ound technical skills may help techies gain a foothold on the corporate ladder, but ineffectual communication can stall the vertical climb, especially in an industry where work is team-centric rather than individual-centered. It’s an open secret: team leaders are not necessarily the most experienced whiz techies but are probably better communicators than their team mates. Even if you are not vying for the coveted project manager’s post, effective communication can facilitate smooth flow of work. Most techies, in pursuit of technical excellence, however, continue to discount and underplay the importance of verbal communication. Hurried presentations for meetings, unstructured mails, ambiguous messages, aimless dispatches, rambling instructions, meandering explanations and cavalier responses continue to be the norm, augmenting friction, chaos and tension in the work place. Considering its centrality to immediate and long-term survival and growth.
Assureconsulting.com debugs communication for cubicled techies.
Clear thought is the key to communication: The cornerstone of meaningful communication is clear thinking. Most techies confound communication with grandiose language, impeccable diction and immaculate pronunciation. Instinct has little to do with communicate and style, however, is not pertinent to the communication process. A smooth interchange of information within organisations is possible when communicators expend time on thinking what they want to say. Every techie could vouch for having received e-mails that were either too cryptic or digressed constantly from the primary message or simply failed to touch on all issues adequately. An inability to focus on the message affects clarity, resulting in avoidable communication gaps. How many times have we received urgent alerts from co-workers saying, "Sorry forgot to inform you," when it is far too late. Hence, think before you convey any message. Ensure that you cover relevant issues without wandering and keep the message simple and jargon-free.
Language is incidental to communication: Words, at best, are a medium to communicate one’s message and not the message itself. Language per se does not play a significant role in the dialogic process; if it is not in synchrony with non-verbal cues. For instance, think of a team member who utters the right words of commendation with a slight sneer or a colleague who deploys humour to belittle you. Here, language intentionally or unintentionally guises real emotions. Therefore, if you are saying the right words but still fail to get the message across, consciously focus on the finer nuances of communication such as the tone and the body language you deploy. A team member whose presentation content could not be faulted failed to convince team members of the need to make changes in a project because he could not hide his nervousness. Others rightly felt the particular member lacked conviction.
Communicate the Context: Excellent communicators get the message across because they provide the lowdown on why they say what they say and do not assume that people are familiar with the context. Spending time on spelling out the why not only helps in gaining clarity, but also helps in establishing trust between peers. For instance, a tem member who decides not to act on the suggestion given by others needs to explain the reasons for doing so. An effort to do so indicates transparency in working and reflects a desire to share rather than conceal information.
Communication is not sweet-talking: Communicating with peers and management does not imply sweet-talking, even if you are seething inside. Professionals who carry on with the 24-hour sweet-talk façade usually criticise team members when they are not within hearing distance. Most people see through the façade; hence be direct and honest with your co-workers, even if you have to state a few unpalatable truths. As long as you remain courteous, you will be respected for being honest and a no-nonsense person.
Choose channel of communication: In most organisations, the preferred channel of communication is e-mail. The medium one chooses to communicate, however, is dependent on a particular situation. For instance, as a team member if you make the effort to walk down to a colleague’s cubicle to congratulate him for an award or a promotion, it helps in establishing rapport. However, if a manager does the same and fails to mail other team members on the achievement, it may appear that he or she is being grudging with praise.
Communication is about listening: Communication is a two-way process and involves comprehending and listening to the other person’s point of view. While communicating put yourself in the other person’s position and see how the message will be received. This will not only indicate the tone and expression you need to adopt but also help you anticipate questions and address these before they are raised. In a one to one conversation listen and acknowledge what you hear even if you don’t agree with it, before expressing your point of view. Acknowledging a person’s thoughts and feelings does not imply that you approve or agree with that person. However, it sends a signal you are open-minded and this makes communication productive.
Final Word: In the corporate world perception is reality and to a large extent perception is dependant on the way you communicate. The above suggestions are commonsensical but for techies who are forced together to work in a team because they share the same skills rather than attitudes, these suggestions will help in ironing out creases in the communication process.
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