communication skills

It’s a common misconception that powerful communication skills come naturally to some and can’t be taught.

So how can you improve your communication skills? In this article, we’ll discuss 5 communication skills managers need:

1. Listening

One of the most critical skills you need as a manager is to hear what your team has to say. Re-state their main points, clarify what you think you heard, and focus on absorbing what they say, not your next talking point.

If your team doesn’t have the confidence that you can patiently hear them, they will not come to you with their issues or problems. 

Here are some key differences between an effective listener, and an ineffective listener.

Effective listeners:

  • Pay attention to the message
  • Listen open-mindedly
  • Convey through body language and eye contact that they are listening and open to the message
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Respond with thoughtful questions

Ineffective listeners:

  • Are disengaged
  • Assume that they already know and understand what the other person is saying
  • Convey that they are checked out of the conversation with their body language
  • Interrupt
  • Are distracted

2. Communicating verbally

Focus on how you communicate with your team. While not every message at the workplace needs to be transmitted through email, verbal communication comes in handy. 

Remember to choose your words wisely and set the content well before speaking on any important matters.  Maintain a comfortable level of eye contact.

Every time you communicate with an employee, answer the questions:

  • What are their interests? 
  • Do they have specific communication preferences?  
  • What do they need to know, and what do they want to know?

3. Recognizing team members

Recognition is the recipe for complete success when you’re trying to be a better manager. Your job as a leader is not just to make sure that your team delivers the task but also to appreciate what they do. 

Especially when employees are working in a large group, their efforts go unnoticed. Not every employee might be the one to prepare presentations or polish up the end, where most of the efforts are recognized. Some might even be putting up the missing piece at the beginning of a job leading to its end success. 

You must go ahead and appreciate your employees using an employee recognition tool. This sends across a positive message and makes them feel valued. 

4. Personalize communication

You wouldn’t walk into a Chinese restaurant and order a pizza, right?

Figuring out the communication preferences of your team members is important to ensure that your messages resonate. If you’re not sure about your employees’ communication preferences, don’t be afraid to ask.

Does Employee A prefer written communication over verbal? Send them an email. 

Does Employee B seem to respond better during face-to-face meetings? Communicate with them that way.

5. Writing

Writing skills are an essential aspect of communication, no matter what. Most of the formal work has to be sent via emails and other forms of written communication.

Always follow this tip in written communication – use simple and straightforward language to make your messages easily understandable and leave no room for misinterpretation.

Try this exercise next time you send an email or message to your team: 

  • Write the message as you normally would 
  • Try and find one sentence that you can completely eliminate 
  • Identify any long or complicated words and phrases you can replace

The article was originally published at Springworks Blog