Effective communication skills are a crucial part of workplace success. Whether your job position requires you to interact with team members, clients, external suppliers, or a superior, communicating clearly and effectively is a beneficial skill that can do wonders for your career and professional success in the short and long run. In fact, communication happens to be one of the top soft skills that employers seek during their hiring process. If you are not a natural-born communicator, there are many ways to fix poor communication in the workplace and build solid skills to engage with your team and create a cooperative, conflict-free environment.
The art of active listening is not beyond anyone’s reach. The way you listen can impact your job performance and your relationship with others. We listen to obtain information, understand, learn, and be inspired. If we learn to listen better, we could also make our interactions more constructive and meaningful, and avoid conflicts and misunderstandings as a result. So what exactly is active listening? Active listening is a conscious effort to not only hear the words uttered by someone else but more importantly, the entire message communicated. In other words, active listening is about understanding the intent behind the words and responding accordingly, without getting distracted.
Nobody likes a micro-manager or having someone constantly on one’s back. Whether you communicate with your superior or a co-worker, make sure that you give them plenty of breathing space between conversations. Keep your screen time or face-to-face conversations to a minimum but make sure these interactions are as productive as possible. For example, instead of scheduling a meeting per day to discuss the day’s projects and tasks, set up a weekly meeting with an agenda of topics to discuss. Use that time to cover the rest of the week’s projects as effectively as possible, and then touch base on instant messaging the rest of the time (if necessary) to give each other breathing room in between conversations.
Any healthy discussion should leave room to express different points of view, but what to do when your vision is out-voted and you seem to be the least popular voice at the table? The answer is to communicate your opinion nonetheless, but make sure that as a team player, you end up committing to the decision carried out by the team. Expose your point of view — along with the pros and cons of your argument — but if it fails to convince the majority, get on board with your team’s direction. As a team player, it is important to root for your team’s success, and committing to a common vision is a crucial part of it (even if your personal viewpoint differs at times).
Getting through to people around you is hard, especially if you work remotely. Misunderstandings between team members happen when directives are handed out without providing context. Giving a full overview, with history and details, goes a long way when presenting a project or an idea. When it comes to communicating and providing context, never assume that some aspects of the subject are self-explanatory or go without saying. It’s much better to overexplain than leave things out!
Besides basic communication skills, you can also rely on the numerous digital tools designed to improve communication in the workplace, especially to streamline communication within a creative team. Of course, you can exchange through the classic instant messaging apps or email, but there are also many work tools designed to facilitate communication and make it easier to collaborate and give feedback. For example, for creative projects involving visual assets, a tool like BOOM Worksite makes it easier for teams to communicate on particular projects. In Worksite, when users create a workroom and insert the visual assets they want to workshop, they can also interact and exchange messages in a variety of ways. The workroom’s structure is designed to allow users to leave comments and feedback, ask questions to specific team members, approve or ask for revisions on specific assets, and give general instructions to manage projects.
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