By Yitz Kolodny and Jessica A. Correll
You have heard it a thousand times— “communication is important.” But communication styles, like pant styles, vary among generations, genders, and level of authority. Most people think they are expressing their thoughts in a way that everyone understands, however, that is rarely the case. More often, people are not always aware of non-verbal cues including body language and tone and how such cues are perceived by others. The easiest way to become more aware of our behaviors is to seek and give feedback in situations where miscommunication threatens the success of an engagement.
Together, Tax Manager, Yitz Kolodny, and Tax Senior, Jessica Correll, offer three tips to improve communication exchanges among team members.
Communications over email, instant messenger, and even virtual calls can lack important cues as to how to interpret a message. Facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language are missing from written responses and virtual communication. As a result, the tone and message can be misconstrued easily. When working with someone whose style of written communication differs from your own, consider the individual’s personality and adjust your expectations when you interact with them.It is natural for some people to be more flowery while others are more direct. Neither are wrong, but with a compassionate read, it’s easier to get to the point and not be offended by the other person’s style.
If you do encounter a co-worker who communicates differently than you prefer, consider if the topic should be addressed directly with that person or if it can be overlooked.It is preferable to clear any miscommunications when they occur instead of after the instance has passed and gone. We often shy from these discussions because they can be uncomfortable, but we should view them as a tool for a successful engagement and not as a confrontation. Most of the time, the co-worker is unaware that their communication style is affecting the engagement and will be willing to adjust to ensure success. By addressing the issue and finding a method that works for both parties, ownership increases.
Communication styles can be difficult to modify, and results may not be seen immediately. It is common to hope one conversation or email will ease any issues. However, it is important to continue to have open communications with co-workers. Dedication to having a conversation about the conversation will, undoubtedly, pay off in the long run.
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Do not underestimate the importance of communication culture in a work environment. It is one of the most important components of job satisfaction for employees. By supporting open and positive lines of communication, you can contribute to the overall dynamic in your workplace.
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