Top Tips to Improve Communications!
1. Active listening
Think you are a great listener? According to one survey, (ok …it was in Cosmopolitan!) everyone thinks that they are a great driver, a great lover, and a great listener!
Really actively listening to customers and colleagues does two things…
It makes them feel valued, and …you get information from them. An Italian proverb says (or was it Jewish?) From speaking comes repentance from listening wisdom! Active listening is just that…
It’s encouraging the talker and asking questions, summarising and paraphrasing.
2. Body language
Using closed body language can give the impression that you are fed up, angry, or defensive. According to one researcher, 55% of our communication is centrered about body language and appearance. (I don’t believe a word of that but it’s certainly very high!)
3. Influencing skills
Always think …”What’s in it for them?” Be prepared to ‘sell’ your ideas!
Also, try the alternative close …offer options …all of which are favourable to you…like “Can you do it by today or tomorrow?”
4. Making every contact a ‘quality contact’
Here’s the philosophy of the quality contact…every contact that you have with internal and external customers achieves its communication objective but leaves the other person feeling ‘good’, so next time that they hear your voice or see your name it gives them the feel good factor! Does anyone give you the feel sick/lousy factor as soon as they walk into your office? This philosophy first came from Thames Valley Police many years ago during their quality initiative.
5. Using appropriate voice tone
You know that it isn’t what you say…it is the way that you say it …you can say the same thing and whilst the words can be caring and nice one minute spoken in different voice tone and those same words can make you sound threatening, aggressive, condescending, or aggravated!
6. Being assertive
Not aggressive, not passive…say what you want…say it clearly and specifically whilst taking the other persons feelings and rights into account.
7. Staying positive
People who are upbeat are nicer to have around and you are more likely to want to spend time in their company, unless … hanging around with depressives rocks your boat! It costs nothing to stay cheerful and positive yet this can change the whole climate of your working environment. Try to put a positive spin on things.
8. Using the telephone effectively
Biggest mistakes? Rambling, murmuring, muttering and not keeping it focused and friendly. When making call have in mind your objective. What do you want to get out of this call? Remember that they can’t see your cheerful smiling face so verbal nods are required just to let the person on the other know that you are still listening!
9. Communicating with emails
In an effort to be efficient we sometimes forget the pleasantries…please, and thank you, and even worse forget that it is so easy to sound cold and harsh in print.