People are often defined by how they communicate. There are three main communication styles:
1. Aggressive. This type of communication discourages collaboration and conversations, and focuses on placing blame if mistakes are made and taking credit for other’s successes.
2. Passive. This type of communication is reluctant to offer feedback, hates confrontation, and is unable to convey the full picture of a project or situation.
3. Assertive. This communication is objective and conversational. Such communicators think before responding to issues and see the big picture.
When problem-solving in the office, people need to use facts to back up their positions, avoid raising their voices, acknowledge other people’s stances, and learn to compromise. Additionally, understanding when to chime in and when to wait will take time to fully embrace, but can be very helpful once learned.
Written communication is important now that most offices use email, PDAs, and smartphones for daily communications. People in the corporate world are pressed for time and have a short attention span. Clear and concise emails, text messages, and memos are imperative for the busy professional. Levit stresses that proofreading is important, and that even the most basic email should be error free.
Listening is more than simply hearing words. It is important to understand the type and how much information is actually being heard. The best listeners do not interrupt, stay focused, and can read between the lines. However, it is important to understand the filters people face when attempting to take in information through listening. The four basic filters are:
1. Predilection filter. Hearing what is wanted instead of what is being said.
2. Who filter. Focusing on the person speaking rather than message.
3. Facts filter. Obliviousness to emotional or non-verbal cues.
4. Distracting thoughts filter. Allowing personal thoughts or emotions to become distracting.
Further, in-person communication involves nonverbal cues like appropriate eye contact, altering tone, appearing intelligent but not pretentious, and coming across as sincere. It is important to take advantage of quick conversations, such as in the elevator or in the kitchen, and volunteer to deliver formal or informal presentations. Practice makes perfect when developing communication skills in the corporate world.