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Is your communication advancing your career?

illustration of a megaphone

Credit: Dooder / Shutterstock

Is your communication enhancing your career development? Do you welcome others’ ideas? Do you send courteous email messages?

Good communication enhances relationships, contributes to productive work environments, and advances your career. Thinking about what we say and how we say it can minimize misinterpretations.

Communication Tips

  • Trust and respect everyone. Treat others as you wish to be treated and value their opinions. Avoid stereotyping. This reinforces negativity and alienation.
  • Listen without judging. Don’t interrupt, fidget or jump to conclusions before someone finishes a sentence. Ask questions when you’re unsure. Let the speaker know you hear and understand his thoughts. Summarize what you hear to minimize misunderstanding. Consider what someone is feeling but not saying.
  • Use verbal and non verbal strategies. Project a confident, professional, energetic image. Polish verbal skills and use nonverbal cues like a caring touch or smile. These can reinforce messages and establish sincerity. The same sentence can have a different meaning when voice tone differs.
  • Address mistakes and conflict immediately. Before reporting the situation to a supervisor, discuss problems with those directly involved. Aim for win-win solutions. Both parties should express views and document facts. Ensure you understand each other’s viewpoints. Explore potential solutions, and agree on a plan to resolve the conflict.
  • Polish telephone skills. Be courteous. Speak briskly, but pronounce words clearly. Leave concise, understandable messages. Repeat your name and phone number twice. Give the date, time, and reason for your call. State whether you’ll call back or want the person to call. Indicate when you’ll be available.
  • Send professional emails. Be precise, brief, focused. Never type all caps. Think before posting. Avoid offensive language, and don’t criticize or complain. Never respond negatively to inflammatory mail. Schedule meetings to discuss concerns. Review and proofread. Address the recipient to communicate respect, and close with your name and contact information.
  • Keep information flowing. Advise colleagues of progress and stay informed about company and industry news. If you can’t meet deadlines, inform others of developments and modified deadlines.
  • Share credit and praise. Thank, recognize, and specify contributions of colleagues. Praise often, and publicly link praise to a specific activity or attribute.
  • Offer constructive feedback. Instead of criticizing, begin with a compliment, and offer suggestions for improvement. Help others identify and harness strengths.
  • Participate in company projects and social activities. Casual discussions during lunch or coffee breaks can strengthen relationships. Avoid negative chatter.
  • Request feedback. Ask a trustworthy colleague to list two communication strengths and two communication strategies that you could improve upon. Practice refining needed skills.

Refer to Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life for additional communication tips.

Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, coach, speaker, and author of the groundbreaking, award-winner, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, helps individuals manage their careers.


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