Power Communication at Work in 2020: The Definitive Tip-List
December 28, 2019
Image from https://www.nextiva.com/blog/business-communication-styles.html
Here at TalkMeUp, our number one focus is making you a better communicator at work, whether you’re talking to colleagues, customers, your boss, or even the office dog.
In the past year, we’ve written blog posts on everything from how to eliminate nervousness in public speaking to giving you a simple formula for a personal elevator pitch, which by the way, you should have because it’s crucial to introducing yourself in the business world and telling others why they should listen to you.
A few pieces of workplace communication advice came up over and over, and we’re sure they will again this upcoming year. Without further ado, here’s our definite list of communication tips so you can kill it at work in 2020.
1. Actively listen.
Active listening is listening to understand rather than listening to reply. It’s focused on capturing the interlocutor’s meaning and the feelings associated with the words spoken. Indeed, when we listen to understand, it’s easier to pick up on communication that’s both implied or concealed. Moreover, we create deeper relationships, improve teamwork productivity, and enhance our position as thoughtful teammates or leaders.
A good rule of thumb to be a better listener: in a two-way conversation, keep your speaking time to 50%.
2. Mind body language and nonverbal communication.
One good reason to listen rather than talk is to pick up on the other person’s body language and nonverbal speech, which in some ways is another language unto itself. Nonverbal messages are constantly being communicated by others, whether it’s facial expressions, hand gestures, eye movements or more.
Pay attention to body language if you want to get a full picture of what’s being communicated to you.
3. Use effective body language.
When we pay attention to the body language and micro-expressions of others, it’s easier for us to effectively regulate our own.
When communicating at work, use one of two forms of body language: affirming or mirroring.
Affirming body language tells the other person you’re listening to what they’re saying— a head nod or head tilt. Mirroring body language tells them you feel what they’re saying—for example, echoing back joy, fear, or disappointment using facial expressions or arm placement.
4. Establish good eye contact.
Eye contact can produce a strong, subconscious connection between you and the person(s) you’re talking to. Use it appropriately if you want to unlock success in 2020.
Remember to always look at who you’re talking to from start to finish, establishing eye contact with eyes, not foreheads. Turn your body towards the person(s) and maintain eye contact for 4-5 seconds at a time, but not too long or you might come off as rude or aggressive.
Be consistent in your gaze, not fragmented; control your blink rate; and remember that maintaining good eye contact is ultimately about showing the other person you’re listening and respect them.
5. Use stories to communicate.
Telling a powerful story is a secret weapon in communicating at work, whether for a sales pitch or celebratory speech. In fact, psychologist Jerome Bruner from Harvard University suggested that facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story.
So when you communicate, leverage the art of the story. Know who your audience is, what they’re interested in, what their pain points and values are, and tailor your storyline to what will resonate with them. Pick an easy to follow structure so you won’t forget your story mid-delivery.
And finally, try to choose a story with contrast. Every memorable story has a problem and hero to solve it. If you can, why not make your audience the hero of the story? They’ll appreciate it and remember the power of what you’ve said.