Effective Communication is Key
Whether you’re a people person or not, just about any job requires some interaction with others.
Communicating with colleagues, instructors and classmates in a positive way is not only going to reduce the stress from confrontation in your life, it could even help you prepare for or get ahead in your career.
That is, employers often appreciate staffers who display a positive attitude and who have good relationships with colleagues.
If you’re a student in Salter’s professional medical assistant, health claims specialist, massage therapist, or pharmacy technician training programs, keep in mind that people you interact with during your training may be in a position to serve as mentors when your begin your job search.
Here are few things to keep in mind.
1. Truly listen to others
Are you a good listener? Even if you listen more than you talk, the quality of your listening is what counts.
It’s not uncommon for most of us to listen with a critical ear. That is, we judge what the other person is saying, or how they’re saying it, rather than truly trying to understand the point that the speaker is trying to make.
The danger in doing this in a work environment is that we may miss critical instructions or updates. Whether at work or at home, the people we speak to may feel as if we don’t want to take the time to understand them, which can breed distrust or resentment.
Try practicing giving people your undivided attention when they speak. Tip: Approach conversations from the standpoint that each person you speak to will have at least one useful piece of information for you, then listen for it.
2. Don’t just listen, look
A person’s body language can provide a lot of insight into how they’re actually feeling. When discussing important issues, try to observe your conversation partner’s stances.
Are they wringing their hands, as if they’re anxious? Do they appear relaxed, or are their shoulders hunched up near their ears, possibly denoting tension? Are they tapping a pencil or a foot, showing potential nervousness? Is the person leaning back in his or her chair, smiling, indicating that he or she would simply like to chat to get to know you better?
Keying in on how the person may be feeling can help enhance your listening skills.
3. Remember: tone doesn’t translate
With so many electronic communication options available, it’s important to keep in mind that written messages may have a very different meaning than we intend sometimes. Without the context of tone of voice and body language to provide additional cues, things like jokes or sarcasm may not be immediately apparent to the recipient.
In professional or school communications, try to stick to the point using simple, clear language. While family and friends may know you well enough to understand your unspoken intent, others may assume disrespect or even hostility.
Obviously, word choice is key in any written exchanges, so avoid slang and profanity in work settings, even if you’re good friends with the person you’re sending the message to. Remember, emails or texts may be forwarded, so you want to ensure that you’re representing yourself in the best possible light at all times.
Looking for more advice on how to handle yourself on the job? Make an appointment with Salter’s Career Services office to discuss your questions.