Lunch packed - check; steel toed boots - check; shirt tucked in - check; one final look in the mirror and I tell myself “you’ve got this!” Today is my first day on a new project and I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my professional career. I wonder what my new project team will be like; have I worked with any of them before?

This is a reality for anyone who works in the project world: when one project finishes, it’s on to the next. That’s why building and maintaining relationships with co-workers is the key ingredient to executing a successful project. The best way to accomplish this is through good communication. So, let’s look at what communication is and some communication skills that we can all improve on.

Communication

The dictionary defines communication as “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.” and “means of connection between people or places, in particular.”

As you can see from this definition, communication is more than just having a chat and a rant. Communication also includes:

  • To whom you say it
  • When you say it
  • How you say it
  • What you say and don’t say
  • Why you say it
  • Your body language

Valuable Communication Skills

Being an effective communicator takes a lot of practice and years to master. Below are some skills that can contribute to you becoming a better communicator:

  • Plain Old Listening: One of the best ways to be a good communicator is to be a good listener. No one likes communicating with someone who really doesn’t care about what the other is saying and is only trying to get their word in. 
  • Nonverbal Communication: This includes eye contact, body language, tone, and hand gestures of both the transmitter and receiver of the message. A relaxed open stance and friendly tone with eye contact encourage others to speak openly with you.
  • Use the Right Communication Medium: The form of communication which you decide to use is also very important. For example, layoffs are better done in a conversation face to face but a quick yes or no answer on a procurement issue may be more suitable over email.
  • Ask Questions and Give Feedback: This shows the person you are having the conversation with that you are listening to them and that you are interested in what they are saying.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Try to get your point across in as few words as possible and avoid using technical or uncommon language when communicating to an audience. No matter which medium you are using to communicate be clear and direct, get to the chorus Deloris!
  • Friendliness: It is very important to be polite and nice in all of your communications at work. Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, your coworkers will be encouraged to engage in open and honest communication with you.
  • Be Confident: It is important to be confident when communicating with your co-workers. This shows that you believe in what you are saying and will follow through.
  • Have an Open Mind: Be open and flexible when listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view—don’t judge
  • Always be Respectful: Co-workers will be more open to communicate with you if show them respect. Little things like eye contact, using the person’s name, and actively listen to them makes the person feel more appreciated.

Good communication is the key in any successful workplace, it is also something we take for granted quite often. Putting any of these skills above into action without a doubt will help contribute towards a healthy and productive work environment. As for how my first day on the new project went? Things are looking good!