7 ways to improve office communication

Knowing how to communicate with your office mates is the key to keeping operations running smoothly. So many office problems spring from dysfunctional internal communication. Although there’s not much you can do about the rest of your office, being a strong communicator will make you a more efficient and valuable employee – plus it will make your work day easier for everyone. Here are 7 ways to improve office communication. 

 

1. Ask questions

Everyone should be comfortable asking questions at their workplace. It’s important to always ask when you’re unsure of a process, expectation, etc. Whether it’s how to clean the coffee machine, how a new strategy will be implemented, or whether or not you can take a vacation day, questions are the key to understanding how your office works and getting your needs met. That said, keep in mind that there are office manuals and other instruction materials that might have answers to the more simple queries, so do try to be resourceful when you can.

 

improve office communication

 

2. Be direct

Not clearly communicating your needs or problems will only cause more problems. Waiting until a problem becomes a major source of frustration will cause tension at your office. It’s a recipe for misunderstanding and hurt feelings, plus you won’t be able to communicate as cooly or calmly. So next time you have a need or issue to address, talk about it with ease and specificity, stating the problem and why it’s a problem, offering some solutions, if at all possible. Being direct will really help to build better relationships with your colleagues, while also learning how to improve office communication.

 

3. Speak with purpose

During meetings, conferences, or one-on-one chats about work, you should leverage your time to make a statement or pose a question that’s been ruminating. Premeditate what you’d like to say beforehand and don’t let the opportunity to say it pass by. Unless you’re brainstorming, use this chance to talk about something that really matters and something you’ve been thinking about before. If you’re bringing something to your coworker’s attention, it should have some sort of connection to work.

 

4. Listen actively

Listening is something done with intention and attention. It requires focus and energy. Listening and processing what someone else is saying is the most important half of communication. That old saying about having two ears and a mouth (to listen twice as much as we talk) isn’t far off from the truth. If you’re able to pay attention to what your coworkers and boss are saying, you’re much more likely to react and respond in a way that they’re happy with. Good listeners are also more likely to be more intuitive, do their work better and adapt with agility.

 

improve office communication

 

5. Be generous and compassionate

Be nice to the people you work with – and yourself. Have patience and understanding when something doesn’t go ideally and think about how you would want to be treated if something didn’t go as you planned. Friendly reminders will go over better than a scolding.

 

6. Look at people in the eyes & smile

Part of being an effective communicator comes from body language and facial expression. It’s often overlooked as an easy way to improve office communication.  Make an effort to smile and look people in the eyes whenever you’re talking or listening. It will make people feel more at ease around you and more likely to be honest and receptive to whatever you have to say.

 

7. Say “yes” to office bonding outings

Having a relationship outside the office can make communication inside the office much easier. You’ll feel more comfortable overall saying exactly what’s going on, what you need and what you’re proud of.

 

Now that you know how to improve office communication, learn more about how to boost your career with an internship abroad today.

Photos:

1. based on NEC-conference-35, by NEC-conference-35, CC-by-2.0

2. based on ETL, by Mahmoud Hashemi, CC-by-SA 2.0

3. based on Talking with Shirky, by Cole Camplese, CC-by-2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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