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When mastered, the art of communication will get you very far in life. Good communication skills are just as important as work ethic and intelligence. Without the ability to effectively communicate you will fall short of your potential. But communication is not a skill which comes naturally, it is one that has to be constantly worked at, and constantly assessed. Even if you think you are a good communicator, there is always room to improve, especially as technology is becoming an ever pervasive aspect of our lived.

A common mistake many managers make is to focus solely on formal means of communication. Not all communication is formal, in fact most is not. The old water cooler gossip is still alive and well, and if left unrecognized, your company may suffer. There is no need to pretend office rumours don’t exist, if confronted head on they are less likely to damage employee relations. Informal conversation can help you to establish good relations with your employees and co-workers, but it is important that it remain appropriate. Establishing that fine line may be difficult but once established your employees and co-workers may feel more comfortable communicating with you, which is key to your work place happiness.

It is also important the companies take advantage of various form of communication. While email is of course a especially useful tool, face to face communication is pretty much always the best avenue. With face to face communication comes the ability to truly interact and read somebody, this interaction is key to accomplishing what you need to and can also help to develop your workplace relations. That being said there are forms of communication which have been made possible by the technology boom which your company also stands to benefit from. Morgan Stanley has decided to allow their bankers to send texts on their company Blackberries, in order to allow employees to communicate with family, friends, co-workers and clients more conveniently. In doing so they allow their employees some much appreciated freedom and allow employees to communicate with clients in the medium their clients desire. It is important that companies strike a balance between face-to-face communication and technology-based communication as both are key to success. In addition to achieving these balances, companies should take a few basic steps to better improve their overall communication.

Managers and employees a like must recognize that communication goes both ways, employees need to effectively communicate with their managers and managers must communicate with their employees. Without this street it is unlikely that your company is working efficiently, establishing comfortable and efficient lines of communication help employees to achieve their maximum potential within the company. Managers and employees must also learn to listen to each other and synthesize the information they are taking in. It is a tendency of almost all of us to either tune out or come up with responses while listening to others which can lead to misunderstandings. Really try and listen to what others have to say, and then respond, confirm with the person you are talking to that you correctly understood them. This can save you from a lot of mistakes and can help to make sure that the individual you’re talking to feels valued by you. You should genuinely care what the other person has to say, even if it’s tempting not to.
Lastly, it is important that you develop the ability to effectively communicate through writing. Even individuals with strong academic backgrounds can have a hard time writing clearly. The key to this trait is to practice and proof read. Make sure you get your point across and that the wording isn’t too convoluted. In drafting an email, consider bullet pointing or highlighting the main points and leave out all of the flowery exercise. In the business world clarity is key.

Robert Boroff Executive Profile Managing Director Reaction Search International Uses over 15 years of industry experience to provide clients with proven recruiting strategies that garner results Leads a team of Executive Recruiters in fulfilling clients important hiring needs in a time and cost-effective manner Keeps abreast of business and market trends in order to effectively consult clients on their hiring requirements

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