If you thought excellent communication was essential before, then the coronavirus pandemic that has forced many teammates to communicate virtually has turned the importance up a notch. To stand out from your competition, land your dream role and actually succeed in the workplace, you need to display a handful of critical communication skills.
Not only that but hiring managers and recruiters also want to see these communication skills in your resume and cover letter — along with real-life examples of when you used them. Mention these skills in your interview to leave a great first impression and display them effectively in the workplace, so you succeed time and time again.
To succeed in the workplace, you need to have the appropriate feedback skills. That means giving feedback — both positive and negative — and receiving it from your colleagues. If you’re a senior or a manager figure, you should always look to provide good feedback and constructive praise. Why? It’ll show your team you care and it’ll keep them motivated.
A motivated team will drive great results. And it all starts with you.
It doesn’t matter if it’s face to face, via email or over a phone call. Work this into your routine until it becomes a habit. The same goes for receiving feedback and constructive criticism. The more you can accept and encourage this type of feedback, the more you can grow and improve. If this feedback agitates you, you won’t succeed in the workplace.
Good communication is about more than the way you speak to people. Listening is arguably the number one communication skill you need to possess in the workplace if you’re going to be a success. If you only listen when it benefits you or seem disinterested in every conversation, nobody will want to communicate with you.
Being a bad listener impacts strong relationships at work and can affect the quality of work, too. To succeed in the workplace, you need to listen to what others have to say and respect their views. This increases transparency between you and your team, as when you pay attention to what they say, you can ask questions and end any doubts.
Good listening skills ensure you’re all on the same page. Even repeating something that somebody said for clarification shows you actively listened and they’d respect you for it.
Speaking of respect, this is something you need to display every day. Whether it’s face to face, through an email or via video call, there’s no excuse to be disrespectful in any situation you’re in with your colleagues or management. It’s pretty simple: The more respectful you are, the more open your team will be to communicate with you.
You don’t need to do anything drastic either, as it’s all basic things every decent human should show. Things like using somebody’s name, pronouncing it correctly, maintaining eye contact in conversations, not being late to meetings and listening when somebody is speaking to you. All of this goes a long way when it comes to showing respect.
The same goes for written communication. Write politely and not in a way that can come across as rude. The more respect you give, the more respect you earn.
Another communication skill to possess to succeed in the workplace is nonverbal communication cues. This means noticing your colleagues’ body language and coming across as positive, warm and welcoming yourself, so you’re approachable.
Always maintain eye contact, to an extent, when speaking to somebody and keep your tone of voice in mind, as this can massively impact the message you’re trying to deliver. If you’re a senior figure, you’ll need to have the skills to understand body language too, such as when somebody is struggling, needs help or any other nonverbal cues that throw up red flags.
That way, you can take appropriate action to ensure your team is happy and enthusiastic.
Every successful communicator approaches each situation with an open mind. The more you do this, the more your team will trust you and have faith in you. The worst thing anybody could do here is shut out other opinions and always assume their personal decision is the correct one. This can cause dissent among teams and impact the quality of work.
This means you need to drop your ego, even when speaking to people you historically tended to disagree with. If you show up with flexibility and an open mind that’s ready to listen to everyone, you can all be more honest.
That honesty leads to higher productivity in the workplace, essentially improving the quality and effectiveness of work.
Another communication skill for workplace success is displaying excellent verbal communication skills. It isn’t always what you say, but how you deliver your message and how clear you are. It’s about finding the right balance of not talking too much that you confuse the other person or team, but also not too little that your messaging is vague and causes more confusion.
Be direct and clear. Think about what you want to say and consider the simplest way of delivering that message while delivering maximum value. This saves a lot of time not only when explaining yourself but down the line too, when nobody is scrambling for answers.
Empathy is a communication skill for workplace success that most tend to struggle with. Nobody is saying you have to be best friends with every colleague. In an organization with hundreds or thousands of employees, that’s near impossible. However, you still need to be courteous and consider other peoples’ feelings as it’s a huge sign of respect and maturity.
If this is an area where you struggle, you can practice by using phrases such as “I understand where you’re coming from.” It’s a simple yet effective way of showing somebody that you understand and respect their point of view.
Doing this regularly will make it much easier for you to show empathy and improve this essential communication skill. The more empathy you can show, the likelier it is you’ll succeed as it can get noticed.
Your facial expressions, your tone of voice, your body language — all of these factors and more combined can tell people how friendly you really are. Even if it’s approaching every conversation with a smile on your face or not always sitting alone in a dark corner in the office so you seem unapproachable, there’s a lot you can do to come across as friendly and be a workplace success.
By showing you’re a friendly personality, your teammates will want to approach you, open up to you and have honest conversations with you. That’s why this communication skill is essential in the workplace as showing appreciation and being a warm, welcoming individual will make people want to work well alongside you.
Being polite gets you far. It also means being friendly will see co-workers wanting to talk to you about non-work topics, too. Ultimately, you’ll build a strong connection and that’s when the best work is done.
Perhaps the number one communication skill to possess if you want to be a workplace success is confidence. Not just with how you show up but confidence in your ideas and solutions, which will help the business grow. By having confidence and displaying it, you’ll build confidence in yourself from others as they’ll believe you.
If you approach it with nerves and it’s clear you don’t believe in something yourself, others won’t take you seriously. That doesn’t mean you should be arrogant or aggressive. However, exuding confidence while maintaining other skills, like friendliness, maintaining eye contact and being open-minded, is a great way to show your team you genuinely believe in yourself and your ideas.
Understanding the situation
Another vital communication skill commonly overlooked but will help you succeed at work is knowing which medium to use. For instance, not every conversation will need to be in-person and some won’t suit an email. Understanding the situation and context goes a long way here.
You wouldn’t discuss resignations over the phone and you wouldn’t arrange constant face-to-face meetings with a busy head of department. By tailoring the medium to the situation, your team will appreciate you going out of your way to understanding what works and, in turn, you’re likely to get a positive response.
Don’t fall into the trap of listing every skill under the sun on your resume — this isn’t what the hiring manager wants to see and it won’t set you up for workplace success. Instead, re-read the job description to see what communication skills are essential. Then, personalize your cover letter and resume to include only the most relevant skills the hiring manager is looking for.
In your cover letter, you can go into more detail by highlighting situations where you used these communication skills and their impact or even discuss them in more depth in your eventual job interview.
But the key thing when it comes to communication skills for workplace success is not to stop once you land your dream role. If you want to make a lasting impression, use every opportunity to showcase your communication skills and stand out from the rest.