Having good communication skills in the workplace is important. This article will provide tips to take into account a rapidly changing workplace.
Details of the message:
It is important that you first check the authencity of the message before you start to communicate with your office colleagues. Has the message been transmitted from a reliable source or was it something that you just read in the newspapers? Good communication skills will enable you to be more credible and reliable - but it is as good as the contents of your message.
Don't change the message:
Some people are fond of providing their personal input about a message. Problems will arise if the receiver unknowingly accepts the message with the input as the "total package". This may cause confusion and misunderstanding in the workplace.
Get to the point:
A similar point is to keep the message short. It good to provide bulleted headings and paragraphing if the message is long and detailed.
Information or Feedback?:
As many workplaces are fast-paced and activity driven, it is important that you communicate with the receiver if you are sending information or getting feedback. This may not be very apparent if your message is phrased in an open-ended way. An example of this problem is when you say " There will be a meeting on Saturday." Is it compulsory for the receiver to attend?
Sensitive to the environment:
If you have an important message for the receiver who happens to be making a speech in front of VIPs, how will you communicate? Will you interrupt him in mid-speech by shouting the message across the conference room? This method is definitely not recommended. Instead, you should write out the message and hand it to him without distracting the audience. Most poor communicators are not sensitive to the working environment and place high importance in transmitting the message.
Sensitive to the receiver:
We all have our "off days". Thus it is important to be sensitive to the message receiver, especially if he is your immediate superior and the message is negative. Use your own intuition to time the message so that he will be in a better frame of mind to evaluate the problem. However, this takes a lot of practice and patience. But your superior will be appreciative of your efforts.
Effective use of email:
It is good practice to send an email if you are unable to contact the receiver. The advantages are obvious; you are able to send an email attachment with your message and there is proof that you have done your part (unless his email account is over-quota!). You can also broadcast the message to a few people so that his colleagues are able to handle the problem is he is away.
Effective use of SMS:
As most people have mobile phones, you should consider using SMS to help in your communication. A suggestion is to send an SMS to inform him that you have just sent an email that requires attention. However, please note that SMS communication may have a time lag, so use it with caution.
About The Author
Colin Ong TS is the Managing Director of MR=MC Consulting (http://www.mrmc.com.sg) and the Founder of the 12n Online Professional Networking Community (http://www.mrmc.com.sg/12n)