More (and better) communication

2014-04-01

At times it feels that we are talking for deaf ears. Other times a horrible misunderstanding can arise out of nothing. Here are tips on how to improve office communication skills!

You get to work and blurt out something on a whim at the coffee machine. There was no malice intended but soon a major rumour is doing the rounds. Do you recognise this situation? Sometimes people find it hard to get their point across to each other. The Danish philosopher and scientist Tor Nørretrander conducted a number on exciting studies in the 1990s which showed that when we sit directly across from another person fully immersed in a conversation we only register the other person's every second word. So imagine how hard it can be to be understood in a stressful open plan office with a deadline in ten minutes....
Sam Ford, a director at the strategic communications agency Peppercomm, provides here some basic yet very worthwhile tips on how we can better communicate with each other.
1. Stop playing with the mobile phone - concentrate and listen whether it is a manager, a colleague or a client that is talking.
2. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. What is he or she trying to say to you? Create understanding in your heart.
3. Do not ask too much of the person you are talking to. In other words, Do not talk people to death!
5. Be careful about quantifying. In today's digital world, it is easy to make numbers and statistics of clients and colleagues. Do not forget that it is people you are working with.
6. Do not rate success in numbers alone. Highlight the soft values too.
7. Be transparent and try to provide source references when you use facts. This reinforces your argument and credibility.