Whether you’re helping a customer troubleshooting an issue or giving your boss a project update, you need to communicate effectively and concisely. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Most people don’t take the time to improve these skills. Those who DO are ahead of the game!
Be social. Breaking the ice and talking to someone you don’t know is a great way to learn about how to communicate with them, and see how they respond to different situations. Remember, each employee is different.
Become multilingual. Being able to speak more than one language is a huge benefit. It makes it easier to communicate, obviously, can help put the other person at ease, and make you a more valuable team member.
Avoid jargon, especially TLAs (three-letter acronyms). Just because POS and LOL are widely used, don’t assume everyone knows what they mean. One acronym can have several different meanings. For example, POS could mean Point of Service to some, Point of Sale to others, and to some it could even mean Post Office Services… you get the idea.
Learn to say “no.” As tempting as it may be to say “yes” to every request made of you, it can set you up for failure. Don’t create an unmanageable workload for yourself.
Handle conflict well. Conflict resolution skills can help you diffuse contentious situations. Think about the language you use during such situations, (“I feel” vs “You said/did”). Seek compromise, remain in control of your emotions, and think about what non-verbal cues you may be showing. Honing in on these skills can help you deal with difficult coworkers and improve working relationships.
Make the complex simple. In IT, it’s not uncommon to use language that might fly over the head of the average Joe (i.e. non-IT coworkers). Being able to simplify what you’re saying without demeaning the other person is a great skill to have.
Don’t overdo it. It’s always good to keep people in the loop about projects or issues but you don’t want to come across as overbearing or annoying.
Personalize conversations. This goes hand-in-hand with “Be Social.” Not everyone communicates in the same way. One person might respond better to written cues, while another does better with visual ones. Knowing how to cater to your audience goes a long way toward overall effectiveness.
Be short and to the point. Time is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is waste someone’s time. Be clear and concise. Rambling on can diminish what you’re trying to communicate.
Be a good listener. Communicating is a two-way street. Hear what people have to say before you react. Understanding what’s at stake and the feelings of everyone involved is crucial to effective communication, and ultimately, success.
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