Relationships in the workplace can easily be set askew by miscommunication. By limiting miscommunications, you can also limit their impact. However, limiting miscommunications can be quite tricky. Differences in cultures, traditions and personal experiences all play a role in how we send and receive communication.
Advancing a team to be even more open, respectful and engaging can feel complicated at first, but there are a few things you can do today to communicate effectively with more than just your words.
When in a conversation or meeting, set an intention for yourself to listen and understand instead of immediately responding. This can greatly improve the dialogue and ultimately the relationship. By going into a conversation ready to actively listen instead of jumping to a response, the tone of the conversation typically shifts to a much more respectful interaction.
Take the time to understand on the agendas of others. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate or share your ideas; instead it will help you to be more open to new and different perspectives.
Focus on the Speaker
We’ve all heard the old “rule” that communication is 7% words used, 38% tone of voice and 55% body language.
What is your body language telling the speaker? Are you making eye contact? Actively taking notes? Offering encouraging nods of understanding? Sharing verbal cues of active listening?
Try making eye contact, taking notes, and showing the speaker that you’re paying attention with your body language. This shows the speaker you are listening and respecting the time and thought they’ve invested.
It may seem obvious, but letting people finish their thought(s) allows them to express themselves more fully. It also limits the risk of others feeling ignored or unappreciated.
When you take your time before responding, it also gives you the opportunity to fully process what’s been said and be more thoughtful in your response.
Once you’ve heard the speaker, rephrasing the points to the speaker helps ensure your understanding and confirms to the speaker that you value their insights and perspective enough to pay attention. Phrases like “I really connected when you said…” can help begin the conversation.
Asking questions is another valuable tool to extend the conversation and allow the opportunity for others to contribute their insights.
Once you’ve set your intentions, focused, stopped talking and engaged the speaker, effective communication can increase your team’s trust, respect and understanding of each other.
Effectively communicating doesn’t always involve words. Remembering to put your mobile device down during a discussion and shifting your focus to the conversation are simple things you can do to show your team that you value their insights.
To become a more successful team, strengthen your communication.
If you or your team could use some help advancing communication styles, ECC can help. Give us a call at +1.847.920.0190.