The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills a person can have in an office environment. Unfortunately, communicating fluidly and effectively doesn’t always come naturally to people, and the lack of these skills can be a significant hindrance in people’s abilities to find and keep employment. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to improve your ability to talk to people in work settings, and these tips can lead to a number of benefits in both your personal and your professional life. Here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind if you are interested in improving your communication skills.
- Listen to what people are saying. This is perhaps the single most important element of effective communication. It is instinctive to focus on speaking in a way that makes you understood, but the truth is that if you don’t make other people feel as if you are understanding them and listening to them, they won’t be nearly as interested in hearing what you have to say.
In other words, to communicate effectively, whether with your professional colleagues or personal friends, you will need to truly focus on hearing the points of view of other people. If you can master this element of communication, you will naturally find people are more drawn to hearing what you have to say, as they will know that you are paying them the same respect.
- Speak slowly. This is another important element of effective communication. It is only natural to speak quickly when one is excited or nervous, but if you do so, you become that much more difficult for others to understand. If you want other people to understand the content in your communications with them, you will need to work on speaking slowly and taking enough pauses between words and sentences to articulate them precisely. As a bonus, when you master the art of speaking slowly, you will come across as more confident and relaxed, which will inspire people to take you more seriously at the same time.
- Increase eye contact. This point is similar to the previous one regarding speaking slowly. When you provide good eye contact, you indicate confidence and trustworthiness. When you avoid eye contact, people tend to think you are not telling them the truth or that you have something to hide, even when you are being completely honest. It can be hard to make eye contact when you are not sure of yourself, but if you can increase your eye contact, you will soon see the rewards in your interactions and communications with others.
- Practice in front of a mirror. The previous points of speaking slowly and increasing eye contact can be practiced in front of a mirror to make sure you are on target and provide you with real time feedback. Alternatively, if you have trouble speaking to yourself in front of a mirror, you might choose to work with a trusted friend, partner, or coworker. Ask for feedback and take it to heart; you will soon find yourself communicating more effectively than ever before.
With improved communication skills, you will be able to present your ideas effectively, even to your boss!
Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Present Your Ideas to Your Boss
No matter where you’ve been working, you probably have ideas. These ideas could be big ones that could completely turn your company upside down and make way for a new type of profit of their little ideas that could potentially save your company money by cutting out inefficient policies or implementing new ones that are simply more efficient. The common thread in these ideas may be that you were too afraid to present your ideas to your boss, – which is a bad thing.
Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.
Giving ideas is one of the things your boss may have hired you for and, even if it wasn’t, he may be willing to hear you out. While most companies do have a suggestion process for new ideas, sometimes it is simply better to present your own ideas directly to your higher ups. You shouldn’t be afraid to do so, and your ideas could potentially cause you to ace a job performance review, acquire a raise or simply gain the invaluable favor of your boss.
That doesn’t mean that you should mention each and every idea you come across immediately when you do so to your boss. That could make you seem like a know-it-all and like you’re saying you could do your boss’s job better. Unless it’s an immediate game-changing idea for your company, the best approach may be to simply write it down. Once you’ve acquired 3-5 different ideas, compile a report as to why your ideas would be useful to your company, what they could do and what effect they would directly have upon your company. This allows for you to have something in your hand when you go to talk to your boss about your ideas.
One key point to understand when it comes to presenting ideas to your boss is to understand where he is coming from. Understand that your boss is in the position he is because he provides some profit to your company simply because he knows when to make the best decisions. Generally, bosses themselves will have track records of “cleaning up” the company. This cleaning process can involve firing employees that underperform and sometimes distributing work. It can also include shifting a department’s focus onto a certain task in order to get it done. Therefore, so long as you explain why your think that your ideas would be beneficial to your company, you really have very little to fear from your boss. Even if all of your ideas fall flat, you may end up finding out that your boss wants to brainstorm with you because problems you bring up may be ones he’s considered before.
Jumping over the hurdle that is fear when it comes to detailing ideas to your boss can be a tough task, but that’s only until you’ve made the first move. If you can explain your ideas in a reasonable way to your superior, it’s likely that you can gain trust as a hard-working employee in his eyes and someone who thinks about the future of your company first and foremost, which means you’ll be first in line to receive promotions later on.