Having professional communication skills is non-negotiable in the workplace. Every job requires interactions among people; whether it is with your superiors, colleagues, juniors, or clients. The need for the development of strong communication skills arises to help in facilitating interactions that are necessary for peaceful coexistence.
Professional communication skills will help you and members of your workplace to interact effectively while promoting progress, teamwork, and efficiency. Strong communication is the key to maintain strong work relationships. Contrarily, if the professional communication skills are not adequate within a workplace, it could lead to chaos and lack of motivation among the workforce. In this article, we are going to help you with everything you need to know about professional communication skills in your workplace.
Before we expound on the professional communication skills for work, let’s go on to define effective communication.
What Is Effective Communication?
When you engage in the discussion, consider and listen attentively to the other person, you are said to communicate effectively. Effective communication involves taking your time to ask questions to gain clarification, respond accordingly, and get involved in the interactions. During interactions in your workplace, you speak in a clear, confident, and polite manner.
Communication is among the soft skills you must possess because they are necessary for career advancement. The leaders in an organization are usually the best communicators. That is to say that possessing professional communication skills is as important as your technical skills.
Professional Communication Skills for Success
Knowing the right skills for effective communication will help you to communicate successfully with everyone at work. Here are the top five professional communication skills you must possess to become successful at the workplace:
1. Active Listening
As an effective communicator, you must develop active listening skills. This, you do by paying close attention to others, asking clear and concise questions, and indicating interest and understanding in what the other person says. Thus, you would build a healthy relationship with the person and enjoy mutual respect.
Developing active listening means that your attention is focused away from you towards the other person. As such, understanding what that person is saying precedes trying to get your voice heard.
2. Understanding the communication styles
There are four major styles of communication that people possess and you are likely to encounter them at work. They include:
- Assertive communication: if you are assertive in your communication, you are usually clear and direct while expressing yourself. There is no need to beat around the bush when you are communicating. Therefore, the other person does not find it difficult to understand you.
- Passive communication: if you are a passive communicator, you will discover that you are somewhat quiet and hardly express your true feelings. You will find yourself agreeing to a discussion, even when you tend not to understand what was communicated to you. The reason for this is just to keep the peace or mere disinterest in the overall discussion.
- Aggressive communication: just as the name sounds, aggressive communicators express themselves just the opposite of passive communicators. They hardly consider other people’s feelings before expressing themselves. They are blunt in their speech, not minding if the words could hurt the other person. Thus, they can be rude and intimidating while carrying out interactions with other people. As a result, the coworkers could try to avoid them, just for the sake of peace.
- Passive-aggressive communication: if you are a passive-aggressive communicator, you are always cold and unfriendly, even when you are upset. The reason is not far-fetched. You do not welcome confrontations, and so, it may be difficult for others to clearly understand you.
For you to communicate well, you must understand your communication style. The aim is to help you adjust positively if you lack assertiveness in your communication.
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It is not always easy to persuade others to do what is required of them. That is why persuasion is one of the key professional communication skills you must possess at work. If you demonstrate adept persuasive skills, you may find yourself being in the right standing with your employer. Hence, productivity is increased. Persuasive skills involve your ability to convince others to complete the desired action or behave in a particular way in order to achieve an impact.
With persuasive skills, you will be able to influence others in attitude or behavior. Strong persuasive skills in a professional setting you to have a profound awareness of your audience and what they need. Even if you cannot fully convince them, you can reach a common ground where it is a win-win for everyone.
4. Clarity and Concision
good verbal communication involves just being as clear and concise as possible. As you inculcate your professional communication skills, you must learn to convey your message in a few words, while going straight to the point. This could be over the phone, in person, or through email. Better still, think about what you want to say and how to say it before commencing the discussions.
Professional communication skills involve being confident in your interactions with others. Being confident in your speech shows your coworkers that you believe in what you are saying and will not fail. Projecting confidence could be in form of eye contact, good body posture, firm but friendly tone, avoiding making statements that sound like questions, trying not to sound arrogant or aggressive, etc. above all, you must listen with empathy and see things from the other person’s point of view.
Other professional communication skills you need include empathy, respect, open-mindedness, feedback, non-verbal communication, conveying through the appropriate medium, etc.
Strategies To Improve Communication Skills At Work
Any field you find yourself in, whether information technology, business, engineering, etc., you must strive to improve your professional communication skills.
