From the Academic world to the workplace – Communication – Part 1

These tips will make your emergence into the world of work more comfortable and make you more confident in tackling issues that will inevitably arise.  For example, dealing with customer complaints or attending meetings with senior colleagues and important clients, will initially, take you out of your comfort zone.

“You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion.”

  1. Remember names.  Everyone likes being called by their name so make sure you have a positive attitude to wanting to learn names.  If you don’t hear a name the first time, ask them to repeat it.  People will be pleased you are taking an interest in them.
  2. Learn techniques to help you remember names.  Use images or word associations.  Repetition is a great way of doing this.  When someone is introduced to you, repeat the name back to them and use it several times in the course of the initial conversation to make sure it sticks.
  3. Use peoples’ names regularly.  This shows recognition and respect and people will remember you too.
  4. Begin everything you say in a friendly way.  That way even bad news won’t seem so bad.
  5. Enter meetings fully prepared.  Think of them as being like exams and you wouldn’t turn up to exam without having revised.
  6. Switch your mobile phone off in meetings.  If you are waiting for an urgent call allow it to come through the switchboard and let the Chair of the meeting know the situation.
  7. Make your points clearly in a meeting.  Have evidence to back them up and stick to the facts.
  8. Offer your opinion in team meetings without resorting to criticism of others whether directly or indirectly.  This will mean that you won’t offend others.
  9. Be enthusiastic with your comments in any work situation but avoid becoming too emotional.
  10. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.  People are generally willing to help and are pleased that you have sought their opinion.
  11. Use open questions to get more information.  Start with a Who? What? Where? Which? Why? When? and How?  Closed questions such as those that start with Will? or Can?  for example may only give you a yes or no answer.

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