Don’t just sit there – add value with thoughtful comments

Good things happen when verbalizing in the workplace improves. One of those good outcomes is to help reduce mistakes. If you’re really clear in what you say and how you say it, the true intent of your words will come through to others. Comments, guidance and instruction from you will be processed better.

What are some of the other benefits of verbalizing well?

  • You will be better able to apply your knowledge and perspectives in discussions with others, especially those who may represent different areas of your company.
  • Others will see you as participative and engaged, not just taking up space. You will be more respected if you verbalize well.
  • People with good verbal skills have an easier time taking control of an interaction.
  • Your boss will be able to send you to represent her confident you will handle the situation well.

Twelve steps to improve your verbal skills?

Here are twelve, practical and easy-to-apply tips that will immediately make you more effective at verbalizing in your workplace.

  • Think before you speak. Always organize your thoughts.
  • Get to the point. Don’t ramble.
  • Always think about the other person. What does he or she need to hear?
  • Tell stories. Bring conversations to life by adding verbal anecdotes.
  • Engage others. Don’t just talk at people. Talk with them. Strike the right balance between listening and talking. Another part of engaging others is making eye contact. If it’s one-on-one, look right at that person. If it’s a group presentation, look around the room frequently to make eye contact with many people.
  • Inflect your voice. No one likes to listen to someone who drones on in a monotone, flat voice. When you’re about to say something important, place emphasis on it with the tone of your voice.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Act like you want to be there and believe in what you’re saying. Avoid physical movements that detract from attention. Speak with your voice, not your hands.
  • Ask good questions. Remember, you are judged every bit as much by the quality of what you ask as what you say.
  • Anticipate the tough questions. What’s the question you hope nobody asks? You’ll be glad you thought about that. To build credibility, ask that tough question yourself, then answer it. If I was sitting where you are, this is what I’d want to know.
  • Stay on the high road. Talk about what your company does and stands for. Let competitors talk about themselves.
  • If you’re chatting with a person or group outside your core business, avoid industry lingo.
  • Talk like an adult. Limit the use of the words like and you know.

One more tip

Speak up when your comment or question will add value to a discussion. Absent that, don’t fall in love with the sound of your own voice. At the end of the day, the content of what you say is what’s most important.

Davis Young and Scott Juba own Fast Is Good® LLC which offers communication training in 90 minutes or less.

Davis has provided communication training for some of the best known organizations in the country and, in recent years, has taught more than 200 college classes focused on communication.

Scott is an experienced communication trainer. He is a recognized thought leader and consultant on social media and the use of technology to communicate.

Material for this column is based on their book — Avoid Workplace Communication Screw-ups: They’ll Cost Money and Get You Fired! — published by Smart Business.