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Improving communication at work and personally

Improving communication at work and personally

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Communication is a fundamental element of work and personal relationships. However, sometimes things get lost in translation and what we mean doesn’t necessarily get through. From misunderstandings to conflict, poor communication never really ends well, but there are some things you can do to improve your communication skills, no matter who you’re talking to.

Focus on the conversation

For many people, poor communication stems from not listening properly to what’s being said. In work, it can be easy to dream off into your own little world during a boring meeting, at home, concentrating on what each of the children are saying at the same time can be tricky. By focussing on the conversation, you can pre-empt any misunderstandings through listening properly. Take notes if you think you may forget what has been said. Repeat the main points back to the other person, to make sure you’ve got them right. Avoid multi tasking, as when you’re checking your phone, trying to finish off a task or thinking about everything else you have to do today, it’s likely you’ll miss non-verbal cues.

Non-verbal signals

When talking to someone, it’s important to take non-verbal signals or body language into account. Facial expressions, eye contact, crossing or uncrossing of arms, foot tapping or pointing can all be as effective as words. Take tone of voice into account too. A sentence uttered in a harsh voice can be interpreted totally different to the same thing said in a more friendly tone.

Consider the other person

How we communicate often depends on the person we’re talking to. For example, you’d speak differently to a potential employer in a job interview, than you would to a close friend over a glass of wine. Knowing what’s happening in other people’s lives will help you communicate effectively, as you’ll be more aware of what kind of tone to take.

Improving communication at work and personally


People are drawn to somebody who can make them laugh or smile. Laughing releases endorphins that reduce anxiety, meeting a new person can be more relaxed when you enjoy a joke together. Smiling also makes people feel more comfortable, sending the message that you’re friendly and cheerful. If people have this impression, they are more likely to warm to you. So don’t be afraid to be funny, but make sure your humour is appropriate for the audience and the situation.

Written communication

In a world of text messaging, email and social media, it can be easy for your intended comments to be taken the wrong way. Before you click the send icon, read over what you’ve written and think about how it reads. Is your point obvious? Could it be taken more than one way? Make sure your sentences are clear and concise and that your intended message shines through. Finally, don’t rely on emojis to let people know you’re saying something with a tongue in cheek attitude. Effective communication is an integral part of every day life and without it you risk offending people, causing conflict or getting into a misunderstanding. Whether you’re talking or listening, it’s important to focus on the whole shebang, not just the words themselves.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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