How to Communicate Effectively at Work

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Whether you're a supervisor overseeing a large staff, an employee working alongside several co-workers or a company representative dealing with clients, effective communication is the best way to complete the job correctly and avoid disputes. Ensure everything is out in the open with these tips.

  • Be completely honest, even if it doesn't paint you in the best light. Let your boss know if you're having problems with a task, if you've made a mistake that may affect the company's bottom line or if you can't resolve a conflict, for example. Trying to cover problems up will only make you look worse in the long run.

  • Make yourself aware of how your approach, tone of voice and mannerisms affect your co-workers. Speaking to people with an irritated or condescending tone of voice or displaying a negative attitude will create an uncomfortable work environment. Ensure your instructions are clear, helpful and upbeat to encourage respect and cooperation.

  • Maintain eye contact with the person to assure them that you're listening attentively. Hear him out completely before formulating an answer. Rephrase what he's said in your answer so he knows that you understood his question or request.

  • Leave a line of communication open so you'll be able to handle problems before they escalate. If you're working with a team, for example, schedule regular progress reports so everyone will be up to date and accountable for their actions. Follow up once you've completed a task to ensure all parties are satisfied.

  • Familiarize yourself with your co-workers' non-verbal signs so you'll be able to tailor your behavior accordingly. Learn to stop asking so many questions when your boss starts flipping through her planner or checking her watch, for example.

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