Have you ever stopped to think about what kind of communicator you are? Or what qualities a good communicator has? Sometimes, we don’t think about how our messages are being perceived, or how to better get our point across, or even be involved in a productive conversation. But we are communicating with people on a daily basis: at work, at home, online, at school; our days are filled with different types of communication.

Communications Tools
There are many different types of communications tools available. Choosing the right tool can help your conversation go smoothly. Before you reach out to someone, consider what type of message you’re sending and how it may be perceived via different methods. Ask yourself: Is this a sensitive message that is better delivered in person? Is this topic suitable for an email or text? Can I properly convey the tone of my message with this tool?

Other factors to consider are whether you are communicating with a friend, a co-worker, supervisor, parent, etc., and which tool would be most appropriate for the situation and person. Imagine if someone decided to send an email warning you the floor was slippery, instead of posting proper signage at the site of a spill – this is a great example of using the wrong tool for the message. Or, what if someone called to say “LOL” instead of texting?

Some different communications methods we can use are:

  • Text
  • Email
  • Phone call
  • Virtual meeting
  • Face-to-Face
  • Non-Verbal
  • Written/journaling

Strengthening Your Skills
Communication skills are important throughout your life. They are essential to how we perceive others and how they perceive us. They can also make the difference in keeping yourself and others safe in the workplace.

Whether you are texting, talking, or even writing in a birthday card, the goal for any communication is to be effective, concise, and clear. Here are some tips on how you can become a better communicator.

Listen up: listening is actually a tough skill to master, especially in emotional situations. Active listening is a fantastic skill to practice throughout your life and will make communications more valuable for all parties involved. Focusing on what others are conveying and considering others’ opinions and messages are essential. If you are only focusing on a response, or your own point of view, fair communication gets lost in emotion. In a work setting, not thoroughly paying attention or digesting information before responding can lead to miscommunication, and possibly hurt feelings and even injury.

Be body aware: Non-verbal cues can sometimes be just as important as verbal cues. Your body language portrays much of how you feel. Some negative clues include: rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, and turning away from someone before they are done speaking. These can all turn a positive moment into a negative one.

Don’t let emotions get the best of you: when we are having heated communications, whether it is in-person or not, letting our feelings (whatever they may be) rule our discussions can lead to arguments and fights. Before responding to someone, take some time to calm down and think about the situation. The old saying “sleep on it” is excellent advice if it’s possible, considering the topic of the message. Also, showing empathy, or trying to see all sides of a topic is crucial.

Ask questions: so many people are afraid to ask questions when the focus of communications is unclear. We always encourage our young workers to ask questions if they are unsure of their duties, or responsibilities at work, but we can also practice this technique in our normal, everyday communications. Asking for clarification can help avoid disagreements and accidents.

For more information on communications tips and tools, visit our Instagram page and check out our Young Worker Safety Month (#YWSM2022) posts (August 2022)!