5 Elements of Effective Communication You Wish Your Staff Had
Effective communication is much more than just the exchange of information; it’s about understanding the intentions and emotions behind a discussion, which requires active participation from everyone involved. Both individuals needs to pay attention in order to ensure that the message is being interpreted in the way it was intended. Active listening is required to help an individual feel understood and heard. When it comes to your practice or business, a team with top-notch communication skills will prove valuable in more than a few aspects.
Help Your Staff Communicate More Effectively
The good news is that it’s never too late to improve your communication skills, and that goes for your staff as well. Take a look five of the most important elements of effective communication.
Effective communication requires a combination of skills including:
- Stress management (in the moment)
- Appropriate nonverbal communication/Body language
- Engaged listening
- The capacity to effectively communicate with self-confidence
- The ability to identify and understand the emotions of all individuals involved in the communication (including your own)
Tips for Improving Communication Skills
1. Manage Stress in the Moment to Improve Communication
Individuals who feel emotionally overwhelmed or stressed are more likely to misinterpret conversations, send confusing nonverbal signals and lapse into unhealthy, mindless patterns of behavior.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of stress:
- Tight muscles
- Clenched hands
- Shallow breathing or forgetting to breathe
- Take a time-out from the conversation to calm down and re-examine the conversation.
- Pause to try and de-stress: Close your eyes, take a few deep, cleansing breaths and relax your muscles.
- Find a quiet place to meditate.
2. Appropriate nonverbal communication / Body language
Nonverbal communication needs to reinforce–not contradict–what is being discussed. When you say one thing and your body portrays another, listeners may feel as if you are not being truthful. For instance, if you begin discussing how happy you are with a staff member’s ability to take a month off and travel the world, but your hands are folded in front of you and you avoid making eye contact, you are speaking one thing and your body is saying the opposite.
- Avoid sending negative nonverbal communications (tapping your foot, crossing your arms and looking away) because doing so could cause the other person to become defensive.
- Concentrate on using open body language like uncrossing your arms, sitting on the edge of your chair and maintaining good eye contact.
- Use your body language as a means to emphasize and enhance your conversation. A smile while patting a staff member on the shoulder to congratulate him or her on a promotion is a great way to use your body language to accentuate your message.
3. Engaged Listening
Communication requires engaged listening; therefore, planning your next sentence, checking emails and text messages or just thinking about what you want for lunch interferes with your ability to focus. Staying focused from one moment to the next ensures that you do not miss any of the nonverbal cues used during the conversation.
- During discussions, concentrate on the here and now.
- Let the speaker know you are listening with small gestures like nodding your head or short verbal responses.
- Listen for the subtle changes in the speaker’s voice, pay attention to his or her body language and other nonverbal clues. These actions tell you how the person feels and what they are trying to communicate to you.
- Whenever you find it difficult to concentrate on a conversation, repeat the words in your head. This will reinforce their message and make it easier for you to remain focused.
- Do not interrupt or attempt to redirect the conversation to address your concerns.
- Favoring your right ear can help you pick up on the subtle emotional nuances an individual is portraying. This tip works because the right ear is connected to the left side of the brain, which contains the main processing centers for emotions and speech comprehension. Try standing (or sitting) straight with your chin down while tilting your right ear towards the individual speaking.
4. Display Self-Confidence
Displaying self-confidence with assertive expression makes communication clear. Express opinions in an open and honest format. The goal of effective communication is not forcing your opinions on anyone else or winning an argument, it is about understanding others.
- Expressing anger is ok, just respect others and try to find a positive way to communicate how you feel.
- Realize that your thoughts are just as important as everyone else’s are.
5. The Ability to Identify and Understand all the Emotions Related to a Given Conversation
Ineffective listening makes it impossible to identify and understand the emotions of the individuals involved in any discussion.
- Solving this problem requires learning how to become an effective listener by paying attention to voice intonations, body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and body movements. Even an individual’s breathing and muscle tension are an indication of how they feel.
- Remember that the people you are conversing with are watching your movements and reactions as well.
While communication skills are a major factor of good communication throughout a business, communication avenues are second only to ability to communicate. Our team chat feature makes interoffice communication simple and seamless. You can learn more about it here.
Use your communication skills to build trust with staff members, clients and colleagues. Strong communication increases positive outcomes, helps boost morale and eases tension in the workplace.
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