Business success, employee satisfaction, motivation, and collaboration in the workplace are all immensely influenced by interpersonal communication.
In fact, according to Career Addict, managers rate the importance of having good interpersonal skills at 4.37, on a scale of 1 to 5.
But why is interpersonal communication so crucial in the workplace?
Interpersonal communication is the exchange of information, ideas and feelings between two or more people, through verbal or non-verbal methods. Therefore, having a higher level of interpersonal communication skills enables a more effective transfer of messages to others– a vital process in the workplace.
With remote work currently becoming the ‘new normal’ for many organisations, verbal interpersonal communication has arguably become essential for keeping employees, managers, and customers connected and well-informed.
Here are methods for organisations to enhance verbal interpersonal communication skills, while transitioning to remote work.
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While most organisations work remotely, the dependence on virtual calls, meetings, and training rooms (VTR) is increasing significantly, to ensure maintained interpersonal communication.
This increased virtual dependence may initially cause misinterpretations and information being distorted.
We recommend and encourage employees and managers to communicate with each other during working hours, and become accustomed to reviewing information in person, when needed.
We feel it is extremely important that when participating in a virtual session, employees, managers, and customers in organisations ask questions.
Asking questions can assist in building stronger connections with others and can avoid any ambiguities, misunderstandings or issues that may be ‘lost in translation’.
Below are Select’s tips for asking effective questions:
1. Do not be afraid
Sometimes shyness, concern over making a faux pas, or fear of being perceived as a busybody can prevent you from asking questions.
While some subject matters are not appropriate conversation pieces in the early stages of a conversation, there is nothing wrong with asking questions.
If there is genuine interest in a person or what is being said, there are a lot of possibilities for questions to be asked.
2. Ask Open questions
There are two types of questions to ask, based on the scope of the answers they elicit: closed and open questions.
Closed questions are questions answerable by yes or no. For example: “Are you happy with today’s presentation?”
Open questions, on the other hand, are questions that require a qualified response. Open questions are usually preceded by who, when, where, what, how, and why. For example: “What is it about today’s presentation that you found most engaging?”
Open questions are more effective than closed questions because they evoke thoughtful consideration of the subject and creative thinking.
3. Ask purposeful questions
There are different reasons why questions are asked, and it is important that the purpose of asking a question is considered. Doing so can help one frame their questions better and keep the questions relevant.
Some questions can be asked with the goal of making the other person feel at ease. Questions like these should be phrased in a pleasant, non-threatening manner, and involve subjects that the other person is likely to be interested in.
For example: “I really enjoyed that meeting today…you raised some excellent points. I can share my notes from yesterday’s session if you like?”
Questions can also be designed to challenge the other person’s thinking and encourage a lively debate or deliberation. Questions like these should be phrased in a way that is focused and process-oriented.
It can also challenge existing assumptions about the subject matter. For example: “How do you think a leader can better motivate his/her team?”
At other times, questions are meant to encourage a person to join an existing discussion. The goal of these questions is to invite participation, as much as to gain information. For example: “I find Mohammed’s approach very innovative. What do you think, Faris?”
For best effectiveness, think of the needs of those involved in conversations at the current stage of the relationship, and ask questions that can address those needs.
Verbally Communicating with Power
Power in communication refers to the ability to influence, persuade, or make an impact. Powerful communication is associated with self-confidence, credibility, and effectiveness.
Verbally communicating with power, while working remotely, will ensure all verbal interpersonal communication is as efficient and effective as possible.
Below are some methods we recommend using, for organisations to verbally communicate with power:
1. Stick to the point
Powerful communication is not about saying as many things as possible in a given period of time.
It is about sticking to what is relevant to the discussion, and getting the message across in the shortest, but most impactful way possible.
Try to remove fillers like ‘uhm…’, ‘you know’, or ‘actually’ during delivery, and avoid off-topic statements.
Provide ideas that the audience would be most interested in knowing, or the ones that promote your intentions best.
2. Do not be too casual
The manner and tone that may be appropriate when speaking to friends is not necessarily appropriate for business-related meets.
The use of slang, street talk, and poor grammar can detract credibility, especially if mingling with potential clients, employers, and business partners.
Events that require you to come across as impressive may require the use of industry-specific jargon and a formal tone, so it is best to adjust accordingly.
3. Emphasise key ideas
Stress the highlights of your communication.
For example, people who are delivering a sales pitch should emphasise the main features of their product or service.
Those who are presenting their opinion on an issue should explain the core of their arguments and build from there.
Even if merely expressing interest or congratulations, make sure the person you are speaking to will remember what is being said.
The emphasis in verbal communication comes in many ways, including repetition of key points, giving specific examples, accenting particular adjectives or nouns, or even directly saying that “this is really a point I want to emphasise”.
4. Tailor communication to the audience
A powerful communication is one that connects with your audience.
Minding the readiness, attention, age, and educational level of your audience is particularly important, so that they are not over or underwhelmed.
Social skills are primarily about flexibility; the better you can adjust to changes in audience profile, the better they will respond.
Power in communication is sometimes determined by the quality of your rapport with others.
You may need to “warm up” your audience, make them comfortable, and show them that you sincerely want to speak to them.
If the audience has a positive impression of you, they will respond more positively.
Effective interpersonal communication is a cornerstone of successful business operations, especially in this age of remote working.
It’s no longer a luxury, but a vital necessity for maintaining collaboration, motivation, and unity among dispersed teams.
As remote work continues to redefine traditional workspaces, ensuring crystal-clear communication becomes paramount.
Remember, in the world of remote work, it’s not just about being heard but being understood.
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