Are you feeling like you're sometimes wasting your time at work? Are people not answering to your messages on Slack? You're tired of all-hands meetings? Often, it does not take a huge investment into a new third-party platform to improve processes in your company. Simply improving the way you communicate can go a long way and provide immediate results. Thinking about the right words when you need something from someone else can completely change how you feel about your day-to-day activities.
Try out these strategies to communicate more efficiently with your coworkers:
- Get to the point. Starting a conversation with nothing else but "Hi!" and waiting for the other to respond with a greeting before going further does not do much for you, does it?
- Improve the "responsability" of your messages by asking a specific question. The recipient will be more likely to respond if you ask for their input directly and your question is focused.
- Avoid sending messages to everybody unless it's an announcement. Only involve key persons in the conversation. Thinking about who you would like to talk to helps you understand better what you want to communicate about. Is your question related to project management, HR, or a specific application? If you don't know who the right person is, that's a great question in itself. An educated guess will be more fruitful that a message sent to all the members of a mailing list! If you really have no clue, ask a coworker or your supervisor. Make sure to take note of who your interlocutor is for future questions.
- Nothing is more frustrating than a message saying "It's broken." and nothing else. Do your homework. You found a problem? Great! Don't expect others to solve it for you. If you found the answer by yourself, you will not even have to communicate about it. You won't have to wait for the person to free up time for you and you will learn something new.
- Offer alternatives. What do you think the problem is? Have you researched possible solutions? What did you find? Did you examine the pros and cons? Are there other approaches you can adopt? People feel less frustrated and scared when you provide a plan B instead of ending the conversation with "That's not possible."
- What is the next step? If your question necessitates a meeting, give two or three options for a time, day, and place. Make sure that you prepare before the meeting so that this time is focused on your question and nothing else. If you need some time to think about it or gather more information, tell your interlocutor when you will get back to them. In an hour? Tomorrow? Next week? Keep the conversation going. Make sure to follow up when you said you would.
Pro-tip: These principles also work in your personal life :)