Communicating effectively is the first step toward giving a good impression in the workplace. It is a skill used not only during job interviews but also throughout one’s career. Being a strong communicator makes you seem both confident and competent.
Joel Goldstein, world-renowned speaker, bestselling author and leadership consultant, works with companies to develop systems that allow them to train, retain and develop future leaders. Below are some relevant tips he gives on how to speak effectively and professionally at work.
1. Show self-confidence.
Being aware of how you both verbally and nonverbally communicate is indicative of self-confidence. Show confidence with a good posture and avoid crossing your arms in a defensive way. Speak at a volume where everyone in the room can hear you without having to move closer or lean in to hear. Avoid filler words, such as “like” or “um.” Use an active voice and always make eye contact with whomever you are addressing.
2. Be clear when communicating.
To sound professional, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to communicate and how you intend to sound while doing it. So, prepare and think about what you want to say before speaking, and only then do you proceed to communicate.
3. Know how to begin and finish a conversation.
You can only communicate well if you know how to begin and end a conversation. If you mess up or say something wrong in the beginning, things are more likely to go in the wrong direction after that. Staying focused on what you want to communicate is crucial.
4. Use the right tone and words.
Using the right kind of vocabulary and tone is essential to ensure that you sound professional. Always use clear language that cannot be misconstrued. Avoid inserting sarcasm or humor into your conversation because it not only is it unprofessional but can also easily be misunderstood.
5. Resort to open-ended questions.
Use open-ended questions to pull more information out of your boss or colleagues. For instance, if you are assigned a task you do not completely understand, consult your manager and ask questions like “what would you like to see happen with this project in the next month?” This kind of questions forces others to provide more information while allowing you to remain professional.
6. Let others speak.
Listening is another essential component of communicating professionally. You should let other people talk as well and wait for your turn to speak. If you listen to them, they will feel respected and be willing to interact with you.