70% of workplace mistakes are the result of poor
communication. How well you communicate affects everything you do in the
workplace. If misunderstandings frequently occur, it’s time to take a step back
and think about your communication approach. How do you know if what you say is
1. Before you speak, think about your audience.
Is the same mistake always reoccurring even though you’ve
explained a process many times? The root cause of this problem may be how you
are presenting the information. Communication styles vary from person to
person. One of the best clues to how
another person communicates is by observing how they present information to
you. When interacting with your
co-worker, ask yourself the following questions.
Question 1: Is the person outgoing or reserved?
Outgoing people tend to listen more when you show enthusiasm
for your topic. Ask questions throughout the discussion and keep them involved on
a personal level.
If you are working with a more reserved person you need to
behave in a more business-like manner.
Question 2: Is the person task oriented or people oriented?
Task oriented people are interested in facts,
data and the process of how to get the job done. People-oriented individuals
are more interested in hearing personal stories about experiences.
2. Ask questions after your done speaking
It is important to verify the receiver understands the correct
meaning of what you are trying to communicate. Asking the person to repeat your
message is the easiest way to get confirmation. Remember to soften your
approach by moderating your tone of voice and keeping your body language in
Example questions include:
- I’m not sure I communicated my intentions
correctly. What message did you hear?
- I may have missed a few steps in the process.
Could you repeat what I said? I just want to make sure I was clear.
3. Observe Non Verbal Communication Clues
In a 1971 study, Professor Albert Mehrabian discovered the
7% Rule to Communication, which states that only 7 percent of communication is
verbal. The other 93% of communication is nonverbal. The non-verbal component
was 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Many different factors influence
people’s body language. These factors include the person’s culture and
ethnicity, age, and gender. You should
never make an assumption of understanding based solely on body language. But in
general, here are a few clues that someone understands what you are saying.
- Uncrossed arms or legs shows the person is
getting more comfortable.
- Leaning forward or moving closer shows interest
- Maintaining eye contact is a signal of
- Clinched or
hidden hands is a negative signal
- Moving away from you shows discomfort
- Limiting eye contact shows boredom
Strong communication skills can benefit anyone. For more
information on developing stronger communication skills, contact us, or attend
one or all of our Leadership Certificate Series courses.