The morning newspaper, the giant billboard on your drive to work, the elevator warning sound byte and the endless other messages you receive via
different mediums, all inherently have the same objective – communicating a message. And if there’s one thing you’ve noticed, it is that, the simpler the communication, the more meaningful and clear the message is. So why is it so important for us to incorporate this very principle in our own professional and personal lives?
One major cause could be rooted in our mentality, which is that we, as senders of messages, seldom take that “extra” effort to ensure that the receiver has comprehended our message; this is especially seen in Indian organizations. This particular social behavior can be identified as one of the biggest disadvantages of the Indian workforce. However, in recent times, with the emergence of startup companies, we as professionals have begun to realize just how important a clean and clear communication cycle is, to smoothly run a productive organization.
So let us look at some key areas where good communication skills can increase productivity and might even lead to a promotion.
Less is always more
“No one ever complains about a speech being too short”, this phrase rightly encapsulated how communication must be crafted in order to retain its message. From projects and proposals to presentations, keep them crisp and concise. For example, ensure your emails have a subject that conveys its objective in only a few words. Avoid long paragraphs and include sub-headings and points in all of your documents. Improving and refining your vocabulary is a great way to become a better communicator but stay away from flowery adjectives. Instead, try to communicate with evocative descriptions, real life examples, facts and figures.
To listen is to learn
The ability to listen and give your attention is just as important, if not more, to your communication practice. Often you may disagree, have an inquiry or want to offer your perspective, but be patient, listen and let your partner finish. This not only allows you to under his or her point of view but also gives them a sense of the polite and understanding communicator that you are. You must make the effort to hold everyone’s opinion with equal regard. Especially if you are in a team, encourage a response from every member, including the quiet ones, because every input can add value.
Prepare, practice and present
Whether it is a team meeting, a client pitch or a quarterly review, you are required to make presentations all year round. Here, factors you must consider before you build your presentation is the objective, the context and the response that is needed. This may not seem like an easy task at first, as it requires hours of research, the ability to visualize, anticipating multiple hypothetical outcomes and good speaking & soft skills. In addition to practicing these particular skills, they can also be developed by listening to speakers you admire, observing and identifying good presentation practices and being more organized with your own work.
New to networking?
This term has been thrown around a lot, especially in the last year, and most of us are not sure how to begin. Don’t fret, networking is just a means by which you interact with other professionals who have the potential to do productive work with you. This could also include close friends who work in different areas with whom you could collaborate with. By allowing your contact base to develop, one could say that networking will form a strong foundation, which will help your career bloom. Updating your social media profiles, following and contacting reputed professionals in your field and in turn gaining followers are a few of the steps that you could use to begin your networking journey.
The truth might hurt but it won’t kill you
Honesty is what differentiates good communicators from great communicators. There is no shame in admitting that you don’t know the answer to a certain question. But ensure your follow-up is finding out and getting back. Whether it is giving feedback or disclosing the result of a particular project, even if it leads to unfavorable circumstances avoid tampering, as it will always find its way back. Trust is a great quality that is not acquired easily. Once you’ve managed to gain this reputation for yourself it can be useful in more ways than you realize.
Apart from helping you become more organized, good communication can also improve your confidence and esteem. You should also be aware that being open-minded and considering different perspectives are equally important to develop your skills holistically. Take into account the tone, context and effects of your communication in order to develop an appropriate message but remember that a pleasant conversation or a good word at the end can do wonders for morale. Communicate with all of your colleagues with the same level of respect and you might develop the capability to inspire and influence the work environment around you.