Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills at Work

Female nurse explaining to young male patient at office in hospital
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Perhaps the one personal skill that has the greatest impact on your job satisfaction, promotion potential, and career success is your ability to communicate effectively with others. By improving your communication skills at work you increase your ability to achieve success, have your successes noted, and get yourself those promotions you deserve. Here are things you can do to improve your communication skills at work.

Get Your Point Across

When we're trying to get a point across to someone else we often think long and hard about what we want to say. That is the wrong way to go about it. Instead of focusing on what you want to say to get your point across, you should focus on what you want the other person to hear.

Listen to What People Are Not Saying

Many times what your employees do not say is as important as what they do say. A manager has to develop the ability to listen to what employees are not saying and dig through that to get to the truth.

Learn to Speak in Public to a Group

Some people are reluctant to speak in public or before a group. Managers can't be. You will hinder your career if you are unable to speak confidently in front of a group. Like so many other things, public speaking gets easier with practice. You just go out and do it and each time it gets easier. 

Get Your Boss to Agree

We all expect our boss to agree with us when we present a request, but too often they say "no." The problem may not be in what you asked for. Instead, it may be in how you asked for it.

Give Positive Feedback

Don't ever underestimate the power of positive feedback. We are quick to point out to someone when they make a mistake. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge them when they do something right. Giving positive feedback can be a powerful tool for employee motivation.

Give Negative Feedback Properly

You always want to try positive feedback first, but there are times that isn't appropriate or effective. When you do need to give negative feedback, there are ways to do it that produce the desired results without creating barriers.

Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

Many managers and companies fail because they rely too heavily on the people like them and screen out those who disagree with them. That's why many people surround themselves with people who agree with them, think like them, and support them. When your company culture allows people to challenge ideas, suggestions, and plans, you create an organization of thinking, committed people. If your company culture does not allow dissent you produce an environment of fear. Not allowing appropriate dissent will kill your company.

Manage Older Workers Effectively

The workforce is aging as baby boomers move toward retirement. Gen X and millennial managers need to learn how to motivate and manage this talent pool of older workers. It is up to the managers to take the lead and create the climate in which these older workers will remain engaged and productive.

Improve Your Written Communication Too

The purpose of business writing is to convey information to someone else or to request information from them. To be effective in writing for business, you must be complete, concise, and accurate. Your text should be written in such a way that the reader will be able to easily understand what you are telling or asking them. Whether you are writing a sales proposal, an email to your department, or an instruction manual for a software package, here are the steps you need to follow to improve your written communications.​

Write Better Emails

Sloppily written emails waste everyone's time and money. Write better emails and your boss will love it, your employees will understand you better, and you will spend less time repeating things in another email or over the phone.

Network Better

No matter how you look at it, your success in business depends on your ability to successfully network. Some people consider networking "office politics" and avoid it, but there is much more to it. Successful networking means being able to communicate effectively with your peers and your bosses, but also with your employees. These steps will help you put your improving communication skills to good use to advance in your management career. 

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