Top 10 Communication Skills in the Workplace
Every business needs leaders who have the right written, non-verbal and verbal communication skills to share differing types of information with employees. Possessing all these skills is not easy, and it is common place for highly technical or shy managers to struggle at first, but in time confidence will grow and their communication skills will improve.
Here is our list of top ten communications skills in the workplace aimed at maximising motivation, team building and collaboration so that your business can drive its employee’s performance.
Great communicators are often accomplished listeners. All employees like to be heard because it makes them feel valued, so look for ways to ensure that your business proactively promotes a listening culture amongst your communications leads, which might include executives, managers or team leads.
- Direct eye contact
Effective communicators are able to look directly at co-workers whilst discussing an issue or project. Eye contact is important in terms of non-verbal communication because it demonstrates a high level of focus on an employee, helping to facilitate team work, good relations and collaboration.
- Open body language
Using open hand gestures is a great communication skill which makes leaders come across as approachable to employees. It’s not always easy to communicate in this manner, but it’s a brilliant way of getting the trust and motivational of your team!
If your communication leads do not convey confidence in their speech and non-verbal communications it will be hard for their colleagues to have confidence in them. A recommended approach to communicating with confidence is, again, using direct eye contact whilst also speaking clearly with authority (without an overbearing tone).
- Show understanding
Always listen to your employee’s point of view and resist making dismissive comments out of hand. It’s not easy to agree with co-workers all the time but leaders who fail to show understanding in their communication skills are at risk of undermining and demotivating staff – leading to unproductiveness and hostilities in the workplace.
- Give feedback
Focus on having a strong feedback culture in your business. Being able to give and receive feedback within the workplace is a very important communication skill when it comes to maintaining open and trustworthy relationships, and will help to drive performance in your business. Feedback can either be praise, or a concern about employee performance, but it is good to offer it quickly and fairly on a regular basis to avoid misunderstandings and to keep employees on track.
- Focus on performance, and not personalities
If you need to discuss a performance issue within a team in your business, it is important that your business has the communication skills to offer practical solutions and that leaders do not attack personalities or relay blame. If you take this approach you will be less likely to lose trust and confidence within your teams, and may find a workable route out of the situation.
- Ability to manage generational differences
Leaders increasingly need the communication skills to talk to employees with a variety of experiences and perspectives based on age. It’s important that businesses have communicators who can talk to baby boomers and millennials who, according to recent research, can vary from being naturally collaborative to having reserved characters at work. You can read Robert Half Managements research here.
- Schedule regular individual meetings
You will have better and more open communication with your employees if you have regular 1-1 meetings with them. Emails and other forms of written communication can, at times, lead to confusion and can be ineffective in encouraging collaboration so try and speak to your employees directly as much as possible.
- Provide employees with clear assignments and briefs
If your leaders don’t have the communication skills to provide employees with a clear written or verbal brief before they start a project, you are risking them making a mistake or misunderstanding what is expected of them which can be detrimental to the performance of your business.
Useful links and resources
Robert Half Management Resources - Get ready for generation Z
Business News Daily – 5 people Skills You Need to Succeed in Any Career
The Globe and Mail - LinkedIn VP: Employees with soft skills are key to success
The HR Digest - Tips For Effective Workplace Communication
Look for opportunities to take part in role plays on a training course. If you are struggling with good communication at work you will greatly benefit from practising difficult conversations in a safe training environment.