(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Advisor, OSU South Centers)
Effective communication is essential for both organizations and employees to thrive. College lays out several guidelines you can apply for better communications.
- Communicate face-to-face. Digital communication tools such as email and texts have become embedded in most businesses, but they have their downsides. Think about it—when you’re engaging in an in-person conversation, much of the communication comes from nonverbal cues like smiles and gestures. The absence of such cues can make it difficult to decipher the intended meaning in an email, so communicate in person if you can.
- Provide clear information. Much of workplace communication involves the passing of information, and inaccurate or ambiguous information can lead to confusion and mistakes. Take the time to ensure you are conveying correct information and in the right amount—neither too much nor too little.
- Use both verbal and nonverbal communication. Your verbal and nonverbal messages should correspond. Make sure your nonverbal gestures jibe with your words, and provide nonverbal feedback such as nodding when listening to the other person.
- Don’t just hear—listen. In other words, pay attention. To train yourself to listen better, paraphrase what you heard to show you’re listening and verify accuracy.
- Exercise diplomacy. If you think someone has misunderstood you, follow up with him or her promptly to preempt unnecessary resentment and loss of productivity. When handling conflicts, respond with an open mind and don’t resort to personal attacks.
- Avoid gossip. You must refrain from engaging when others gossip. Smile, and get back to work as quickly as possibly. You’ll earn your coworkers’ respect and gain credibility.
- Keep some boundaries. Don’t share too much personal information with your coworkers. You can be friendly while still being professional. You also should strive to control your emotions around colleagues to avoid creating a negative impression or making them wary of interacting with you.
- Avoid controversial topics. Similarly, you shouldn’t discuss controversial topics such as politics or religion in the workplace. You don’t want to risk offending anyone you see almost every day.
- Give positive feedback. Don’t be shy about recognizing your colleagues’ achievements. If a coworker does a good job, tell him or her.