Strategy / Communication

Top 10 Tips for Effective Communication

by Raju Woodward
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Published on July 31, 2014

Whether you're helping a customer with a troubleshooting issue or giving your boss a project update, you need to be able to communicate effectively and concisely. But sometimes, that's easier said (no pun intended) than done.

With the help of our fans on social media, we put together this list of top 10 list ways to communicate effectively. Check it out:

10. Be social. Breaking the ice and talking to someone you don't know is a great way to learn about how to communicate with them and see how they respond to different situations. Remember, everyone is different.

9. Become multilingual. Being able to speak more than one language is a huge benefit. It makes it easier to communicate, obviously, can help put the other person at ease, and make you a more valuable team member.

8. Avoid jargon, especially TLAs (three-letter acronyms). Just because POS and LOL are widely used, don't assume everyone knows what they mean. One acronym can have several different meanings. For example, POS could mean Point of Service to some, Point of Sale to others, and to some, it could even mean "Piece of S." You get the idea.

7. Learn to say "no." As tempting as it may be to say "yes" to every request made of you, it can set you up for failure. Don't create an unmanageable workload for yourself.

6. Handle conflict well. Conflict resolution skills can help you diffuse contentious situations. Think about the language you use during such situations ("I feel" vs "You said/did"). Seek compromise, remain in control of your emotions, and think about what non-verbal cues you may be showing. Honing in on these skills can help you deal with difficult coworkers and improve working relationships.

5. Make the complex simple. In IT, it's not uncommon to use language that might fly over the head of the average Joe (i.e., non-IT coworkers). Being able to simplify what you're saying without demeaning the other person is a great skill to have.

4. Don't overdo it. It's always good to keep people in the loop about projects or issues. But don't overdo it. You don't want to come across as overbearing or annoying.

3. Personalize conversations. This goes hand-in-hand with #10. Not everyone communicates in the same way. One person might respond better to written cues, while another does better with visual ones. Knowing how to cater to your audience goes a long way toward overall effectiveness.

2. Be concise. Time is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is waste someone's time. Be clear and concise. Rambling on can diminish what you're trying to communicate.

1. Be a good listener. Communicating is a two-way street. Hear what people have to say before you react. Understanding what's at stake and the feelings of everyone involved is crucial to effective communication and, ultimately, success.

Want more communication tips? Watch our recent "Communications in IT Jobs" NuggetCast featuring Chris Ward!

Are there any other tips you would recommend? Share them in the comments section below.


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