According to the Carnegie Institute of Financial Success, 85% of financial success for any firm comes from the person’s ability to communicate effectively, negotiate and lead, whereas just 15% comes from technical skills or knowledge of the job. Below are proven ways to improve your communication skills:
1. Learn how to listen attentively
It is not enough to listen; you must pay full attention to your coworker. Therefore, you must involve non-verbal communication skills in your personal or professional life. Your body language is accountable for 55% of how your co-interactor views you. When you listen attentively, you easily grip what the other person is saying. Drop every other thing and listen to the other person. Before asking questions or offering suggestions, make sure you absorb the message well.
2. Spice up your presentation
It is quite possible to ignore your speaking skills until you find yourself in front of your audience. You do not just climb a podium to the crowd, there should be some level of rehearsals. The essence is to perk up your speaking skills to avoid slipping up at the podium.
Do not just rely on slides, practice in front of some trusted coworkers (or family and friends, as the case may be). Mastering the art of speaking from person to person and opposite a small gathering will skill up your confidence. Request genuine feedback and work on yourself by eliminating things like distractions and speaking with a lack of clarity and convictions.
3. Write more emails effectively
Email is the most extensively used professional communication at work, according to Forbes. Employees spend several hours sending and receiving emails in a day. As a result, when the email is poorly written, it could be unclear and misleading, thereby, rendering ineffective the aim of the communication.
Hence, check for spellings, arrangement of sentences, and possible mistakes before hitting the ‘send’ button. Never be in a hurry as that would reduce professionalism. Learn to proofread and edit for clarity and understanding. It is better to send messages with fewer words than writing incoherent words and causing confusion at the other end. What’s more, if you need to speak in person, rather than sending emails, never ignore that.
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4. Master the skills of phone conversations
Making phone calls is no longer the only criterion for having phones. So many things take place through the phone, like interviews, conferences, etc. You wouldn’t want to misfire when talking over the phone, would you? Your ability to handle phone conversations is an important aspect of professional communication skills. Because the other person cannot see you to read your body language or see your emoji, you must ensure to effectively pass the information. Tell your story with respect and be courteous in your tone of voice because that is the only avenue to get the proper information across.
5. Work well with remote teams
Since the pandemic, so many employees have found themselves working remotely. One of the greatest drivers of revolution in the workplace is remote work. So, telecommunication and virtual teams are part of the job in this innovative era. For that reason, brushing up your professional communication skills to accommodate this revolution is a way of making yourself relevant at work.
6. Remember your software skills
It is not enough to communicate effectively; always strive to do more. You must not be a software developer before you can know how to use some simple computer tools. You should learn how to create presentations, documents, and infographics using Microsoft Office programs. Once you can use these tools, chances are your employee would always choose you over your competitor. However, it might take you some efforts and money to learn. Remember that no knowledge is a waste.
7. Include everyone
Everyone is important in the decision-making process of the organization. Leave the communication lines open. Look for and actively promote progress reports and project updates.
Importance of Professional Communication Skills
For organizations to operate effectively, workers need to improve their communication skills. It enhances productivity and efficiency. If you communicate effectively with your colleagues, managers, and clients, you will continue to be an asset to the organization. Invariably, having poor communication skills will lead to a lack of motivation, confidence, and zeal to work. This will, ultimately, affect your inputs at work. Therefore, it is great to know the importance of having professional communication skills. Below are some reasons to have just that:
If you can express your ideas with confidence and without bias, it means you are doing well. Here, you are to present your ideas without fear, derision, or reprisal. This is where innovation comes in. If you promote professional communication at work, you are more likely to become innovative.
2. Effective Communication
With effective communication, you can manage your team well. it is very much easy to delegate tasks, handle conflicts, motivate the team and build solid relationships at work when you communicate effectively. It is not enough to talk to people, try to offer opportunities for them to express themselves. It gives them a sense of belonging while elevating their confidence level. In the end, company growth is inevitable.
The success and growth of an organization rely heavily on the professional communication skills of its employees. whether communicating internally among the coworkers or externally with other forces outside the work environment, it is important to communicate effectively by projecting well the organization.
4. Effective team
Building a team that works effectively is not possible if professional communication skills are lacking. You need to implement effective strategies to enable you to increase the morale of the team and offer them satisfaction. Thus, you must not joke with excellent communication skills.
5. Offering everyone equal opportunities to express themselves
You cannot effectively manage your team if you cannot give everyone equal opportunities to be heard. Having a voice creates employee satisfaction. Do they want to make a complaint or suggestion or even ask a question? Do not hush them to silence. Give them the platform to communicate freely with everyone.
Professional communication skills are relevant to your growth as an employee. Your success depends on them. Therefore, do whatever you can to skill up your game.