All communication can be grouped into two types: verbal, and nonverbal. Both types are equally important and necessary to communicate effectively.
Improving your communication skills at work can help foster positive relationships with your coworkers, leadership team. Learning how to pick up verbal and non-verbal cues will also help you become a better interviewer during the hiring process.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your verbal and non-verbal communication in the workplace.
Listening is the most underrated communication skill there is. When you have a conversation with someone, how often are you thinking of how you will respond rather than truly understanding what the other person is saying?
This is breeding ground for miscommunication, interruption, and overall a bad conversation. When you truly listen to what someone has to say, it’s a sign of respect to the other person involved in the conversation. Giving yourself the time to process their words will also set you up to ask a better follow-up question, or answer their question more logically. Remember, a good conversation is a balance between talking and listening.
To really understand the importance of body language consider the old adage, ”Actions speak louder than words”. Your body language sets the tone for your conversation. Picture this, your candidate walks into your office and sits down, slumped over in the chair, arms crossed, and eyes rolling.
Is this the candidate you want to hire? Maybe they will surprise you with their words, but their nonverbal communication is already telling you that they do not want to be there. Likewise, when you are interviewing a candidate you want to pay attention to the messages you are giving off with your own body. For example, greeting candidates by standing up, giving a firm handshake, and a smile while introducing yourself.
Another form of good non-verbal communication is eye-contact. Be sure to look your candidate in the eyes as you are having the conversation to signal that you are interested and engaged.
When you are asking questions, try to make them open-ended. Avoid yes or no questions as they typically lead to dead-end conversations. For example, instead of asking “Did that make you upset?”, ask “How did that make you feel” or, “What did you learn from that experience?”.
Not only will this tip help you to remember the candidate or co-worker’s name, it will also make them feel good. People love hearing their own name and talking about themselves. Use this to your advantage to have a good conversation. Ask questions that intrigue the other person and allow them to share about themselves, and always end by wishing them well and using their name.
Unless absolutely necessary, or you think that the other person missed what you said, avoid repeating yourself in a conversation. Repetition signals that your focus is elsewhere, and that you aren’t truly engaged in the conversation.
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