How to Communicate With Colleagues & Customers
Better communication leads to a more productive workplace, which in turn increases a company’s revenue. The consequences of poor and ineffective communication can be serious. Miscommunication between colleagues can lead to a halt in business operations. Miscommunication with customers often results in the loss of business. Good communication between colleagues and customers begins with effective communication skills and knowledge of successful workplace communication strategy.
Learn effective nonverbal communication skills. It’s important to understand the various levels of communication. People often think of communication as talking and writing, but body language is another form of communication. Smiles and inviting gestures show a positive attitude toward the people you communicate with.
Rephrase what others say. When having a conversation, listen to what others are saying, then rephrase and repeat back their important points. This shows them that you’re listening, which engenders trust, and it will help you remember vital information from the conversation. To get your own points across, use real-life examples from your own experiences and from situations with which your audience can easily relate.
Refrain from interrupting. When having conversations with family and friends, it’s OK (though maybe a little rude) to interrupt, but interruptions in the workplace are not acceptable. It can be hard to avoid interrupting, especially if colleagues or customers pose a problem that you’re eager to fix, but interrupting them with your idea will be frustrating to them.
Avoid confusing negative questions. Avoid asking negative questions that can’t be answered with a “yes." These questions can begin with, “You didn’t do ... ," “You don’t have ...," and “You never ..." Instead, rephrase so that the questions sound and look like questions (Did you ..., Do you ..., Have you ...). This minimizes confusion and makes conversation go much quicker.
Use clear, concise, relevant and harmless language. Be sensitive to the fact that everyone has different levels of knowledge and areas of expertise. When explaining something to a colleague, avoid tech-speak, jargon and potentially confusing acronyms. Mentally scan what you are about to say before you say it to ensure that your meaning cannot be misinterpreted, and never say anything that could be offensive to certain groups or minorities.
Trust your customer. Your customer is attempting to purchase or enjoy your product, and you are there to facilitate his experience. The opinion of your customer is vital to your company, and a negative communication experience can be devastating to your business. Word of mouth about negative exchanges spreads like wildfire in the digital communications age.