by Ann Halloran
Problem: You lack the natural ability to communicate confidently and effectively with others, but you don’t have a clue about how to improve your communication skills.
Solution: Take the following steps to transform yourself into a great communicator, to build strong work relationships and to become a person people trust and respect:
- Discover people’s passions. How well do you know the people you work with? Do you see beyond job titles? Find out what employees do outside of work and learn what they are passionate about. Take a genuine interest in them and their lives. If you know them on a personal level, you can share their joy and empathize when they are experiencing difficult times. That personal connection makes them feel that they can openly communicate with you—and trust you.
- Match your body language to your words. We communicate through the words we use, our tone of voice and, above all else, our body language. Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and posture all speak volumes to others, without your even opening your mouth. Always pay attention to your body language to ensure that you aren’t sending the wrong signals. For example, you may stand with your arms folded because it feels comfortable to you. However, an employee may form the impression that you are angry or annoyed.
- Become a good listener. Focus on what other people are saying, without allowing your own judgments or biases to affect your opinion of them. Show respect by allowing employees to finish speaking, without interruption. And prove you’ve been listening by paraphrasing what a person just said. For example, “It sounds like you are really upset” or “So what you are saying is …”
To learn more sign up for the audio conference Not Getting Ahead? Communication That Makes or Breaks Relationships at Work. Click here.
Ann Halloran has been self-employed as a learning and development consultant since 1989. Through her company, In-Tuition, she helps organizations to develop and manage a learning strategy. Her experience is primarily in the medical device/pharma industry, but she has worked across all sectors.
Halloran also delivers an eight-day Management and Leadership Program and a four-day Trainer Skills program. She has always been fascinated by what works in terms of management skills and has observed many successful (and not so successful!) management styles through her work.
In 2009 she set up www.practical-management-skills.com, a free resource for managers. It includes concise tips on a range of management skills, such as communication, leadership, time management, managing change and more.
Halloran believes that we all look for the same things in the workplace. It is about trust, recognition, respect, communicating well with each other, having fun and enjoying what we do. If as a manager you create conditions for that to happen, you will be on your way to success.
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