Most of us work with people in one way or another, whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit or a student organization on a college campus.
You know that if you are a part of one of these institutions, effective communication is something that is extremely vital to enhance the organization’s work performance and your own personal goals.
According to an article in Business News Daily, communication, dependability and commitment are just a few of the skills that any employer of any company wants you to have. Communication skills help you when it comes to completing challenging tasks with your co-workers, building long-lasting work relationships with your bosses (which could lead you to a potential promotion in your field of work) and of course learning how to self-regulate.
I work in both the print and broadcast newsrooms on my college campus. You would think since most of us are Mass Communications majors, we know how to effectively work with one another all of the time, based on the skill sets that our job requires, but we all still have some issues along the way.
Our job requires us to multi-task on various projects throughout the day that usually require a heavy amount of independent work and intense focus, which causes us to lose track of time and forget to tell our cohorts exactly what we are doing to prepare for the nightly newscast or the next print issue.
I have to work with those who don’t share the same ideas as me on how tasks should be completed, which often results in some minor challenges, but it’s just a part of learning about how to work in the real world. Here are some quick reminders on how to create a healthy working environment for yourself and others by developing effective habits in workplace communication with a mixture of good and bad examples to back up each point.
- Be mindful of others
Whatever environment you work in, it is always a good idea to take responsibility for your words and actions. People around you don’t always share the same views on society, politics and organizational processes as you do nor do they live the exact same lifestyle as you. Let’s look at the show “The Office” for an example:
In one episode, Michael makes Oscar (an accountant who has not come out of the closet to his co-workers) very uncomfortable when he drags everyone into the conference room to have a discussion about the “gay community” Michael storms out of his office and screams to the entire branch of his company “I don’t care if you are gay, straight or lesbian or overweight, just GET IN HERE!”
As you can see, Michael is not mindful of his employees which causes everyone great discomfort.
- Build trusting relationships with your coworkers
By being mindful of your coworkers, you can build their trust and they can have your back if any problems arise. Even if you are not a big fan of the person, it is still a good idea to build at least a mutual trust relationship because you never know what can happen, no matter what kind of environment you work in.
For those that don’t know, putting together a broadcast is a lot of strenuous work. You have several different tasks you have to complete within the first few hours of the morning. With classes on top of that it makes the day a lot more condensed than if I didn’t have any that day. Let’s say I am working on confirming a story (when you get a story from a different news organization and you have to make it your own by gathering your own facts directly from the source, not the news organization) and before I can find all of the different places I need to contact (the police, a communications director for a company, the City of St. Cloud , etc.) I have to go to class, where I cannot necessarily answer my phone. Due to the fact that I have a good relationship with my producers, I can rely on them to confirm the story I need when I am not around. This may be just one example, but anyone can think of a situation where they need to put their trust in someone else’s hands or vice-versa.
- Avoid gossiping
Let’s face it; we’ve heard rumors before. We have had rumors spread about us. They are not fun for ANYONE. While it may be tempting to spread a story about someone in your workspace based on an anecdote you have heard about them from another co-worker, gossiping is an ineffective use of time and can emotionally damage other people in your workspace which doesn’t make it a safe habitat for productivity and creativity. For example:
Let’s say you are saying something about how one of your coworkers, Sally, about how she has a horrible sense of fashion — and everyone else in your workspace picks up on it. Then when Sally swings by the water cooler during the lunch break, everyone goes silent. She will probably come to the conclusion that everyone is talking about her when people are on their lunch break. Sally is not going to feel very welcome in that particular workspace environment, which shouldn’t happen to anyone. However, it is acceptable to gossip about politics, public figures and other things that do not revolve around the people in your workspace.
- Be an active listener
While avoiding office gossip and gaining trust with your colleagues is very important, people also need to have a strong set of listening skills when it comes to effective workplace communication. According to the website Mindtools.com, active listening is making sure you listen to exactly what the person is saying so that you can make sure you get the information right the first time. Active listening comes in handy, especially when it comes to project management. Over the course of your career, whatever it may be, your boss will assign you some kind of project. Much like in college, if you do not jot down everything your project leader says and listen to exactly what they want in that assignment, they will not be happy with you, which can lead to the downfall of your entire team. To end on a more positive note, if you are an active listener, people will be more likely to engage with you and it could potentially score you some brownie points with your boss.
- Embrace diversity
As globalization brings the business world closer together, you will probably have to work with others that are from a different country, speak another language and have a different perspective on politics, the economy and various social issues. With that being said, this is very similar to being mindful, except on a global scale. Depending on what your profession is, you may have to travel an extensive amount to other parts of the world where you are the minority. It is vital to have a basic understanding of different cultures around the world to connect and do business with them. Always make sure to be mindful and open to different types of societies and culture whose views may differ from yours.
Understanding effective workplace communication is important, but if you take these basic examples and apply them to your everyday life in the workplace it can be beneficial to you and your coworkers. Some of the advantages of having positive and effective communication in the workplace are:
ï Clear goals
ï Increased productivity
ï Increased employee job satisfaction
ï Effective teamwork and relationship building
ï Constructive criticism
Wherever you end up working, organizations will always value effective workplace communication skills in order to enhance the quality of work the company produces and increase the satisfaction of the employees working for the company.