Communication is hugely important, we are constantly communicating, whether we realize it or not. It can also be one of the trickiest things to maneuver. Communication is said to be 30% verbal (words & tone) and 70% body language. This makes it even harder to navigate in today’s world of email, text and phone calls. So what can we do, specifically in the workplace, to be as effective as possible with our communication? The mind map below shows some key factors:
Understanding & Minimizing Barriers
There are many communication barriers that we each face on a daily basis, they can vary from things like language to location. We are not always so fortunate to be in communication with someone who speaks our same language, so what do we do? Taking advantage of email and the internet, we can use one of many translation tools at our disposal.
- Google Translate: Free & convenient. This tool not only gives you the option to choose from over 80 languages, it also gives you the option to “detect language” in case you are not 100% sure which language you are dealing with!
- BabelFish: Free service, 15 languages. BabelFish also gives you a list of “Most Popular” translations.
- FreeTranslation.com: As stated in the name, another free tool providing you with 35 languages for translation. This services gives you the ability to upload a document, such as a Word Doc or PDF for easy translation.
If you are working close with international clients or colleagues it is absolutely necessary to know what day/time it is where they are located so you don’t call their cell phone at 3am on a Saturday! Of course you can always google “current time in (X-location)” but if you are dealing with multiple people in multiple locations & time zones that becomes hard to organize. Timeanddate.com is a wonderful resource to organize meeting or call times. Their “International Meeting Planner” in their “Time Zones” section allows you to enter your time zone and up to 11 other locations a date and it will generate a table showing you every hour of the day, making it easy to find a time that suits everyone.
Be Clear & Concise
This not only saves you time, but saves the recipient times as well. There is nothing worse than getting an email that is 3 pages long. Unless each sentence of that 3 pages is filled with vitally important information, it is a safe bet that nobody is going to read it and furthermore, they will be less likely to take you future email seriously. Show people that you respect their time and cut to the chase. Which ties me into my next point, use visuals whenever possible! This not only ensures that you are only conveying essential information, it also make that information easier to digest. Sending out sales data in text form is boring and makes the information difficult to retain. Visually representing the data makes the reader more engaged and takes less to interpret.
Leave Emotions Out of It
Especially when it comes to email, text or any type of nonverbal communication. It is so easy for an email to be misunderstood, its always best to attempt to give your email a positive tone so that there is no confusion. Negative emotions like: anger, disappointment, resentment etc. can quickly spread like a disease through the work place. When your negative emotions show through your communications, this can not only bring down people around you, it can make you look bad and even isolate you.
Try some of these simple tips to avoid a workplace meltdown:
- Do not yell, or TYPE IN ALL CAPS! – being aggressive will only escalate the situation, which is exactly what you want to avoid. It is a better idea to speak as calmly as possible, which will not just calm you down but also start to diffuse the situation.
- Confirm your understanding– sometimes we get so inside our own heads and what we thought we heard is not what was said at all, or… maybe it is. Either way, confirming that you are fully understanding what is being said is a good place to start, if you do not agree give a possible new path forward and hopefully you can find some common ground.
- Be Positive- bottom line is “it takes two to tango” if you don’t feed in and you stay positive, there will be no argument.
When you feel those emotions coming, take a deep breath and smile on, you can vent after work!