How do your coworkers perceive you and the job you do? Perception is reality – and that depends on the way you communicate. Handle it well, and you’ll earn trust and respect, build bridges, and make friends as well as teammates. But ignore the finer points of effective communication, and the opposite will be true.
Great communication is like playing the piano or shooting under par on the golf course. Some people are naturally better at it than others, but anyone can learn to do it better. It’s not always easy, but it’s an acquired skill that you can – and should – learn and practice throughout your career.
Stick to Your Guns and Avoid These Pitfalls
It can be easy to fall into bad communication habits unless you work at preventing them. Begin by thinking about what you need to say, write, or otherwise convey every time you enter into a dialogue or presentation. Write it down and practice it ahead of time. Keep your message clearly in mind. You can then bridge back to it when needed, especially if the conversation becomes challenging.
Hold onto that message as you steer clear of these communication blunders:
Thinking One Size Fits All
Messages are interpreted differently by different people. Consider your audience, put yourself in their place, and consider how they will hear and understand your message when you communicate. This is especially challenging if you’re communicating with a multi-generational or otherwise diverse team. Diversity rocks, and you need to consider it in all you do.
Talking Too Much
Strive for what Harvard Business Review has termed “360 listening.” This means you’re not only actively listening to what another party has to say, but also to how they’re saying it and what they’re not saying. It only works if you let them do most of the talking. Take in their actual words, but also their body language and other non-verbal cues.
Instead of assuming the other person got your message, take time to follow up, and avoid any misconceptions. If necessary, ask questions to achieve clarification.
Using a Negative Tone
Your tone of voice is reflected in how you phrase and deliver your message and the specific words you choose. As ironic as it sounds, this can be even more critical when using text, email, or other forms of written communication, because there’s no voice, facial expression or body language to convey your interest level or emotion. Always keep it positive.
Reacting Versus Responding
This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of sticking to your message. If an interaction becomes heated, it can be easy for all your preparation to implode, but don’t let that happen. Learn to move from a reactive to a responsive mode. Practice mindful awareness take a breath and recognize the damage a knee-jerk reaction might do. If it helps, count to 10 before you respond. It is an old piece of advice, but it is a good one!
Partner with the Search Wizards Team
To sharpen your communication and other career skills, consider partnering with the Search Wizards team. We’re laser-focused on helping recruitment pros find and capitalize on the opportunities they’re looking for in today’s marketplace – a new world landscape we’ve never seen before. Working together, we will make sure you’re ready to conquer it!