Ways to Communicate Better with Your Coworkers is key to maintaining positive work relationships. You can improve your relationships with colleagues, family, and friends by practicing these skills on a daily basis. In this article, we will discuss the different types of communication, how to communicate effectively in a working relationship, and the importance of workplace communication.
Consider communication preference
Not everyone likes to communicate the same way. Email works for some, but others would rather pick up the phone and talk, text, or even use social media or instant messaging to relay something. Respect the person you’re trying to contact and use the method she seems to prefer. If you’ve called a client several times and always get her voicemail, but she’s always quick to respond to email, switch to email instead.
Consider your tone
The problem with email and social media is that it can be difficult to determine the tone. You may mean something as a joke, but if it comes off pushy or angry, you could cause an unintended reaction from the recipient. Make sure your language is clear, and if you are angry, take a few minutes to cool down before you type. Better yet, meet in person so nothing is misconstrued.
Don’t be too casual
Getting along with your work colleagues can help you do your job better, but don’t take it too far in your communication on the job. Keep the cursing for after hours, and make sure your emails, meetings, and phone calls are professional. Being too casual on the job may make others feel uncomfortable.
Have you ever been in a meeting that gave meetings a bad name? I’ve seen managers who ramble on seemingly without a clear purpose or desired outcome. On top of that, the leader sounds like he is processing his thoughts aloud, more than he is facilitating a group conversation. No one’s sure what to take seriously as an idea, and what to ignore. And everyone is thinking about the pile of work on their desks. After a while, the team forgets what the point of even talking was and mentally vacates the premises, resigned to checking email on their phones.
Being in the thick of a meeting fail can be a difficult place to ask a boss or colleague to be more effective in his speech. But you can, and you don’t have to be mean about it. Simply interrupt when there’s a pause and ask for clarification.
Pick your moments
This one is so important. Sometimes it’s not how you’re saying it – the problem is when it’s being said. If you’re concerned someone isn’t pulling their weight or making some mistake, raise it directly with them, not in public at the team meeting. Don’t assume the urgent issue you need to resolve right now is someone else’s priority. They have their own urgent issues, so don’t charge at them or send all-CAPS messages demanding a response right now.
Other bad moments? How about the all-hours emails and calls? An “always open” work environment wears people down.
Last, have some empathy for someone who’s stressed out. We all go there. Make some allowances when someone is obviously having a bad day. Even for those who are master communicators – stress can make idiots of us all. So learn when to give someone a break. Give it a rest. Your urgency doesn’t make it their urgency. Let the stressful time pass, and then make your request. You may discover it will happen all that much faster, and with less drama.
Ways to Communicate Better with Your Coworkers: Whenever there’s a miscommunication that’s in the way of progress, address it quickly. Letting it fester doesn’t make future communications any easier.
Always be the first to admit whenever you’ve made a mistake. Apologize sincerely. Fix the mistake as best you can. By the same token, if someone else makes a mistake, don’t rub it in. Be gracious. Learn to forgive. Because holding on to anger only hurts you — not them.
Pay attention to nonverbal messages
When you are having a face-to-face discussion with a coworker, pay attention to any nonverbal messages. For example, if your coworker’s arms are relaxed and open, they are ready to listen. If your coworker is making eye contact, they are ready to focus and hear what you have to say. It is also a good idea to be aware of your own nonverbal messages during a face-to-face conversation with a coworker. Try to keep a neutral body posture and tone of voice and make eye contact throughout the conversation.