By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
Studies show that we spend 70 to 80% of our waking hours in some form of communication — whether it be in the form of writing, reading, listening or speaking. While we recently discussed the role body language has in conveying a message properly, there are additional factors that come into play when communicating. Sometimes the best thing to do for improving a skillset is recognizing what you may be doing wrong. To help, we’ve provided the top three communication mistakes we have seen in the workplace.
NOT USING THE RIGHT MEDIUM
One of the worst workplace mistakes you can make is not using the right communication medium. As of 2015, an office worker received an average of 121 emails per day — that was just two years ago. As you select your medium, consider what will best get your message across because, when using the wrong medium, you the risk of things getting lost in translation.
So how do you select the right medium? If you are making a request with many components or that would be hard to remember, it may be best to type it all in an email. However, if the conversation regards a disagreement or discrepancy, an in-person conversation is warranted.
Assuming no one has the time to meet in-person or that they simply don’t want to is an excuse you need to toss aside. Contrary to popular belief, research shows millennials place greater value on in-person interactions than both Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.
NOT CHANGING PERSPECTIVES
Communication is a two-way street. When you say something to someone — email, text or in-person conversation — you should expect (and welcome) a response. Welcoming a response means actively listening to the other person, without interruption or eye rolls. In the workplace, it can be easy to develop tunnel-vision in your role and difficult to understand your colleagues’ perspectives.
When communicating with coworkers, you should always put yourself in their shoes. As cliché as that sounds, it allows you to better understand their perspective and is especially effective when working through a dispute. Working to understand another's point of view can make navigating a tough conversation relatively painless.
Ultimately, this switch in perspective should help with develop mutual understanding and lead to an agreement everyone can be comfortable with.
NOT KNOWING WHEN TO SPEAK UP
No matter what, you must know when to speak up. Yes, there are times when you should pause and address the situation later, but there also times when a conversation needs to be had as soon as possible — not only in negative situations, but positive ones. We can often feel intimidated by coworkers, but speaking up can increase confidence, fuel discussion, and more.
One of the most important times to speak up in the workplace is when the situation is affecting your ability to do your job effectively. If you are someone who always offers assistance (or maybe you are someone who can’t say no), you probably have moments of high stress.
When communicating in moments of stress or disagreement, always have a solution ready. By doing so, you are showing coworkers that not only can you handle negative situations, but you can manage them too.
Just because we know what to do correctly, doesn’t mean we always know what we’re doing incorrectly. Hopefully, this blog has helped identify any communication roadblocks in your path. If so, take some time identify changes you can make to improve this vital skillset – this blog post can help!