6 Quick Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills at Work
Communication in the workplace is critical! Whether you’re leading an enterprise or doing all the grunt work, these tips will help you improve your communication skills at work.
1. Spend time alone, just thinking.
Does it seem strange that the first step to improving your communication skills at work is to stop talking?
Only with inspection can anything be improved. So, spend time alone, thinking about what you're doing. What’s going well at work? How could you communicate better in certain situations?
When you were in school, you were graded on how you performed, and that grade provided a benchmark. Grade your own ability to communicate so that you know what you do well, and where you need to improve.
No matter how good your communication skills are, we all need to continually check ourselves, because we can all be better. But don't forget to praise yourself when you've done well. No one grows without encouragement!
To improve your communication skills at work, spend time alone thinking about what you do well and what you could do better.
2. Focus on who you’re speaking with.
You probably know how to appeal to the people around you. You know what they like and dislike, how they learn, and so forth. Whether or not you agree with their preferences, lean into the skid!
Use this knowledge as a mental fact sheet when communicating with them. Appeal to each person in their own tongue as much as possible.
Here's a simple way to think about it. Whenever you’re communicating with someone, you’re selling to them. When selling, you want the person to buy, so you appeal to that individual's pain points and priorities.
You already know what appeals to those close to you, so “sell them” accordingly.
To improve your communication skills at work, speak with each person how you know they'll be most receptive.
3. Express your edited thoughts.
If you think somebody’s wrong, tell them. If you think somebody’s right or has done well, praise them! Or if you think you could offer more, share it.
To be a better communicator, it helps to actually communicate, and to do so regularly. Say what you think and feel - but only share what you’ve already processed.
You wouldn’t submit the first draft of an article for publication, so why would you speak your raw thoughts to those (likely) most important to your success?
On the other hand, why wouldn’t you share your thoughts with those closest to you, who are most influential to your success?
Be patient to speak, but be intentional when you do.
To improve your communication skills at work, constructively express your thoughts and ideas with those around you.
4. Read high quality articles and books.
The old adage holds true. You put out what you take in. If you want to improve your communication skills at work, learn from the best!
When you walk into Barnes & Noble, for example, you’re immediately surrounded by hundreds of the world’s best communicators. Between the authors, publishers, and teams of editors, nearly every book has gone through dozens of revisions by the best in the business!
The more you read - whether books or blogs or anything else - the more your communications will reflect what you’ve read. So choose your favorite subjects, and take time to read the best sources on those topics.
To improve your communication skills at work, read more high quality articles and books.
5. Write out what you want to say before you say it.
Like waiting for concrete to harden, when we take the time to let our thoughts fully process, we construct better conversations.
Writing out your thoughts by hand forces you to slow down. It helps you better process what you're really trying to say. It also allows you to see what you've been thinking.
Writing is important, because it trains you to think with more clarity. You will naturally spend more time constructing what you say, and you will inevitably edit your thoughts more thoroughly before anyone hears them.
Now when you share these thoughts with your co-workers and colleagues, you'll be able to get your message across more clearly, because you've already practiced it!
To improve your communication skills at work, write out your thoughts before sharing them.
6. Practice saying more with less by texting.
Key to being an effective communicator is being both clear and concise. By communicating through text, you give yourself minimal room to work with, and force yourself to become more concise.
Plus, texting instead of emailing or calling can easily save you an hour or more of productivity each day, which really adds up over weeks and months.
Your communication will get better, because you'll learn how to say more with less. And you'll be more productive at work. That's a win-win!
To improve your communication skills at work, practice saying more with less by texting.