In our largely remote and hybrid work environments, good communication skills are some of the most crucial to master for both individual contributors and leaders alike. Regardless of the medium – social media, instant messaging, or phone calls – effective communication is essential to success at work and in life.
Listening is one of the most essential skills in phone conversations. With it, messages can be understood, a significant business problem. It can cause misunderstandings and costly errors, including missed deadlines, inaccurate estimates, and incorrect orders.
To improve your listening skills, avoid interrupting the speaker or planning your response while they are talking. Instead, concentrate on comprehending what they are saying and rephrasing it to them mentally. It can also help to write down what they are telling you so that you can check later to ensure that you have interpreted it correctly.
Another way to improve your listening is by asking questions. It demonstrates that you are interested in what they are saying and will often encourage them to continue discussing their idea.
Moreover, active listening is essential to effective communication, and it is one of the soft skills that top employers look for on resumes. It shows that you are dedicated to fostering transparent and collaborative communication in the workplace, and it can enhance your reputation as an employee by making others feel heard and valued. It can also reduce confusion and misunderstandings, which benefits personal and professional relationships.
Listening actively, rather than passively or distractedly, is an essential soft skill that helps you to build trust and respect in your workplace relationships. It encourages you to understand and appreciate the perspectives of those around you, which can help you resolve issues, make better decisions, and drive a successful team or organization forward.
Active listening involves paying close attention to what is being said by the person you are talking to and demonstrating that you are genuinely engaged in the conversation. It can include maintaining eye contact, nodding occasionally, and offering verbal comments like “yes” or “huh” as appropriate. It also requires patience, as you must give the speaker time to complete their thoughts and not rush them by filling in gaps with your stories or trying to finish their sentences.
It’s also helpful to look at the other person’s body language, as this can indicate whether or not they are actively listening. For example, the attentive listener will avoid looking at their watch or a colleague’s shoulder, fidgeting, or showing signs of boredom or impatience. They will also attempt to mirror the other speaker’s facial expressions, as this can demonstrate empathy and sympathy in more emotional conversations. However, it is essential to note that attempting to mimic expressions can be misleading and should be avoided in most situations.
Verbal skills are the foundation of communication. Whether speaking during presentations, discussing ideas with coworkers over the phone or in person, or addressing an issue with your manager, verbal communication is essential to professional success and building strong working relationships.
It’s almost a cliche to say that personal relationships depend on good communication, but it’s true. A lack of communication has been blamed for countless break-ups, and the ability to verbally convey one’s thoughts and feelings is vital in the workplace to collaborate with colleagues, clients, and customers.
Strong interpersonal communication skills can increase job satisfaction and help people negotiate for pay raises and promotions. It can also make asking for feedback easier and work effectively with remote employees or managers.
The key to effective communication is being clear and concise. To become a more confident communicator, try recording yourself and listening back to see for any areas where you might use too many filler words or not speak enough. It can also help to practice your presentation and speaking skills in front of a mirror. You can then improve your clarity and inflection, as well as the rhythm of your speech.
My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and career blog by Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.