1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Understanding is so important in communicating effectively, and to be aware of the context and background story. Understanding raises awareness, so you will be aware of how to respond. Once you know that, people will become more receptive of what you have to say and you will be likely to avoid future communication issues.
2. Ask questions
Ask questions a.k.a “requirements gathering” ;). Ask questions to fill in your missing knowledge gaps. Asking questions you already know the answer to is a waste of everyone’s time, don’t do this. Asking questions applies to all entities within an organisation, so don’t be afraid to ask your manager questions or your colleagues questions. Questions is all about timing. Why timing? There are a number of factors that can go into getting a favourable response. For example, if you catch people in a good mood you are more likely to get a better answer to your question.
3. Smile and relax
Smiling and being relaxed makes other people feel more at ease with you. They will more likely invest their time in an open dialogue with you. Smiling has also been said that it can trick your brain into happiness. You will find it easier to communicate and won’t be so stifled. Being relaxed can increase your confidence, as we know. This can help you output more of a day and take on new challenges inside your career. There are several relaxation techniques out there, not just yoga!
So take a chill pill man! Smile and relax and see where the conversation takes you.
4. Re-read your message before sending
“Oops, I hit send” - said every Software developer ever. Re-read your messages before you send them out because you want to minimise having to explain to people “what you meant by that”. It’s a simple trick to drastically improve your communication skills.
5. Phone calls > Texting
If your goal is to become a great communicator, then I would suggest that you try and distance yourself from texting as much as possible. Have something you want to raise or something important you want to speak with someone about? It’s 100% better to pick up the phone and make a call instead of sending a text. I’ll tell you why - because texting shows no emotion and text messages can be misinterpreted. So becoming comfortable with making phone calls more often will effectively reduce the number of problems you may have in the future.