Ways to improve communication skills at work
Being a good speaker isn’t all about you; it’s about making others feel valued.
However good at speaking you are, nerves make us behave in odd ways. They also appear at just the wrong time – during interviews or important pitches.
Make people feel valued
Make a mental note not to talk about yourself. Ask questions instead. When someone tells you they are about to go on holiday to Spain do not say “Really? I’ve just come back from …” Communication is not about competition. It’s much better to ask: “Which part of Spain” or “Have you been before?”
Making people feel valued is not rocket science. It’s about asking questions and listening to their replies. When you end the conversation, refer back to something that have said, this shows you have been listening and appear interested in them.
Make it relevant
If you want people to listen to what you have to say, you have to add value. You have to give them a reason to listen to your message. Tell them what is in it for them.
- Tell them the benefit – What will they get from it
- The question – to make them think (e.g. “Would you like to get more customers?”)
- The shock – their call to action
- The story – to engage them. Stories work particularly well to illustrate an example. So rather than going straight in with a hard pitch, you could tell a story about how the product or service has helped another customer.
By grabbing their attention at the start of a conversation, and they know what is in it for them, there is more chance that they will stick around to hear the rest.
Make people feel human
Sometimes you forget that clients are human too and we must speak to everyone in the same way.
Well, we start by using casual, non-formal words. This will help us to sound authentic. This is particularly important when under pressure at work, as using words we normally use will make us feel more relaxed.
In a world where electronic communication has almost taken over lives, the important thing to remember whenever we speak is that humans still respond best to each other. The trick to getting it right is to make others feel valued, make any communication relevant and make them feel like a person. Humanity is key.