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10 ways to communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers

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Job-related instructions can be communicated orally but the procedure is usually written in policy guidelines or procedures manuals. We communicate orally face to face for example, with colleagues and customers or in meetings over the telephone for example, with colleagues, customers and suppliers or when using a two-way communication system for example, with colleagues. The vocal element is how we say it-our tone, our pitch, our accent and our diction.

The visual element is what the receiver sees-posture, facial expression, movement. If these elements do not convey the same meaning, at the same time, then the message may not be believed and communication won't have been effective.

Effective communication relies on the words used to communicate the message. Most industries have a language peculiar to themselves, and this is also the case with hospitality. While it is important to learn the jargon, there are times when its use is not appropriate and when it may act as a barrier to effective communication.

For example, if you have been asked to buddy a new waiter in the restaurant, it may not be useful to say, Andrew, can you do the mise en place for the restaurant and then check that the stillroom is set up. And would Andrew know that a stillroom is the area where tea, coffee, sugar and similar supplies are kept?

Therefore, we need to speak clearly avoid slang and jargon develop our vocabulary make the content appropriate and relevant put the words in the correct context. Vocal communication includes our voice projection, tone, pitch, speed and breathing techniques.

Although the words are important, how we say them is often more important. We should 23 Choosing the right channel vary our tone to give the words emphasis or appropriate meaning be aware of the pitch-put in context to the situation project our voice as much as is necessary for clarity and for it to be heard speak at a consistent speed not too fast and not too slow to aid understanding remember to breathe! If we forget to breathe, the words don't come out! We are often unaware of the visual messages we communicate, so when interacting with others we need to ensure that the visual communication does not conflict with the verbal and the vocal message.

Visual communication includes our personal presentation and hygiene and specific body language, all of which will be assessed by the person with whom we are communicating. Individual cultures respond differently to each of these elements. As with all skills and behaviours that are learned, the more we apply the techniques, the more confident and, ultimately, the more professional we become.

Written communication is only sometimes appropriate. Deciding when it is appropriate will depend on our judgment, skill, enterprise policies and, most importantly, the receiver.

Conciseness Keep the message short and to the point. Tone Refers to how the message sounds serious, light-hearted, demanding. Presentation This refers to how the information is laid out on the page. Most written communication is presented according to accepted and established formats. Correct language That is, the words used and grammar are correct.

Ability o f the receiver Is the reader able to understand the words used? Also, many people like formal, written communication, whereas others prefer to receive information orally. Each type of written communication has formal and informal styles for presentation.

Which one is chosen will depend on the context in which it is required. Are there any errors? Some of the most exciting applications now available revolve around the use of e-commerce-that is, doing business over the Internet World Wide Web.

Businesses can now display their products in a variety of ways, from static pictures to three dimensional tours through sites. Hotel rooms, resorts, cruise ships and a variety of destinations can now be inspected in real time' virtual. Consumers can select and purchase hospitality-related goods and services and receive confirmation and receipts electronically. While technology will undoubtedly continue to astound and confound many of us, it will not replace effective communication skills.

Homework task Visit the websites of two multinational hotel chains. What information is contained on the sites? Can you make a room booking? Can you pay for your accommodation via the Internet? The way people interpret our body language has a major impact on how they hear our message. Interestingly, until recently many people denied the importance of body language as a factor in the communication equation. Thanks to extensive research by behavioural scientists and others, body language is now an accepted concept that all good communicators are aware of and understand.

Open body language indicates we are receptive to the messages being sent and is often an indication of our ability to communicate. Being receptive, however, doesn't always mean we understand! Open body language is identified through the gestures we make, and indicates that we are open to what people are saying and confirms usually what we are saying to our listener. Closed body language does not necessarily mean that the receiver doesn't understand, just that they are not open to the message being sent.

We should take into consideration the diverse cultures in the workplace of both colleagues and customers because of variations in cultural interpretation that may influence the use of body language. Most gestures or signals are accompanied by other gestures or clusters and a verbal message that allows us to interpret the message in its entirety. In the workplace, our body language will be different for each experience and will depend on who we are dealing with colleagues or customers and our relationship with them.

Experts in the field of body language claim that the face is the window to the mind and it is possible to read someone's thoughts by looking at them'. We can often tell from a person's face when they are happy or sad, surprised or shocked, in a bad mood, in pain, or whether they have understood what we have said or are confused. When reading facial expressions, we rely on the eyes, mouth and expressions, as well as the angle of the head.

In context, we also interpret the hand gestures and other body movements. Many faces give away what the person is thinking, although some people can control their facial expressions so as to give no indication of their feelings or thoughts poker faced. This distance will vary depending on who that person is, our relationship to them, cultural influences, and the situation.

We are usually more aware of our personal space once someone has invaded it. The closer our relationship is with someone, the closer we allow them to us physically. When interacting with people we don't know or don't like, we prefer them to remain further away from us. At these times, it is not unusual to see someone take an involuntary step backwards, or, if this is not possible, put a hand out to try to stop the person coming any closer.

Being aware of other people's space is an important part of effective communication. Experience will tell us how close we like to be to others and how far away we like others to be from us. There are written and unwritten rules about what is appropriate or acceptable which vary from country to country, culture to culture and person to person when it comes to physical contact.

The upper arm is usually acceptable for us to touch, but only if really necessary. Body language is a complex process that requires time and experience to master.

