Communication is one of the things we don’t think much about. The fact that we communicate every day doesn’t mean that we have acquired all the necessary skills to adapt to different situations we find ourselves in day after day. We can be certain that different functional styles of communication are required for different circumstances, and maybe we already know these different styles, but we also need to have some nuance regarding the way we use them in “real life”. Theory is one thing, but using these things in practice is something completely different.
If you were going to write a news article, for example, you wouldn’t use language that was reminiscent of something like poetry (although, that could also be possible). But imagine reading a news story about the opening of a new store in your town and the whole article is written in verses. If we read something like that, we would rightly think it was pretty silly. Or, for another example, if you were speaking to your university professor, you would probably refrain from using slang and the style of communication you usually use with your friends.
These different approaches towards communication is something we call functional styles, and almost every aspect of life has its own style, as you can see in these two examples we mentioned here.
Communication in the workplace is something that needs clear and cohesive language. Time is money, and nowhere is this clearer than in the workplace. Yes, clear language is not exclusive to the workplace. Any kind of communication needs to be clear and direct in order to function, but communication in the workplace needs to have other traits in order to be efficient and effective.
We will try to examine the most important traits in this article and show you some of the mistakes you should avoid in order to create a more peaceful work environment and to be as clear as possible in your communication in the workplace.
One thing that is true for any kind of communication is being confident. Confidence is something that enables us to talk directly and use the kind of voice needed to get our point of view out without the fear of being misunderstood. In a lot of ways, confidence is needed for every basic human interaction, but the workplace requires it especially because of the specific need for fast and direct communication.
Be clear and articulate
This is not a psychological thing so much as it is a physical skill you need to learn. Articulation is one of the main aspects of good speech and it’s not something that comes easy to everyone. Every day we talk and speak to people around us, but this doesn’t mean that we are very skillful in that part of life.
Good speech is as old as human language. In Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire there were even schools that would teach you how to speak correctly and distinctively in order to get your views across. Today, those techniques are mainly used and taught in acting schools. However, actors are not the only ones who need to be articulate in the way they speak. If you want to be successful in your field of work, you need to have a clear and articulate voice. This means there’s no room for mumbling while speaking in the workplace. Whether you’re speaking to your boss, co-workers or clients, speech is not something that can be taken lightly.
Body language is not a gimmick
Nonverbal or body language is very important in your workplace communication. Having a nice posture while standing or sitting is sometimes the key to a successful conversation. Anyone who had any kind of singing lessons has heard about the importance of the way you stand or sit. This has to do with the process of creating sounds itself.
Air hits your vocal cords, which open in different sizes for different sounds. If your body posture is not comfortably positioned for the air to travel from your lungs to your vocal cords, you will sound squeaky and lose the attention of the ones you’re talking to very quickly.
Other aspects of body language are eye contact, which is also very important in order for your audience to stay focused. Handshakes and gestures in general are also ways to accent certain parts of your speech and to show confidence in the words you’re saying.
Use jokes, but don’t overdo it
Being funny is a sword with two edges. Sometimes it helps to throw one or two jokes into the conversation at your workplace. These jokes need to be appropriate for the environment you’re in. Sometimes even bold jokes can be the key to breaking the ice, but you have to be very careful on when and how to use them.
If you’re not sure if a joke is appropriate for the current mood, it’s better to leave it out, as telling jokes and overdoing it is something that can do more harm than a successful joke can do well. Keep it to a minimum even if a joke you tell is successful. Most of the time, that one hit is enough to leave an impression of an interesting conversation in the mind of the other party.
Gossip is never useful
Until now, we’ve been talking about the way to communicate, but now let’s take a look at the substance of the conversation we have. In every workplace, there are people who seem to have nothing better to do than commenting on the latest rumors in the company. Avoid those people! This is no joke. If you’re not directly tied to them professionally, keep your communication with them to a minimum. Even if you have to talk to them professionally, do exactly that. Don’t get hooked by the gossip they’re trying to cook up. You have no time for that, even if you’re not busy at that moment. Politely remove yourself from this kind of conversation as soon as you find yourself in one.
The key to being successful in your workplace not only relies on the work you do, but also on the way you communicate with your colleagues, superiors and subordinates. If you communicate well, people will be drawn to you and appreciate you more so than if you don’t.