Want to make the right impressions at your workplace? Follow these simple rules to improve your communication skills.
1. Inappropriate introduction – Introducing yourself properly is the first step in making a great first impression. A good way to start your introduction would be — ‘Good morning/afternoon, I am ABC’ or ‘Hi, my name is ABC’. A common error people make when asking someone’s name is –’What is your good name?’ This should be avoided and the simple replacement is ‘What is your name?’
2. Using fillers like umm, uh, you know, like, etc. – Filler words like “um” may seem natural in everyday speech, but they do not belong in formal presentations or in interviews. Reducing the fillers is essential so that people can focus solely on your message. The best way to avoid using filler words is to pause, think, and answer.
3. Avoid speaking too fast – When you speak too fast, you don’t leave spaces of silence between phrases and sentences, thus making your listeners work too hard. People interpret fast talking as a sign of nervousness and lack of self-confidence. There are some useful exercises you can download from the internet for practice. Speak clearly and make sure that you slow down your pace.
4. Not maintaining eye contact – Eye contact is important in conveying interest, sincerity, confidence and attention. If you are avoiding eye contact, then you appear to be intentionally looking somewhere other than a person’s eyes when communicating. This can be interpreted many different ways so try to maintain eye contact in your communication.
5. Frequent interruptions – Interrupt a conversation only when it is really needed. You should do this politely as constant interruptions may be perceived as arrogant or intolerant behaviour.
6. Not focusing on the tone of your voice – We often do not examine the tone we use when we are communicating with others. Carefully consider your tone from the perspective of how others hear it – a pleasant or confident voice or a tired, bored voice? Your tone should be positive and not reflect fear and boredom.
7. Avoid negative phrasing – You should always try to use positive language even if your message is somewhat negative. Positive language sounds helpful, encouraging and moves the discussion forward.
8. Don’t panic in uncomfortable situations – Try not to get nervous if someone asks a question that you cannot answer. Tell them that you cannot give an accurate answer right now and that you will find out more before you answer. You will look more professional if you admit you do not know than if you guess and end up giving the wrong answer.
(Adapted version of article originally appeared on Rediff)