My colleague, Ardith, of Ardith Rademacher & Associates executive job search firm, penned this fantastic piece in her latest newsletter on good communication. I am resposting it for my readers with permission. These are powerful tips for every executive.
The Fine Art of Effective Communication
Guest Post by Ardith Rademacher
It can be so easy to fall back on jargon or catchphrases that you hear in the office or on television. Some people even use them consciously in attempt to make themselves appear more relatable or up-to-date and modern. However, this can do more harm than good. Many times, relying too heavily on overused expressions can make you seem uninformed, uncaring or simply unprofessional.
One of the most annoying things people can do in conversation is use heavy business jargon. How often have you heard someone say, “Let’s circle back on this. I’ll ping you in the next day or two.”? This statement can be confusing to those who are not familiar with these phrases, particularly if you work with people who speak other languages. Be direct: when exactly can the other person expect to hear back from you, how will you be reaching out, and what should they expect to receive at that time? Clarity in communication is more important than lingo.
In the same respect, flippant replies or clichés can also give the wrong impression. Overly casual responses, such as “no problem,” “sure,” “fine,” or “yeah,” can convey that you may just be trying to appease the other person, or worse, that you were not truly listening. Clichés, such as “it is what it is,” are meaningless and can come across as uncaring. Using these types of phrases will not instill trust in you or your ability to deliver on a job.
Even though it should go without saying, the use of profanity in professional and the majority of casual conversations should be avoided. Those who speak with heavy profanity are typically regarded as unintelligent, unprofessional, rude or just plain angry. Definitely not qualities that employers or clients are looking for! Even phrases that are not direct profanity, such as “pissed off,” can have the same effect.
Finally, the use of negative words or words and phrases that do not demonstrate confidence should be avoided. Instead of saying that “I cannot have that done until Tuesday”, flip the statement to a positive by saying “I can have that to you on Tuesday.” By speaking in affirmatives, and using language that sets clear expectations, you can help your colleagues and peers know what to expect and you will come across as more dependable.
The fine art of effective communication involves understanding when certain phrases and expressions should be used and when they should be avoided. Keep flippant replies and clichés out of the office, and only use in casual conversations with friends and family. Use of jargon in professional settings may cause misunderstandings that end up hurting your work or credibility. Profanity and negative words should be avoided at all costs. Follow these guidelines, and you will quickly become a master of communication.