8 Ways Effective Communication Can Change the Course of Your Career

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in career coaching, Counselling Blog | 0 comments

We all want to be great communicators. After all, business is all about creating and maintaining relationships, be it with fellow coworkers or clients.

But while we all communicate on a daily basis, are we really doing it effectively? In most cases, it’s communication—or lack thereof—that gets in the way of teamwork, productivity and ultimately career success.

That said, here are a few ways to improve communication in the workplace:

Success is dependent on effort

Photo courtesy of Celestine Chua.

Voice Your Opinion

Contrary to popular belief, expressing a difference in opinion can actually help your career. It takes courage and intelligence to stand up to your boss, but the trick is knowing how to do it properly.

So, choose your battles wisely, keep your cool, be patient and build a compelling case that boosts your superior’s reputation. And always, always, always base your argument on facts. Higher-ups want to know that you’re looking to advance the business, not yourself.


Ask open-ended questions

There’s no doubt that open-ended questions enhance employee communication. Unlike questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, open-ended questions encourage ideas and opinions.

By opening up the dialogue, you’ll be able to gather information and show the other person you’re interested in what they have to say. You’ll establish and maintain more relationships, all the while preventing potentially awkward miscommunication.


Drink More Water

How does consistent water intake relate to communication, you ask? Well, hydration is necessary for peak mental performance. Providing proper levels of water to the brain will help you think on your feet, adapt to changing workplace situations, and communicate more clearly and effectively.

If you’re not a fan of plain old tap water, you can always spice up your hydration routine with lemon water or sparkling water. You can try out fun water bottles, straws, or keep a nice frosty glass in the freezer. Whatever works!


Adapt Your Communication Style

Do you ever feel lost in the workplace? Like you aren’t connecting with your colleagues?

Communicating like a rockstar

Communicating like a rockstar – Photo courtesy of Loren Javier.

Your communication style may be a contributing factor. We all communicate in different ways. Some people are visual communicators, while others are auditory. Some are kinesthetic, and others auditory-digital. The key is to recognize your listener’s communication style and adapt your own style to meet their needs.

If you’re an auditory communicator, for example, you might feel most comfortable giving your boss a verbal presentation. But if your boss is a visual communicator, you’re probably going to lose him from the very beginning.

So, it makes more sense to present in a visual format, with graphs, charts, and Prezi’s that your boss can easily understand. By adapting your communication style to suit the situation, you’re not only getting important ideas across in the most efficient way possible, but you’re also building rapport, building reputation, and becoming more flexible.

It’s a wonderful thing to have created stronger affinity, as that helps create alliances, which we all know are critical in business.


Explain the End Result

When you hand a task over to an employee or coworker, be sure to explain what you’re trying to accomplish. The more you share with people, the more they feel they are a vital link in the business and its goals. Workers will be more aware and either consciously or subconsciously carry out their tasks in a manner more in line with your company’s objectives.

Cater to Your Audience

In her blog, Kristi Hedges addresses some of the biggest communication mistakes in the workplace. One of the most important? Not framing your remarks at the appropriate level.

“People at different corporate levels require different levels of granularity,” Hedges writes. “The higher up the audience, the less detail you should be providing.”

The CEO of a company, for example, needs to know a lot about many different things. A functional manager, on the other hand, only wants information pertaining to his division.

Known as “top lining,” this critical communication skill helps you exude presence and good judgment, and contributes to a more efficient workplace.


Communicate for an Audience

Communicate for others – photo courtesy of Deval Patrick.

Adjust your Mindset

With so many meetings, presentations, memos, emails and phone calls flying around the workplace, it’s easy to forget that internal communication—within your own mind, that is—is just as important as external communication.

Your mindset is your mental attitude—your thinking and your beliefs. And whether it’s positive or negative, it has a direct effect on the success of your career.

A positive mindset breeds optimism, resilience, and confidence. A negative mindset, on the other hand, turns opportunities into obstacles and hinders the success of your career.

The good news is that your mindset is part conscious and part unconscious, and can be learned, unlearned, programmed and reprogrammed in a variety of different ways. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is just one of the techniques you can use to rewire your brain and shift your focus to a more positive future. Your career will thank you!


Seek support

Effective workplace communication, as with all goals, is easier to achieve with the help of a good support community. It might be a mentor, a friend, or a professional counselor or coach. Whoever they may be, these individuals can help you achieve professional success and career advancement. They can show you how to be more outgoing in workplace situations, how to deal with difficult people more effectively and how to get noticed, get ahead and earn more.

Have you ever been in a situation where good communication has saved the day?

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