Soft Skills

【Workplace communication 101】3 tips to "hack" communication at work

Communications happen at work, especially when it involves teamwork or even working with people from different teams.  Check out 3 tips from our experts to hack communication and become an effective communicator at work today! 

Tip 1: Listen first, speak after

Communication is always a two-way street.  Imagine making conversation like in a tennis game, when the other person serves the ball, your mission is not only to get the ball over the net, but also to make sure they can hit the ball back.  Conversations are fun and interactive because people get to exchange ideas, just like the ball bouncing back and forth in the tennis game. These days, on the other hand, people have forgotten the arts of active listening.  While we all love to be heard, it’s essential to pause during a conversation, and listen to what other people are saying.

What is active listening and why is it so important?

We all know what listening is.  But active listening is more than just hearing what others say, it’s about focusing on the speaker, understanding their message and responding thoughtfully.  Once you’ve acquired this soft skill, you’ll become more valuable because you’ll be able to build trustful relationships and connections with people.  People will be more likely to talk to you because active listening helps others feel more comfortable and connected with you.  This can help open up opportunities to collaborate with others.  Active listening can also help with identifying and solving problems at work.  When you actively listen to people, you can detect challenges and difficulties others might be facing.  

How to improve your active listening skills?

Active listening skills take time to develop and practice more whenever you communicate with people.  Here are some of the tips to do:

Ask the right questions

While listening to others, you can guide them into sharing more information by asking open-ended questions and questions that can narrow down a broad subject.  Start off by summarizing what they’ve talked about, and guide them to provide more details about what they’ve shared. 

Display empathy

When it comes to communicating with your colleagues at work, showing that you’re able to recognise their emotions and share their feelings can help connecting with them.  You can also establish a sense of mutual trust by simply acknowledging their feelings. 

Use body language

Body language tells a lot about how you engage in the conversation.  A simple nod, smile and eye contact can make a big difference in developing the connection between you and your speaking partner.  

Tip 2: Stay positive

When it comes to communicating with your colleagues, discussions might turn into debates easily because we might see things differently.  Apart from active listening, it’s also important to mind what we say. 

Mind your language 

Be conscious of the words you use when speaking and thinking.  Instead of saying something negative, try finding words that are more neutral and positive.  For instance, instead of saying “no, I can’t do this task because I’m busy”, try saying “I’m sorry that it’s not possible because my schedule is packed this month”.  

Practice gratitude

Teamwork means everyone needs to contribute to the same goals.  It’s important to not take things for granted.  When communicating with others at work, try expressing your gratitude and make compliments to others’ work.  This can help with connecting with others more positively. 

Tip 3: Get to the point 

When we’re nervous, we tend to ramble and talk more than we should.  The conversation gets overwhelming and the one listening gets confused.  Miscommunications happen when we can't get to the point.

Pause, then talk

When you feel like you’re going to ramble, take a 5-second pause.  Gather your thoughts and reframe what you’d like to say.  Having a 5-second break can help you refocus on the conversation and dim the urge to over-talk.

Frame your conversation

By framing your conversation, you can quickly organize your thoughts.  It can also help make sure what you’re saying is strong and powerful enough to be heard.  Let’s say you’re convincing someone, try stating the benefits of your proposal first, then explain them one by one.  Finish off by explaining what needs to be done.  Having a clear framework for your ideas can make sure people understand what you’re trying to deliver.

There’s no natural-born conversationalist.  Communication takes a lot of practice and there’s never a perfect formula for communicating. 

Improve your soft skills today and ace communication at work! Click here to check out sofasoda’s courses on effective communication by Gary Lo, TEDx Speaker and coach today!







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