Key communication skills for any position

By Sean Woodman (LinkedIn), governor at large, NTEA Generation Next
This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue of Generation Next Edition.

Have you ever worked with a team where you were asked by the project manager to complete an objective and it didn’t live up to their expectations? Or have you ever asked a team member to complete a task and it didn’t fully get completed as you expected? This is where clear communication comes into play.

Even the best active listener can fall short due to not understanding communication and objectives provided to them. So, what are some key skills that will help you provide clear communication to coworkers and customers?

  1. Communicate face to face.

    When communicating, it is often best practice to do it face to face – especially when you are working on a project with tasks and deliverables involved. Being face to face allows questions to be answered quickly, expectations to be conveyed clearly, and it also affords time for relationship-building, which is a plus!

  2. Be clear.

    There is nothing worse than leaving an action item, objective or recommendation open-ended or open for interpretation. This is setting you up for confusion and potential failure. It is very important to take the time to prepare important communication for proper execution. It allows you to think through all aspects and to hit on all expectations, objectives, action items and deliverables. When delivering your messaging, make sure you provide clear expectations and deadlines.

  3. Make it comfortable.

    Make sure you are mindful of your body language and the tone of your voice when speaking. Crossed arms, frustrated facial expression, or a threatening and demanding voice can quickly derail a conversation, potentially shifting your coworker or customer focus away from active listening.

  4. Leave time for questions.

Even the best communicator will be asked questions after delivering a message. Make sure you leave time for those questions, whether it be during the conversation or afterward. Collaboration in the form of questions can often shed light on an aspect that would help add value to an idea or objective. Make sure all parties know you are open to questions and input even after you leave your meeting.

Active listening is another aspect to effective communication. Click and follow the link to my fellow NTEA Generation Next Governor at Large Derek Hill’s article for 3 Steps to Better Listening.

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