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Communicating in the Communication Industry

By: Abbi Minessale Category: Blog Posted: August 24, 2017

I’ve heard the joke hundreds of times, “We work in telecommunications but my team can’t communicate!”  When working hard all day on technology that helps other people connect, it’s difficult to find the time to focus on our own communication skills. Whether you’re a manager, employee, customer, or someone in between, everyone needs to communicate; especially those of us in the industry. We’ve all been doing it for years but we can still easily fall into traps. Hopefully, we can all avoid miscommunications with the following ideas:

Listen:  

It seems simple: when people are speaking to you it is important to listen. I’m sure that every human being on this earth can attest that listening is far more difficult and nuanced than that. Actively listening is a difficult task to undertake; the first step is to be careful not to interrupt, no matter how difficult or well intentioned it may be. This helps others feel heard, making it more likely they listen to you in return. Another tactic is one that professional interviewers often utilize. Try to train yourself to focus on what the other person is saying rather than thinking about what you’re going to say next. Not only does this make the people around you feel supported, it also minimizes misunderstandings and increases meeting efficiency.

Repeat and Ask Questions:

Asking questions and repeating the information you heard is a great way to solve several different communication problems. This helps to establish that you’ve gotten all of the information out of the conversation or meeting. Asking questions is also a great tool for running a brainstorming session. Instead of scrutinizing over every detail of an idea or immediately criticizing, asking questions can be a kind way for any problems to naturally reveal themselves. This also helps the group find solutions to any problem more efficiently by maintaining an organized track to discussions and focusing on what still needs to be solved rather than fixating on established information.

Feedback:

Receiving feedback can be sensitive, so if you are the one providing the feedback, try being specific in your use of language. Try offering a positive directly before and after any constructive criticism. For example: “I appreciate the detail that went into this project, can we clean it up a bit? Thank you for your hard work today.” At face value this might seem juvenile but the person receiving the constructive criticism will feel more supported and will be less likely to interpret your words as a personal attack.

Baby and the Bathwater:

Maintaining an open mind is a lot of hard work. Even when we are working supportively and are open to our peers, it can be difficult to get on board with an idea that contradicts our own. As I like to say, sometimes it is better to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sometimes working in a group means following democratically elected strategies which means that throwing your idea out is the most efficient thing to do and continuing to pitch it will only throw a wrench in things. Of course, this can be heart breaking, but even if you disagree with the direction a discussion is going, if you keep an open mind, maybe a small part of the brainstorm will inspire a new idea that fits perfectly into the group dynamic! On the same wavelength, if someone else’s idea has been voted off the island, take a few seconds to reach out and empathize or give them some encouragement.

Be Clear and Concise:

Language can control the impression you make on people and yet the way we use it varies between mediums. Writing an email to your boss will sound different than speaking on the phone with a peer. A general trick is to be concise. In terms of messaging or email, try to write in as few words as possible while still making sense but without sounding like a robot. This is especially helpful in the communications industry because of the many language barriers between peers. The more clearly written and concise your writing is, the easier it will be understood. When speaking on the phone or in person, practice planning out what the thesis of the conversation is so you can easily stay on track. Personally, I ramble, so this helps me to stay on point and keep discussions more efficient.

Know your Audience:

Another art to language is knowing who you are talking to and matching that to your medium of communication. The technology world especially has a myriad of communication tools to choose from, so selecting the perfect one can be a fun task. Would this conversation work better on video chat, voice call, or email? It comes down to knowing your audience and tailoring your conversation to them.

Proofread:

Proofreading is easy to forget but is a useful tool. One quick glance over of an email before hitting send can save you a lot of headache. Proofreading will help you double check that everything that needed to be covered is written, that there are no typos, and that you didn’t accidentally hit “reply all.” Proofreading can also include talking in person. Technically when you’re speaking, there is nothing to read, but it is always helpful to stop and think before speaking. Pausing to make sure what you’re about to say is on task can help communicating run smoothly.

Take Notes:

Taking notes helps human beings commit things to memory faster. Notes also help you to remember what happened in a  meeting that happened three days ago, so if you’re not taking your own notes make sure that there is a dedicated scribe who will share them with the group. This includes writing down any information that is necessary to complete a project along with a detailed game plan describing the role of each member. This way, work can get done more efficiently because everyone on the team knows the checklist of things they need to get done and the number of review meetings can be cut down, which I’m sure everyone will be ecstatic about.

FreeSWITCH:

Of course, the best way to have clear communication with your team is to use any of the many features that FreeSWITCH provides. Verto Communicator lets you video chat with your team better by allowing you to creating different extension rooms to fit your needs. Other features include conference servers, voicemail servers, Fax servers, PBX features, IVR & announcement servers, and lots more. FreeSWITCH also has call recording and WebRTC support, so you know you are always up to date with modern ways of communicating.

 

 

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