How to Communicate More Effectively

Communication is key to representing yourself and your company or employer.

No matter what job, from careers in teaching, business, IT and even nursing, you are going to have to interact with people. Whether it is with superiors and co-workers or with clients and customers, communication is very important because it is how you represent yourself and your company to the world.

Listen
Communicating is a two-way street. Not only to you have to know what to say and how to say it, you need to listen to and understand the needs of the person you are communicating with. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and ask questions. Developing a good relationship between client and service provider, boss and worker, and even teacher and student all involve listening and speaking. Ask questions and be sure to fully hear out the answer. You will come off as respectful and attentive.

Notice body language
A person's voice and body language can give away how they are feeling. As you are conversing with someone, note their facial expressions and how he or she carries his or herself. If the person is leaning towards you, he or she is likely listening intently and interested in what you have to say. A frowning person or someone with their arms crossed is likely defensive and doesn't want to continue the conversation. A person's volume is another indicator of how a conversation is going. A loud voice may mean he or she feels like you are not listening to them. Adjust your posturing and tone of voice to calm someone who is upset or to simply show that you are listening. Always look at the person when they are talking and be sure your body is turned towards the speaker, showing that you are interested in what he or she has to say.

Phone vs. email
Email and text messaging allow for people to be in constant contact, regardless of where they are. While this is helpful in many cases it can also be a burden. If you need to have a conversation that involves complex steps or could be misconstrued, it is best to talk over the phone. This way you can better explain the matter and note if the person understands and how they felt about the conversation.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU's online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers

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