Day in and day out, whether at work or running our own business, we have to interact with people. We may talk face-to-face, by phone or Skype, by email, or on popular virtual gathering places like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Never before have we had so many ways we can connect to people, and never has it been so critical to make your presence strong and consistent no matter the platform.
Did you know every relationship begins with you? Every person you deal with will present you with different interpersonal challenges but how you handle them and communicate is up to you. Much has been written about how we can influence our work relationships but for now, let‘s look at a quick review of best practices in people skills.:
• Hear with an active ear. This is an essential skill for workplace communications. Our jobs are demanding, we have a lot to get through in a day and a lot of people to talk with. If we short-change our interactions results can include mixed messages, incomplete information and impaired productivity. When you have to interact with someone, be it the mail clerk or someone on your leadership team, you need to engage in active listening and really ‘hear‘what they’re saying, rather than jumping the gun to give your response. If you think about it, there really is a difference between ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’.
• Speak clearly and be concise. There is nothing worse than someone taking 25 minutes to explain a sales concept or give a debriefing on the next in-house professional development initiative when it could have easily been communicated in less than 10. Everyone is busy and you have to respect their time.
• Be approachable. If you constantly keep yourself at arm’s length from your employees or colleagues, you’re sending a message that you’re difficult to approach. All that does is cast out negativity which, in turn, is counter-productive. Let people know they can come to you with problems and that you’ll do your best to be objective and help them find a solution quickly and efficiently.
• Foster team spirit. People resonate with workplace camaraderie. They like to know they’re being supported in their jobs. It helps them stay motivated and engaged. Do everything you can to instil this in those around you. A happier workforce is a very productive one.
At the end of the day, relationships are at the core of any business. People within your company are essential to your success, and the people coming to you for service and solutions are counting on the fact that your company stands behind what it says it can do. By taking stock of your people skills and working to improve them as necessary, you can ensure it’s a win-win for all.
Another great video by the AXA team
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