Workplace communication skills are the foundation to great careers.
The digital sphere has transformed how we network and communicate with one another. We are more “connected” via social media, yet emotionally and mentally more disconnected than ever, with mental health concerns and loneliness becoming more prevalent worldwide. Not only in our personal lives, but business communication has also deteriorated in this online focused world.
In his 2020 research, Boursier found that, “The use of digital technology was promoted during lockdowns in 2020 to alleviate loneliness, however, excessive social media use is associated with higher levels of anxiety”.
Technology can be leveraged for networking, but if used in a shallow and ineffective manner, it is certainly no replacement for authentic, meaningful connections and effective communication. It’s crucial to build deep relationships in the real world, as well as virtually, especially in a professional environment where people play a significant role in outcomes for success.
Need to close a deal with a high paying client?
Are you trying to influence and sway your senior leaders?
Do you want to boost your reputation at work?
The common denominator to all of these questions is – you guessed it – connection.
But what does it mean to truly connect? And how does effective communication play a vital role in how connection is established?
It’s no secret that disconnection creates poor results, lack of engagement, stress, and withdrawal, resulting in less productivity at work. Yet being sincerely engaged at work, allows you to build credence for your personal brand.
How do you build effective workplace communication?
It’s as simple as cultivating empathy and presence, with a non-judgmental attitude.
Here are some examples of ways you can cultivate this:
1. Find common ground
It may not be realistic to be compatible with everyone, but there’s always common ground you can find with each person – no matter their seniority. Think across various domains outside of work; culture, food, sports, family, travel, technology… the possibilities are endless.
2. Be an active listener
You may have noticed that you can pick up on when people are not engaged in what you’re talking about – others can also observe the same when you’re not invested in the topic of conversation. Work on being present, understanding what’s being said in between the lines and checking your desire to interrupt the speaker. Try this in your next virtual meeting when you find youself drifting off or checking emails.
3. Ask specific and deeper questions with genuine curiosity
People are passionate about what they love – and hate. Get curious about where their beliefs come from and the experiences that led them to become who they are. Asking specific questions during the discussion, not only shows that you’re listening but gives the other person a feeling of significance. You could go the extra mile to join a meeting early and invest time into checking in with your team or asking a client about their weekend. This rapport building will do wonders for your connection when you speak later in the call and reference something you learned about them.
4. Engage with your emotions
Empathy is cultivated through genuine emotion. Accepting differences and appreciating that people experience situations differently, opens up the door to compassion and feeling understood.
5. The power of vulnerability
Opening up can be tough, but storytelling, sharing emotions and sharing experience creates instant connection and engagement Successful leaders use storytelling to connect with their people and give insights into their past which help build their reputation and solidify their brand internally, which is vital for future success. Here’s a free step-by-step guide giving you all the details on how to build your personal brand.
Can effective communication be learned? Using language to your advantage.
Absolutely, it’s a lifelong learning journey. We aren’t born experts on business communication and most importantly, connection isn’t just one-sided. Making yourself feel heard is just as important. Sometimes we need to have difficult conversations with our leaders in the workplace – and this can be quite intimidating, causing sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat, especially where there is conflict.
There are ways to remain calm, feel confident and reduce nerves during critical conversations, for example
1. Reframe the conversation in your mind
By reframing a high-stakes conversation, you change your state of mind and alter your physiology. You’ll naturally be able to better handle the situation if you approach in a casual and calm manner, rather than putting the idea on a pedestal.
2. Choose your words wisely
Language can have a different effect on the same concept, depending on the words you use. Are you using words that have negative connotations, or using words that offer a more positive outlook?
3. Take responsibility for your delivery
Taking responsibility for how the message may be received, gives you more control and less chance for misinterpretation. Ensure you are clear and coherent in your message and ask if there’s anything you need to clarify. Here’s a free cheat sheet on using your voice to persuade and audience.
4. Be mindful of your body language
Considering the popularity of remote work and virtual meetings, the use of body language and engaging facial expressions are paramount to looking involved in the conversation. The use of hand gestures, nodding and smiling are just as important in a virtual setting, as it is in person. Don’t keep your camera turned off and limit your ability to showcase much needed physical cue’s.
5. Express yourself authentically
Authenticity involves being honest. You can’t truly connect with people, without being raw and candid. People appreciate a transparent, yet respectful conversation – that’s where the real change happens.
Why effective communication is so important. The result of building powerful connections.
Using business communication tools to enhance connections, not only builds your authority in the workplace but rapidly increases productivity, helps you achieve results and work as a close-knit team. It also supports colleagues or employees to reach their full potential when they feel safe and respected at work.
Learn step-by-step methods, tools and tactics to further enhance your workplace communication skills at our upcoming 2-day live event: Mastering Communication Public Training Program. This hands-on, deeply practical experience empowers you to -,
- Rapidly design and deliver conversations for multiple communication contexts (think meetings, media, conferences, pitches and 1:1 conversations)
- Create memorable and engaging messages (never send your audience to sleep again!)
- Present with confidence and drive results in pitches, meetings, speeches
- Inspire and influence anybody with ease
Find out more about the 2-day live event in Sydney here, there are a limited number of 20 spots so get in quick to secure yours.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.