Communication is one of the fundamental skills for our professional and personal development. What would we become if we couldn’t communicate? How can it affect the productivity and well-being of your organization? In this Wemby article, we explain the importance of adequate constructive communication, and we offer you some strategies to develop this skill.
The importance of communication
A good leader must be able to share messages and build connections quickly and efficiently. In this El Locutorio article, the author explains how communication plays a vital role in leadership, and how every message counts. Learning to prioritize proper communication will help to ensure that your message reaches a greater number of people without alterations.
In addition, the recent pandemic has caused the places, rhythms and times of work to change and therefore the way we communicate has also had to change. This article from the journal “Muy Interesante” elaborates on a possible negative impact as a result of work from home, mentioning that teamwork and communication have been reduced by working from home. “Isolation made it difficult for employees to share information, which could have implications for a company’s productivity and innovation.” In remote communication, the message is more susceptible to being misinterpreted and the effect of immediacy is lost. For this reason, it is so important to deliver clear and concise messages, as well as practicing empathy to avoid misunderstandings.
Benefits of assertive communication include:
- Handle conflicts quickly and effectively.
- Manage complex negotiations successfully.
- Favor adequate decision-making.
- As Eduardo Valdez Bonilla explains in #Linkedin; effectively express our opinions and wishes.
- Improve teamwork, since it facilitates the understanding of agreements and disagreements with the deliverables.
5 tips for effective communication at work
1. Prepare the message in advance
Before launching any message, it can help you to ask yourself certain questions. Who am I going to tell? For what purpose? When is the best time to do it?
Knowing beforehand your audience, the purpose and the best occasion will favor effective communication at work.
2. Where do I communicate what things?
If it is a distance communication, the most logical thing may be to differentiate between urgent and important, as we explain in this Wemby article.
- Is it urgent? Use some means of instant messaging.
- Is it important? Can it wait? Maybe emails will do the trick.
- Does it require direct communication? Schedule an online meeting.
The same happens in face-to-face work, if you have to communicate with another colleague: Is it time to interrupt their work or would it be more convenient to schedule a meeting?
3. Encourage feedback in communication
As Julia Martins at Asana explains, it is likely that if you don’t ask others for feedback, you will never receive it. Encouraging this feedback as part of the established communication style, will favor clarity and therefore constant improvement if it is done properly.
4. Improve your empathy
Empathy is key to constructive and assertive communication. Try to understand the position of others and to express yours adequately. Express your personal opinions from messages formulated in first person, proposing solutions if you do not agree with something.
5. Take care of your non-verbal communication
Non-verbal expression is as important as verbal expression, since it gives us a lot of information. The Santander Scholarships team, explains how controlling the body can also help you achieve more effective communication.
What do our Wemby experts say?
Teresa Salgado, one of our Wemby psychotherapists, also highlights some benefits of constructive communication:
- Avoid misunderstandings and enjoy healthy relationships.
- Favor the coherence of our message.
- Achieve effective communication as human beings
- Reduce stress, anxiety and burnout.
- Learn to manage conflicts and set limits without blame.
In addition, Teresa explains to us how it is estimated that around 75% of conflicts in the work environment derive from a lack of constructive communication.
The pillars of constructive communication are assertiveness and active listening. It is about respecting myself and respecting you, sending messages adapted to this structure: “I understand that you … but now / at this moment / today, I …” and end with a constructive proposal, something beneficial for both parties: “what do you think if … ”. With active listening I make sure that I am understanding the other’s message by constantly paraphrasing and clarifying it.
Linguistic and paralinguistic communication
Open questions, facilitating words such as: “sometimes” instead of “never or always”; or “challenge” instead of “problem” favor communication. It also helps to send the messages in first person, from the “I”, “it seems to me that …”. This is one more example of empathy, since there are always many interpretations of the same scene.
Finally Teresa also mentions non-verbal language since our whole body accompanies communication. The posture, the look or the hands can potentially speak “for themselves”.
At Wemby we know that if we sow kindness, respect and active listening, we will reap peace, friendship, cooperation, efficiency and success.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all. I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.
If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.