6 tips to improve your workplace communication

Published on 21-01-2020

In recent years, open corporate cultures, and their association with being able to communicate properly and openly, have become increasingly important. Yet research shows that a large proportion of employees are dissatisfied with the internal openness and communication within their company. Good workplace communication not only ensures a pleasant atmosphere and cooperation, but is also directly connected to the profitability of the company. Under the motto “communication is something you can learn”, here are six tips from the Dutch e-book “Succesvol Communiceren” (ICM Opleidingen & Trainingen) for you to improve workplace communication and professional relationships.

This article is a translation of our Dutch blog post “Verbeter de communicatie op de werkvloer met deze 6 tips”

Tip 1: Every person has two ears and one mouth

In other words: listen twice as much as you talk. Paying attention to each other literally ensures a connection between people. Research from KMPG shows that only two in five employees feel heard by their supervisor. But listening is not always easy. Try listening carefully to someone if you are in a hurry or have a deadline. Your own thoughts, stress or wish to speak yourself literally cause miscommunication. Be aware that it is not your words that stick in the mind, but the feeling that you give someone. What is the right solution that helps you listen better?

  • To listen carefully, you first have to become relaxed, calm your thoughts;
  • Be patient, this creates space for the other to have their say;
  • Keep an open attitude in mind. Look at your conversation partner and make sounds like “hmm” and “yes, I get it”;
  • Be aware of the NIVEA effect (Niet Invullen Voor Een Ander). In English this literally translates to: Do Not Fill In For Another. Try not to assume what the feelings or thoughts of the other person are – most of the time your assumptions will be wrong – but ask them what they think or feel instead.

Tip 2: Display a positive attitude

Attitude and posture can make or break a conversation. Negativity attracts negativity, while you just want to have a pleasant conversation. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that you can use if you feel that a conversation with a colleague leads to a heated discussion.

  • Through body language, literally invite the other person to come closer;
  • Have faith in the other and in yourself;
  • Ask colleagues for feedback on your own behavior;
  • Point out the pattern that you notice in a discussion.

Reading tip: This is how you deal with cultural differences in the workplace

Tip 3: That which receives attention grows

We are all so busy. Calendars are full to the brim and sometimes there’s hardly any time for (private) meetings. Free up time for someone else. Both at work and in your private life. How do you find that better balance in your life?

  • Plan the time to discuss something quietly with someone;
  • Undertake things with your colleagues outside working hours;
  • Plan one day a week, if possible, to make appointments with friends or schedule me-time;
  • Also read our article about work stress.

Tip 4: Pay attention to your body language

Words only determine 7 percent of our communication. The way we say something determines 23% and the vast majority (70%) is transmitted through non-verbal communication. Regarding this topic the book mentions: “Don’t be under the illusion that others don’t perceive what we think of something, or someone, if we don’t express this. They do see it.” So it’s really not a bad idea to look critically at your own body language.

  • Don’t cross your arms during a conversation;
  • See a stranger as a friend you’ve never met;
  • Turn completely towards the other; this way you come across as interested;
  • In a meeting, sit next to someone with whom you disagree. Unconsciously you often literally sit opposite that person, while you are more connected to each other next to each other. It is easier to come to an agreement if you sit next to each other.

Reading tip: Happiness at Work [white paper]

Tip 5: Put your own pride aside

During a fight or disagreement it’s sometimes difficult to put aside your pride. Yet it can be very valuable to develop that quality. How do you do it? First by asking yourself: do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Furthermore:

  • Be the first to say sorry;
  • Don’t always stick to wanting to be right, this leads to discussions that go nowhere;
  • Don’t just blame others, dare to look at your own actions or mistakes.

Tip 6: Discover the power of your own smile!

On average children laugh two hundred times a day, adults only fifteen times! That’s a shame, considering laughter has magical powers. It is contagious, relaxing and promotes positive communication. How can you apply this yourself?

  • Do not take yourself too seriously; you can work hard and be fun at the same time;
  • It’s a cliché, but go do fun things and enjoy every moment;
  • And be more aware of those moments.

This article has been made possible by: 10 tips voor Succesvol Communiceren, ICM Opleidingen & Trainingen

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