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Mastering Communication Skills for Successful Professional Relationships

According to studies, 70% of global employers consider communication the most desired skill they look for when hiring someone for their organization.

Yet it remains a grossly underrated competence that many employees pay little attention to sharpening.

Effective communication is a key driver of career success, particularly when building professional relationships. In this article, we examine why this is and how you can make it an important part of your skill repertoire.

Communication Skills at the Workplace: Why It Matters

Communication in a work environment can be just as complex as in your personal life. It will involve various goals, messages, stakeholders, contexts, and emotions, each different from the next.

Your relationships with clients, employees, bosses, coworkers, suppliers, and business partners could all depend on how well you communicate, whether verbally, non-verbally, in writing, or using visual mediums.

Conveying your message at the right time, in the correct context, and in the most effective manner is critical when giving feedback to employees, resolving conflict within a team, pitching a product solution to customers, negotiating with suppliers, presenting a new concept to the board, and many other instances in your career.

Strong communication skills help you avoid misunderstandings and conflict, build trust and confidence, and develop stronger relationships pivotal for professional success.

Tips for Mastering Communication Skills for Successful Professional Relationships

How can you become a proficient communicator to strengthen your work relationships?

Here’s what we suggest.

Become a Good Listener

Active and mindful listening is essential for several reasons.

It allows you to understand the points of view and perspectives of others, ensure you have accurately grasped what is conveyed, and identify non-verbal cues that could provide better context to what is communicated verbally.

This is vital for tailoring your responses to match different communication styles and responding in a more effective and meaningful manner.

Asking questions, paraphrasing, summarizing, and taking a genuine interest in what others are saying are useful practices to adopt when listening.

Prepare Ahead

With adequate pre-preparation, you can significantly improve how you communicate in high-stakes situations.

For instance, by learning more about a potential client or an investor before meeting them for the first time, you can prepare a few icebreakers to start the conversation on a positive note and build rapport faster. Nuwber is an excellent resource in such instances for discovering someone’s personal and professional interests and other useful information.

Advance research could also help you familiarize yourself with the environment and context in which communication will take place. This can be especially invaluable when dealing with people in foreign markets.

Even in regular communications, this practice enables you to learn basic courtesies essential for nurturing relationships.

Focus on Body Language

Your behavioral cues are a crucial part of how you communicate in a professional setting. A smile, relaxed posture, eye contact, and open hands can all make you look confident, approachable, and sincere.

Pay Attention to Detail

Unlike spoken communication, written messages, such as emails, SMSs, and reports, are quotable more easily. So, paying attention to these is necessary for avoiding costly errors that could potentially deteriorate your work relationships.

For example,

  • Always read the message twice and check the spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Simple slips in these could distort the meaning or create a bad impression.
  • Keep the message clear, concise, and to the point to retain attention and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Pay heed to the tone of language, which should change based on the context and the person you are dealing with.

Familiarize Yourself With Technology

Today, technology plays a pivotal part in professional communication. It allows you to communicate better, faster, and more seamlessly.

However, you must first learn how tech tools and features work to make effective use of them.

Take emails, for instance. Many people apply spam filters to block unnecessary emails and save time. As a result, there is a good chance your message might not end up in the receiver’s inbox if you don’t use a professional email address or include spam-related words in your subject line.

Simple mistakes like these could lead to a breakdown in communication and misunderstandings. However, by familiarizing yourself with tech tools, you can avoid such mishaps and use them for seamless interactions.

Choose the Right Medium

Not all modes of communication will fit every situation and context. The same medium could improve your message delivery in one instance while deteriorating it in another.

So, selecting a suitable medium when communicating with someone is a must for achieving the desired outcome.

For instance, face-to-face communication is always best for minimizing room for assumptions in high-stakes and sensitive situations.

Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, are ideal for less important and short messages. Emails, on the other hand, can provide better context while putting things on record. However, you must keep them concise and ensure clarity in your message.

Avoiding over-communication is another factor to remember. If you start communicating on several mediums, people can often get overwhelmed and confused.

So, select a handful of methods and stick to them without getting carried away with every trending communication platform.

Be Mindful of Emotional States

Emotional states of both yours and others can influence how you communicate and the message is understood.

Therefore, avoid communication when you are emotionally charged. For instance, delay responding to emails or texts and take time out before continuing with conversations.

Similarly, if the person you are liaising with seems engulfed in emotions for whatever reason, give them some time to recover and regain composure.

Seek Professional Support

Professional workshops and coaches are valuable resources for elevating your communication skills. They can help assess your current competence level, identify gaps, and set goals.

Communication experts can also provide objective feedback and hold you accountable for following through with the agreed skill development program.

Such professional support can be useful for enhancing your overall skills as well as seeking guidance for specific needs, such as public speaking and assertive communication.

To Conclude

Mastering communication skills is vital for building and nurturing any type of relationship, including professional ones.

Active listening, pre-preparation, and body language are important aspects to focus on in this regard. Paying attention to detail, familiarizing yourself with tech tools, selecting the right mediums, being mindful of emotional states, and seeking professional support are other critical factors for effective communication at work.

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