WholeLife Matrix: Career Camaraderie – Communication

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
— Paul J. Meyer

Since we spend much of our time at work, learning good communication skills with others at work and having good relationships is essential.  Good communication helps to ensure that we are on the same page with others, makes us more efficient and happier both at work and in our personal lives.  Here are some tips to help you communicate well at work:

Listen Fully
Carefully listen to what the other person has to say.  Often we don’t listen very carefully because we are thinking about what we are going to say next or believe we know what the other person is going to say, which causes us
to interrupt.  Giving the person your full attention while listening will help ensure that you hear and understand everything they want to say.  Open communication is also best for accomplishing goals.

Restate What Someone Tells You
Repeat the important points that you are told in the conversation by rephrasing it to show that you are listening and understand the information that you have been given.  This is valuable because it allows any possible
confusion to be cleared up and will help you to remember what was said.

Observe Body Language
Observing the body language of people can tell you a lot about what a person is thinking and feeling.  For example, spread out fingers covering the face can mean “I can’t believe this”; if the person wearily leans away, it may mean they are tired of listening; various forms of arm crossing may mean the person is retreating or angry; a hand on the heart may show sincerity.

Acknowledge Preferred Communication Methods
People like to communicate with different tools.  Consider whether someone prefers to communicate by email, phone, Skype, text, social media or instant message.  Using the other person’s preferred form of communication to contact them will make it easier to reach them and you may have a better interaction with them.  If you realize that someone is hard to reach by phone but responds quickly to emails, switch to email communication.  Also, when communicating with people out of state, consider their time zone.

Review Your Tone
Before sending a message, think about how another person may interpret the tone. Letters, social media, and emails can be easily misinterpreted since the person can’t hear your actual tone of voice or see your body language, so it is important to review your message for tone before sending.  You may be trying to communicate a joke but end up sounding angry or insulting and, as a result, offend somebody.  In some cases, you may consider using emotion icons so that people can see the emotion associated with your message.  Be sure to use clear language and when you are angry, take time to relax before you write an email and before you send it.  In some cases it may be better to meet in person to resolve conflict.

Use Grammar Check
Always make sure to check your writing for spelling and grammar whether you are writing a resume, letter, or social media message.  Proofread until you no longer see errors and your writing sounds good.  In some cases, you may even want someone to proofread your writing to have a second pair of eyes look at things from a different perspective and offer advice for improvements.

Act Professionally
It is important to act professionally with your colleagues as well as your clients and customers.  People will have more respect for you if your meetings, phone calls, and emails are professional and you keep your appointments and other commitments.

Use Constructive Criticism
Constructive criticism is helpful in showing us where we might need to improve and teaches us new things.  Make sure that the person you are giving feedback to understands what you are telling them and make sure that you are considerate when giving feedback. Give positive feedback when a job is well-done.

Talk a Little About Life Outside Work
Talking with people a little bit about their life outside of work can help build a friendlier connection and trust.  You might ask people what they like to do outside of work or talk about someone’s kids if they have kids etc.

Continue to Practice Communication
The more you practice effective communication, the better you will get at it.  Notice how people react to your communication style to find areas where you can improve.

In the WholeLife Matrix, we have four aspects for developing good communication with colleagues:

1.  Shared Language
2.  Listen with Purpose
3.  Speaking Authentically 

4.  Supportive Communication

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