Four different coloured paper speech bubbles hanging by string against a dark blue background, symbolising conversations.
Image: © Brian Jackson/

How to ensure your conversations at work are effective

26 Jun 2020

One of the most important skills in any job is communication. Here’s how to make your sure your conversations are meaningful.

Whether you’re angling for a promotion or looking for a new job, you’ll most likely look at the key skills you need to be the best candidate.

Of course, there will be a number of specific technical or ‘hard’ skills that will be required, but there will also be a number of ‘soft’ skills, which can sometimes be overlooked by candidates. However, these can often be the most important skills for the job.

Communication skills, for example, are a requirement for nearly every role, but what does it mean to have good communication skills? And how can you ensure that the conversations you’re having at work are effective?

To help employees have more meaningful conversations with their colleagues, Business Backer has compiled a set of tips for improving communication skills both from a listening and a speaking point of view.

The first and arguably most important tip is to avoid multitasking while talking to someone. While this may seem obvious, it’s a trap that employees can easily fall into in or out of the office. How often did someone come to your desk to have a conversation, but you kept working on your computer?

And now that much of the global workforce is working from home, it can be even easier to multitask since we’re no longer face-to-face. When you’re on video conference calls or even just on the phone with colleagues, it’s important to stop working on anything else to ensure you give the conversation your full attention.

Another important thing is to watch out for body language. While this may be a lot more difficult while working remotely, it certainly makes a case for having video calls as well as regular phone calls, even if it’s not all the time. Seeing someone’s face and being able to pick up on their expressions is an important part of listening to them and can help you have more meaningful conversations.

It’s also important to not only talk business and, once again, this has become more important than ever in the wake of Covid-19 and the global move to remote working.

Natural ‘water cooler’ conversations and ‘on the fly’ chats can often lead to the best brainstorming sessions at work, but these were understandably more likely in a physical office setting. It’s important to recreate these kinds of situations for remote workers to ensure that they’re not only in touch with each other to talk about strictly business or work-related issues.

For more advice, check out the infographic below or click here to view it as a larger image.

Infographic showing a number of tips about having meaningful conversations.

Meaningful conversations infographic. Image: Business Backer

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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