Understanding its complexities gives us an advantage in the communication stakes. Formal communication is usually structured and will include information passed on through accepted channels such as memos, letters, procedures, policies and meetings. It can travel down through the channels, such as from supervisor to employee, or upwards, as from the employee to the supervisor. It may also travel laterally-that is, sideways, as between two colleagues.

Although this is an accepted channel, it is also often harder to follow up. Informal communication may include messages, instructions or passing of general information. Of course, informal communication is also what takes place as a general conversation.

This can be considered gossip, or the grapevine. It may be simple banter between two colleagues or a discussion with a customer. The general perception of the grapevine is that it is a negative aspect of communication in the workplace however, it can occasionally be an effective means of communicating information quickly. Where a lot of gossip exists or an extensive grapevine is working, this is a clear indication of poor communication channels. Establishing effective channels for the distribution of relevant and timely information can stifle speculation and reduce the gossip.

Epictetus Greek philosopher 56 Effective listening skills What is the difference between listening and hearing?

Surely they are the same thing? Hearing we can do without thinking. Hearing, as one of our senses, aids communication and often occurs unconsciously. Listening, however, needs concentration and requires us to actively participate in the communication process. Human beings are naturally social creatures — we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water.

So it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we're going to be. Good working relationships give us several other benefits: Also, people are more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement, and we're more innovative and creative.

What's more, good relationships give us freedom: Good relationships are also often necessary if we hope to develop our careers. After all, if your boss doesn't trust you, it's unlikely that he or she will consider you when a new position opens up. Overall, we all want to work with people we're on good terms with. We also need good working relationships with others in our professional circle. Customers, suppliers and key stakeholders are all essential to our success.

So, it's important to build and maintain good relations with these people. Although we should try to build and maintain good working relationships with everyone, there are certain relationships that deserve extra attention. For instance, you'll likely benefit from developing good relationships with key stakeholders in your organization. These are the people who have a stake in your success or failure. Forming a bond with these people will help you to ensure that your projects and career, stay on track.

To find out who these people are, do a Stakeholder Analysis. Once you've created a list of colleagues who have an interest in your projects and career, you can devote time to building and managing these relationships. Clients and customers are another group who deserve extra attention. Although you may not be able to keep everyone happy percent of the time, maintaining honest, trusting relationships with your customers can help you to ensure that if things do go wrong, damage is kept to a minimum.

Good relationships with clients and customers can also lead to extra sales, career advancement, and a more rewarding life. Good relationships start with good people skills. For instance, how well you collaborate, communicate and deal with conflict. This self-test will point you to tools that will help you to deal with any weaknesses that you have.

Look at your own relationship needs. We mean to say one thing, but our pronunciation or inflection causes us to convey something else. For example, in Chinese, the sound "ma" said in a high level tone means "mother in law.

Be especially careful of the word "you. Instead of saying, "You need to speak louder," try saying, "I'm having trouble hearing. Suppose you said to someone, "You never know what's going to happen next," and meant to equate "you" with "people in general. A better alternative might be, "It's really unpredictable here. If someone is upset, one of the worst things to say is "calm down. In general, think before you speak. I'm not saying you always have to be polite or diplomatic. Sometimes you do need to figuratively, of course beat people up.

However, do consider the alternatives before speaking. As the proverb goes, "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. When customers have a technical problem for example, they're having trouble printing , keep in mind that they'll almost always have an emotional reaction as well. Those emotions can range from simple annoyance to outright panic, depending on the importance of the document and the time element involved.

I'm not saying you have to be Dr. Phil, but it's important to acknowledge and recognize these emotional reactions. If all you do is solve the technical problem and walk away, chances are the customer will still be upset. In these cases, simply saying something like, "Pain in the neck, isn't it? In his book The Art of War , the ancient Chinese author and strategist Sun Tzu said, "If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

In particular, try to anticipate the objections your customers will have to your message and address those objections. For example, suppose you're sending out a directive regarding the downloading and application of Windows updates. Suppose further that you have customers who know enough to be dangerous. Such a customer might think, "Well, I'm current in my virus definitions, so this update is unnecessary for me.

Consider, therefore, a sentence such as, "This Windows update is necessary even if your virus definitions are current. Do you know how to talk the talk?: Communications tips for tech managers ZDNet.

The area where I live, southeastern Pennsylvania, has a large agricultural presence, in particular involving the production of mushrooms.

While they are growing, mushrooms are kept in a dark building and are covered with fertilizer. Your customers will become upset if you treat them the same way. Keep them informed of developments involving them, particularly with regard to technical problems and outages. In particular, keep them apprised even if nothing is going on.

For example, let them know you've contacted the vendor but still haven't heard anything back.


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Practice active listening when you talk to your customers and colleagues. People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you'll quickly become known as someone who can be trusted. Use the following strategies to build good working relationships with your colleagues: .

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Working with Colleagues and Customers Working with colleagues and customers Communication is more than just talking; it involves all of our senses- sight, sound.

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To have a co-operative, positive working environment, communication must be effective and efficient. People use many different ways to communicate with each other in the workplace. It is important to understand: 1. How daily work is organised within the workplace customers and colleagues?. Working with Colleagues and Customers. Working with colleagues and customers Communication is more than just talking; it involves all of our sensessight, sound, touch, taste, smell and the more senses we use the better we are able to .

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Oct 03,  · So with the help of four career experts, I compiled a list of the 10 ways to get your colleagues to work with you better. as well as customers or clients. It can also cause employee turnover. This unit deals with the skills and knowledge required to Work effectively with customers and colleagues in a range of settings within the .