How is communication flowing in your workplace?
- If you’re like 93% of business leaders (according to a recent survey), you agree that communication is the backbone of a business.
- AND if you’re like 86% of workers, you’re facing communication issues at work, mostly around responsiveness and clarity.
- AND if you’re like 50% of workers, you’re experiencing miscommunication at least daily.
Apparently, communication flow isn’t going so well in many workplaces.
Another interesting finding of the study: Confidence seems to play a role in today’s digital ecosystem of workplace interactions. Specifically, knowledge workers who felt confident in their own written communication skills were more likely to perceive the written communication received from others to be effective. In fact, 66% of confident writers said they perceived others’ communication to be effective, while only 10% of unconfident writers perceived others’ communication to be effective.
The first step in building confidence in workplace communication is understanding what confidence IS and what it IS NOT:
What confidence IS:
- Belief in yourself
- Helpful in navigating challenges
- Shows up in different ways
- Gained through action
- An entitlement
What confidence IS NOT:
- The absence of fear
- The same as competence
- Destroyed by criticism
- Increased through self-judgment
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, leadership coach Ann Howell writes, “The important thing to remember is that low confidence is not an inherent flaw, and it doesn’t have to define you. Confidence can be learned and practiced.”
How can you build confidence in communication skills? Here are a few tips:
- ‘I’ statements vs ‘You’ statements – When expressing your experience, start sentences with ‘I’ instead of ‘You’ to avoid triggering tension or debate. That way, you are expressing your own truth, which is fact-based (no one can argue with your feelings). On the other hand, ‘you’ statements could be mired in assumptions and predictions about another person’s feelings or motivations, which can lead to defensiveness on their part.Consider these examples:
“I felt dismissed in the quarterly meeting when you interrupted me.”“You dismissed me during the quarterly meeting by interrupting.”The former is a statement of fact that is difficult to debate, while the latter is an invitation for disagreement and potential misunderstanding.
- Be an active listener – Focus on the speaker and what is being said, then repeat back some of what you hear. Interruption or over-talking are both non-starters. Remove distractions. Maintain eye contact to ensure the other feels seen and heard.
- Lose the apologies and qualifiers – Resist diminishing shared thoughts and opinions by starting statements with, “This may sound silly,” or “I’m just a rookie, but..” and reserve apologies for times when they are required. There’s no reason to apologize for having a difference of opinion or for sharing an idea. An article in Forbes puts it this way: “Of course, there are times when an apology is necessary. However, apologizing for being afraid of offending someone, putting forward an idea, or because you’re worried you will be judged is not effective.”
Please feel free to share this with anyone who may find it interesting or helpful.
If you or your team is struggling with confident communication flow, I can help. Email me at email@example.com or schedule a discovery call here.