The Art of Communication
Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT | email@example.com
Success, particularly when leading a team, has everything to do with how communication occurs. In current times, we have more social platforms and communication media where people can communicate both internally and externally, but many agree that as a society, our communications have diminished and therefore have become less effective. As that change has been further heightened with the uncertainty and unease of the pandemic, many team members may feel further removed, thereby causing breakdowns in productivity and increases in anxiety.
In her recent article "Communication Skills for Workplace Success," Alison Doyle breaks down communication into 10 basic skills.1 Listening is a communication skill that oftentimes is overlooked, but it is truly the foundation of communication. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, and it is suggested to rephrase what the person is saying to give both parties a sense of understanding. Similarly, nonverbal communication or body language, eye contact, hand gesturing, and even tone of voice all affect the feeling perceived by the other person(s). This is important, because people rarely remember what was said, but they will always remember how it made them feel. With that said, verbal communication is equally important to ensure clarity and concision in the message. Conveying the message in as few words as possible—clearly and directly—while trying to avoid rambling on is critical, whether speaking to team members in person, on the phone or via email/text. These are the pillars of communication that are then enhanced by friendliness to engage with the other party. A friendly tone, personal question, or simple smile will encourage others to engage in open and honest communication. It is important to exude confidence in your communication interactions to show others that you believe in what you are sharing and will follow through. Confidence can be shown simply by making eye contact, or via a firm but friendly tone.
Doyle continues to convey in her article that empathy, open mindedness,and respect are critically important when communicating with the team. Employees need to understand that you care for them and their needs, and that you remain open-minded to feedback and differing perspectives, and an appreciable sentiment that you respect everyone's opinions with the intention of making the situation better. A good communicator should enter into any conversation with a flexible and open mind, while simultaneously conveying deep respect for everyone and their ideas. An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to best use. Serious conversations—such as layoffs, disciplinary actions, resignation, changes in salary, etc—are almost always best in person. If the person is very busy and the communication does not need immediate attention, you might want to convey your message through email. Team members will appreciate a thoughtful means of communication and will be more likely to respond positively.
Excellence in the art of communication, in any circumstance, is critically important and certainly applies in the dental laboratory.
It is my great honor and pleasure to elevate and inspire with knowledge.
1. Doyle A. Communication Skills for Workplace Success. The Balance Careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/communication-skills-list-2063779. Updated March 13, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2021.