In so many office situations it seems like people at all levels are either oversharing or under communicating. We have so many options for talking to each other and relaying information that commonsense practices have been forgotten or neglected. And I’m sure some of you have experienced a sort of de-humanizing trend of communication. Let’s not forget that we’re all people and details really do matter.
We all can be better at talking with each other and treating each other with human decency and consideration. I think getting back to some basics can vastly improve inter-office encounters among all teams and workplaces. Career expert Alison Doyle shared her top 10 communication skills in a post for The Balance, and the following three outshined the ones we already know and (hopefully) practice.
Picking the Right Medium
“An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use,” Doyle wrote. “For example, some serious conversations (layoffs, changes in salary, etc.) are almost always best done in person. You should also think about the person with whom you wish to speak – if they are very busy people (such as your boss, perhaps), you might want to convey your message through email. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication, and will be more likely to respond positively to you.”
Most importantly, be sure to use a variety of media. Don’t fall down the instant message pit of despair and ONLY talk to people from your IM.
Clarity and Concision
“Good communication means saying just enough – don’t say too little or talk too much. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing your audience.”
Remember to always share the most important, crucial, vital details. Keep in mind that your co-workers, direct reports and managers will always want to know the classic who, what, when, where, why and how.
“People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. Convey respect through email by taking the time to edit your message. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient will think you do not respect her enough to think through your communication with her.”
Amen, sister. Preach it. Just take 30 seconds and read over your email, your text, your IM before hitting send. 30 seconds, man. Not only is slop disrespectful to the recipient, also it is the quickest way to lose respect among your peers.