Whether you serve in an entry-level position or fill the shoes of CEO with your organization, you need strong communication skills to successfully navigate the dynamic and even messy process of communication in a business environment. The cohesiveness of your organization's staff and the effectiveness of your company's relationship with customers, clients and contractors all hinge on communication, as does the company's overall profitability and longevity.
Communication in the workplace is unavoidable. Everything from your dress and posture to your facial expressions and nonverbal gestures communicate in some way to those around you. For example, failing to show up to a work-related event or leaving the room during a meeting can suggest meaning to your coworkers. By developing communication skills, you will be better equipped to be purposeful and proactive about the messages that you do communicate in business environments.
Communication operates on a number of levels. When you communicate, you seek to provide information about a chosen topic. At the same time, though, you also communicate relational messages, such as whether or not you like or respect the person with whom you are communicating. Developing strong communication skills enables you to communicate information as well as relational meaning in effective ways. For example, learning active listening skills can help you to communicate respect and regard to others.
Communication carries a high degree of permanency. Even verbal messages can be long remembered and recorded in the memories of coworkers and peers. You may find yourself making comments or remarks in certain situations that you later regret. For example, in the midst of an argument, you might find yourself criticizing another person in a way that you would not normally do. Improving your communication skills can help you to avoid awkward situations as well as permanent rifts in your working relationships.
Communication often functions as an ongoing process instead of a one-time, isolated event. Messages will always reflect previous communication and interactions between those involved. For example, if you want to ask your boss for a raise, understanding communication as an ongoing process can help you to determine the best method for requesting the pay increase and ensuring some degree of success. As you learn about effective communication, you will better understand the various aspects of sending and receiving a message with another person.
Communication does have its limitations. Developing effective communication skills will help you to better understand the challenges involved with communicating in business environments. Sometimes you may be communicating with another individual who does not have strong communication skills. At other times, though, you may find that you perfectly understand the other person and yet still cannot come to a place of agreement. Understanding the limitations of communication can help you to navigate those limitations more effectively.
- "Communicating at Work: Principles and Practices for Business and the Professions"; Ronald B. Adler, et al.; 2005
- "Strategic Communication in Business and the Professions"; Dan O'Hair, et al.; 2008
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