This is a repost from Elizabeth Rittiman. You can read the original article here.

In any aspect of your life, communication is key. Think of how many times miscommunication negatively impacted your day, whether with your spouse, kids, friends, or at work. Proper communication ensures everyone is on the same page, and things flow a little easier.

From a professional perspective, clear messaging is very important to any organization’s overall success. Even the aspect of how you communicate with your colleagues needs careful consideration sometimes. For instance, are you using the right medium to communicate? Should you send an email, call, or stop by their office? Are you communicating too much information? Or not enough information? You need to master oral and written communication to be an effective communicator for your organization.

  1. Listen: Communication isn’t all just about you doing the talking. A great deal of communication involves you listening to other people. One mistake people make is that when someone else is talking, they tend only to be thinking about what they want to say when it’s their turn to talk again, and therefore they are not fully listening to what is being said to them. That’s when key information is missed.
  2. Pay Attention to What You Are Saying without Saying It: Here’s another great example as to how communication is not just about talking. A great deal of it is not done verbally. We communicate so much just with the expression on our faces, the gestures we make, and the way that we stand or sit. When interacting with others, always put your best self forward. Make direct eye contact, stand tall, or sit up straight, and give firm handshakes.
  3. Know Your Audience: Have you ever taken notice as to what communication method provides you with the best response? For instance, does your boss not respond to your emails but gives you instant feedback when you stop by her office? Or maybe you have a colleague that takes forever to look at the drafts you email them. Have you thought about printing the materials and giving him a hard copy to look at? Figure out how your coworkers like to receive information, you’ll find things move along more smoothly.
  4. Remember The Message Sent Isn’t Always The Message Received: Everyone is their own filter, and not everything comes out how we intend it. Many negative situations can arise from making incorrect assumptions, especially in an email or a text message. In these situations, we often find ourselves determining a tone of voice when there is none. Take a step back and ask for clarification face-to-face if you need to so you don’t end up making something out of nothing.
  5. Get to the Point: Just as you are probably extremely busy with your daily tasks, so are your colleagues. Sometimes a little more background information is needed; other times, it isn’t. Make sure you are concise and clear in what your expectations are in your messaging, and you will see a quick turnaround in the results. In addition to being direct, keep tips 3 and 4 in mind with this one. Some people might appreciate a little more small talk or respond better with a change in tone.

By mastering these five simple communication strategies,  you can ensure that you are a key communicator in your office. By listening fully, watching for non-verbal cues and not making assumptions, you will be able to go a long way to show that you are a reliable, respectable, and indispensable employee.