Establishing rapport is critical to attaining successful business and personal relationships. While everyone must competently use today’s information technology tools, too many of us are ignoring the proven importance and effectiveness of interpersonal communication skills. That is why we’ve put together a list of the top 9 communication tips for executive and administrative assistants that are pulled from our certification and designation course.
1. Try being more specific in what you say. Speak for yourself; don’t use vague generalizations about people. This would be especially important if you are speaking to someone who needs details. You may not always know if the person you are speaking to is more of a “big picture” or “detailed” thinker. But if you really pay attention to people and listen, you can determine if they have a preference.
2. Pay attention to what is happening in the present moment within yourself, in the other person, and between the two of you. This is a good one. How many times are you paying attention to other things or letting thoughts get in your way of concentrating on the immediate? In this age of constant distraction, it takes concentrated effort to be in the moment. But this will be one of the best techniques you can implement.
3. To be effective, if you do have a criticism to make, first get yourself taken seriously as an expert or trusted friend. It is very difficult for someone to listen to our critique of them or something they have done if they don’t trust us, respect us or view us as a credible source. First, work on those three things (trust, respect, being credible) and then it will be easier to give feedback.
4. People usually want support, approval, and agreement. Be as generous with these as you can.
5. Take time and effort to know what you want to communicate. Do not operate mouth until the brain is in gear. Make sure you do not just blurt out what is on your mind as you can hurt someone or create a barrier. When we are communicating with others, we want to be heard. We want people to be open to what we have to say or get them to take action. This especially applies in an email. Take your time to craft your message.
6. Give your work partner time and space to communicate. Don’t interrupt or complete his/her sentences. How many times do you jump in before someone has finished their thought? Or you think you know exactly what they are going to say next? We all do it by habit. However, you will get more out of a conversation if you let the other person say what they need to say. Granted, some people babble on and on; just be patient.
7. Face the fact that the message you think you are receiving is not always the message sent. It is good to clarify what you think you heard. This can save you rework, errors or moving in the wrong direction on a task or assignment.
8. Ask yourself if your goal is to communicate or to win. This is especially important during conflict resolution. When we have conflicting views or opinions, usually our goal is “someone has to win and someone has to lose. I want to win; therefore, you have to lose.” This solves nothing. Often when we focus us making sure the other person understands our message or point of view, we win.
9. Watch out for anger and resentment as barriers. Do you hold grudges? Did someone at work say something that upset you? Or maybe they ignored you and that bothered you. Hidden anger or resentment will create barriers. Use assertive communication skills to manage these situations.
Best of luck! Use these strategies to improve relationships, get work done, persuade others, negotiate, create win-win situations, and be seen as a world-class administrative professional.
This article is an excerpt from the World Class Assistant™ certification and designation course. To learn more about earning you Certified World Class Assistant designation and certification please click here.