How to get the outcome you want from your important work conversations? Your communication soft skills will determine how successful you are at work and in business. We take our ability to communicate for granted. But if you’ve ever had a misunderstanding or conflict at work, it will be due to poor communication skills. Frustrating for managers and staff, this can lead to relationship breakdowns and these misunderstandings cost businesses time and money.

Here are five tips to boost your communication soft skills at work by IIBM Institute

  1. Listen to understand

Most of us don’t listen to understand. We listen for what we want to hear, or to respond to the other person. Listening to understand is much more challenging but worth the effort.  When we are listened to, it makes us feel good – about ourselves and the other person. Be genuinely curious about the other person’s position. Resist the temptation to be wedded to a particular response or outcome for the conversation. This is probably the most important of all the communication skills to master.

  1. Understand your listener’s perspective

Communication happens in the mind of the listener, so if your message is going to get through, you’ll want to understand the other person’s perspective. How might they be feeling? What pressures are they under? How might previous events have affected their outlook? Test your assumptions about their perspective.

  1. Ask open questions

Open questions begin with ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘who’ ‘what’ and ‘how’. They’re great because they don’t let the other person reply with a one word yes or no answer. Using open questions results in more useful conversations because they help you get into more detail and explore each other’s’ perspectives. And remember to listen to the answer.

  1. Prepare for important conversations

Many people think about what they’re going to have a conversation about. Fewer think about the outcome they want from the conversation. Before you have any conversation, consider how you want the other person to think and feel at the end, and/or what you want them to do as a result of the conversation.