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Core Communication Skills

Tags:  Communication Skills, Management, Co-Workers

Technology is great. You can shoot an e-mail to a coworker on the other side of the world or IM the guy working in the cubicle next to you.


The problem with all our technology is that it has removed a certain personal factor and resulted in a bunch of workers who are not comfortable speaking to each other in person. After all, why not let your fingers do the walking instead of your legs?


The issue is that as important as e-mail and text messaging are, face-to-face communication is vital to retaining solid work relationships. If you cannot clearly and concisely deliver and receive a message when you are speaking with someone in person, how can you ever think that your written – e-mail and text – message is going to get your point across?


Besides, building good interpersonal relationships is important to developing your career. Unless you plan on hiding from your boss for the next few years, you have to be able to speak to the people you work with on a daily basis.


If you find you rely on e-mail and IMing more frequently than meeting someone in their office or cubicle, you should follow these Guideposts:

1. Ask questions

People constantly complain about lengthy meetings because they take up so much time. Instead employees try to handle everything via written communications. However, what gets lost is the opportunity to clarify information, handle issues as they arise and interact with your coworkers or boss.


Even if you only take five minutes to work out a new project plan or work arrangement, it's five minutes to have a real conversation where you can ask questions and get all the answers you need in one sitting.  

2. Acknowledge

Face-to-face encounters also allow those involved to hear the same ideas, comments and points of view at once. No second-hand retelling.  By meeting with someone to discuss a topic, you can come to an immediate conclusion and agree on a resolution.


Even if you have to gather additional information and come back at a later date to discuss the topic further, be sure to acknowledge your understanding of what has been discussed thus far.

3. Paraphrase

Communication is not just about talking. It's about listening and more importantly it is about hearing what the other person has said. But how do you know you truly heard and understood someone else's point?


Paraphrasing is the restating or rewording of what the other person has just said to ensure there is no misunderstanding. By paraphrasing you say to your coworker or boss that you are not only listening, but you are hearing them, too.


Communication is an important part of the work day. And while all forms of communication – telephone, e-mail, texting, in-person, video conferencing – have a role in the work world, you shouldn't rely on one more than another. Consider the topic, the intended message and the recipient to decide which is the best method.

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