Improving Your Communication Skills

Improving Your Communication Skills

Communication at Work

Having your say at work – improving verbal communication skills

Having effective verbal communication skills is a major asset in many different workplace situations, including:

  • Delivering a formal business presentation
  • Delivering some form of training, coaching or structured feedback to a colleague or a group of colleagues
  • Persuading your bosses that changes need to be made to processes and procedures – this is most likely to be relevant if you hold a quality control, audit or similar role
  • Negotiating to secure a pay rise, flexible working arrangement or other improvement in your working conditions

Some tips you could use in this respect include:

  • Prepare whatever you are going to say in advance. This is important for all four situations listed above
  • In any of the listed situations, try and avoid industry jargon unless you are totally confident the audience will understand what you mean
  • In any of these situations, listen carefully to the responses you get and think about how to reply to their queries or concerns
  • If you have a formal presentation coming up, try to get a colleague or someone you live with to listen to a ‘trial run’. Ask them to deliver constructive feedback on how you come across, and consider any changes to the content or delivery method of the presentation following this feedback
  • If you are preparing a presentation, find out who the audience is and what they already know about the topic, so you know at what level to pitch your presentation
  • If you are delivering training, coaching or feedback, think about what good practice examples you can use to illustrate the points you are making. Make the feedback as specific as you can – don’t just say ‘you need to improve your skills in communication’ or something similar; instead explain exactly what you believe the person needs to work on
  • If you are persuading management to change processes and procedures, back up your arguments by making reference to regulatory rulebooks and the like. Also encourage management to think about the regulatory, legal or other consequences of not making the changes you are seeking
  • If you are asking for a pay rise, seek out evidence of what the going rate for your role is, and make a list of all your work-related achievements
  • If you are seeking increased flexibility in your working arrangements, stress to your bosses how agreeing to your request might have a positive effect for the company, e.g. in terms of costs, efficiency or practicality
  • Make a point of doing more reading in general, whether its newspapers, trade magazines, books etc. This can help you boost your vocabulary and learn more about grammar and how to structure phrases and sentences

Search For a Job