“Communication- the human connection- is the key to personal and career success.”
-Paul J. Meyer
Like Paul J. Meyer stated, communication is the key to success. Communication happens around us daily even when we are not completely aware of it. It can happen through facial expressions, body language, and through a lack of listening (bored, uninterested, ect.). The word communication is interchangeable with information. It is through communication that we convey our message to a friend, colleague or client. In a work place setting, it is vital to convey your message in a positive, professional, and concise manner. When you communicate it does not only reflect who you are but also the business and its values. Having the ability to communicate professionally will allow you to find more opportunities for doing business. When a client or customer leaves a conversation feeling like they were heard, their time was not wasted, and they were treated like an equal they are more likely to recommend you amongst their own network. When a negative interaction occurs, it can be damaging to your reputation as well as your company’s. Here are four concepts to be aware of during a conversation in a workplace setting.
1. Know the Person/Situation- It is very important to understand who you are talking to. Take into consideration their perception and their values so you can align your thought process. This is important so the conversation can have the same context for each participant. The situation is also important. Entering into a conversation claiming “you know everything” is the worst thing you can do. When that message is given, it becomes a competition not a conversation. It does not allow for a positive channel of communication and creates a hostile environment. Always enter a conversation with an open mind and a listening ear.
2. Pitch and Tone- If I was to come into the office YELLING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, one might assume that I am upset. When I think of pitch and tone, I think of mothers. You can always tell by the tone of your mother’s voice if she is happy or mad. A lot of our feelings are revealed through our voice. Sometimes we can get carried away in the midst of a conversation and our voice begins to increase in volume. It is important to continually do a mental check of your pitch and tone throughout the entire interaction.
3. Verify- Communication is a way to deliver information, how the information is received is up to the listener. What they take from the conversation will be based upon their frame of reference. That is why it is important to make sure you both have a similar understanding. There is a fine line between verifying and being condescending. If you continually ask if they understand you run the risk of making the person feel inferior or less educated. If in doubt, it is okay to ask, but once they say they understand trust them that they do.
4. Listen- When a conversation is one-sided it resembles a monologue rather than a dialogue. It is easy to get carried away and dominate a conversation. I feel that this habit is hardest to break. If you are a conversation hog, my encouragement for you would be simple. Just listen, don’t interrupt, and wait your turn. That way each party has the opportunity to present relevant facts or ideas to the conversation.
5. Be Confident- Confidence in your communication skills is very important and can make or break a conversation. If you don’t know an answer, say you don’t! If you are knowledgeable about the subject, it is okay to share some of it. The balancing act here is that your confidence should come as knowledgeable, not arrogant.
This was also posted at www.echelongroup.com