competently, to the best of his abilities.
6. Don’t Just Nod, Be Involved
A good conversationalist should not just be able to speak effectively, but also show a willingness to listen attentively. Communication has never been (nor will it ever be) one-way. Even when you are giving a speech, you should watch out for the feedback of your audience, whether in the form of applause or any other gestures. By listening, we don’t merely mean nodding your head every now and then, but rather, being involved.
7. Choose the Right Communication Means
Technology has shaped our world and given us a variety of choices we can use to communicate. Sure, you can send a meeting invitation using Outlook in under 2 minutes, and give your co-workers work instructions over MSN, but is it appropriate for you to exchange long chains of emails to discuss, say, what each of you think is the best way to go about implementing the task requirements? In most cases, you are able to present your ideas better in person because you have an additional tool –body language. Use it well and avoid exchanging texts that can easily be ambiguous and misleading.
Interpersonal communication skills are indispensable in this society. Learn to communicate well and it can make your work more of a breeze, so why not add this to your list of New Year’s resolutions now?