How to be both a personal and professional communicator
When you're in a hurry, it can be hard to stop what you're doing at work and to explain something in a personable and effective way. It's too tempting to just flick a quick email over to someone in the digital age and think "out of sight, out of mind." But, most people appreciate professional and personal face to face conversation, making it a necessary skill to learn for business.
People value face to face communication
The majority of both millennials and non-millennials say they prefer talking in person.
Deloitte's research shows that the majority of both millennials and non-millennials say they prefer talking in person. This finding dispels some myths about how anti-social people are with the rise of technology.
If face-time is the preferred method of communication for all ages in the workplace, this is an area all employees should be aware of and be working on. It is something that is particularly useful for older employees working on their professional development to keep in mind about younger people. They, young people, value in person communication just as older workers do.
How to practise effective communication
1) Keep it simple
Here at Implement Online, we teach effective communication and how to explain something complex in a simple way.
"Be straightforward with people when the complaint is one that directly affects your relationship. Beating around the bush runs the risk that they will not understand the message," says PhD. Professor Art Markman of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas.
Simplification is essential because, at the end of the day, you're trying to give someone important information as quickly as possible.
2) Use friendly body language
That being said, you don't want to sacrifice politeness for simplicity. In fact, friendly body language can help you communicate a point more clearly.
The University of Colorado's Conflict Research Consortium explains how body language can greatly affect how a person interprets the information. A friendly expression, direct eye contact and an even tone can go a long way in saying what you want to say without your intent being misconstrued.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow further supported this finding. Apparently, it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds of looking into someone's facial expression to ascertain a person's emotional state. The researchers were able to see how the brain scans the face, first taking in the whole, overall face then it focuses in on specific features like a smiling mouth or wide, fearful eyes. So, remember how much your eyes do the talking when in an interview or a meeting.
3) Tell a story to get people listening
Using story telling methods to communicate is also effective. It seems hard to do when talking about feasibility reports, but if you can find a way to tell a story, you'd be surprised how well-received it is.
Stanford cognitive psychologist Herbert Clark has carried out groundbreaking research on what he calls "depicting," or, in other words, the power of hand gestures and describing a scene. He explains how the academic world has very little understanding of the power of non-verbal communication. But it makes up so much of our everyday communication. Clark says that "without depictions, talk would be flat, lifeless and sometimes even impossible."
With technology, the "depicting" part of communication would be lost since face to face communication is required to see those grand gestures and expressions.
"Depicting are physical scenes that people stage for others to use in imagining the scenes they are depicting," Clark states.
So, depicting sparks the imagination of the listener. Take not of this means of communication that you already use more than you think, but apply to the workplace to engage your listeners.Such techniques are more dramatic, but they work in catching people's attention and make the conversation more interesting and memorable.
Everyone appreciates showing your personality while remaining professional
Both friendly body language and the story telling technique are more personal approaches to communication that will help you in your development as an employee. The Deloitte study also found that people today, especially millennials, appreciate people talking in a more down-to-Earth way. And both generations agree that sharing your personality is important in the workplace. Ultimately, millennials value sharing personality more, but the point is that everyone appreciates a more personal way of talking to one another.
Here at Implement Online, we have an e-course on how to conduct yourself in the office by balancing professionalism and being personable.