Effective communication skills in the workplace can mean a great deal when it comes to performance reviews, merit increases, bonuses and promotions. Strong communication skills are paramount in the workplace where it is important to communicate effectively to get your point across. Strong communication skills will also enhance your colleagues' perception of you.
When you attend meetings in person, don't dominate the topic. Make sure you use active listening skills and really hear what other people may be saying. Don't interrupt or berate co-workers. If you are leading a meeting, don't allow others to get off-point. Lead them back to the topic at hand gently and efficiently. You will be perceived as an effective leader this way. Watch your body language in meetings too. Don't slouch in your chair or stare off into space. Even if you are listening, you will appear to be distracted or disinterested, and that is a bad career move. Don't fidget constantly either. Periodically throughout meetings, take note of how you are sitting in your chair. Sit up straight and maintain good posture. Use well-modulated voice tones. Make eye contact when listening, be respectful of other people's opinions and thank them for a job well done.
When attending remote meetings via conference calls or webinars, remember that communication rules apply there as well. Be respectful of others and do not interrupt or shout to get your point across. If you must speak to someone outside of the call, press the mute button so callers do not have to listen to secondary conversations. If you must leave a webinar, click on the button on the screen that notifies other participants that you are temporarily away. That will keep them from trying to talk to you while you're gone.
Make sure your emails are polished and professional. Use proper grammar and always do a spell check. Do not over-do it with emoticons. Some experts recommend not using them at all. Do not use all capital letters as it will give the appearance that you're shouting. Do not use too many exclamation points or other punctuation.
Be careful who you copy on emails at work. Hitting "Reply All" sends your comments to every person on the email. Use BCC or blind carbon copy if you want to copy another person on your email without anyone else knowing. Think twice before sending heated emails and re-read your emails before hitting the send button. Think about the ways your message can be construed by others. Stick to polite, professional verbiage.
When dealing with customers or the public on the telephone, use professional manners. Speak in well-modulated tones and be careful not to speak too fast. Slow down so others can hear and comprehend what you are saying.
Be mindful of others around you when you talk on the phone. Do not shout into the phone. The listener can hear you without your having to speak at the top of your lungs. If you are discussing personal business, step away from your workspace if others are nearby listening. You probably won't want to divulge personal business to the whole company. And keep personal calls brief. Nothing screams "Unprofessional!" more than someone who is constantly on the phone chatting with friends or family.
Conversations with Others
When you are talking with others in person in casual conversations or in one-on-one meetings, be respectful of space perimeters. Also, watch your body language. Maintain eye contact with the listener and don't look away or otherwise appear disinterested when they are speaking with you. Avoid heated conversations especially in public at work.