Great communication amongst the dental team is so important. Get it right and you can inform, motivate and inspire your staff to work cohesively towards the same goal. Get it wrong and you can be left with a confused, uninterested and ineffective team.
Busy clinics can sometimes make meeting face-to-face difficult, and it can be tempting to rely on email (or even WhatsApp) as a way to keep in touch with colleagues. But is an email a good substitute for interpersonal communication?
Written communication undoubtedly has its benefits, and it’s great for communicating facts and figures. But on the other hand, how many times have you been left confused by an email, or even disconcerted by its seemingly negative tone of voice. And who’s to say your email even gets read in the first place.
Is more verbal communication the solution to these common dilemmas? We think so, but it needs to be delivered in the right way. Talking is easy, but communicating effectively requires a degree of skill. Luckily help is at hand, and we have ten easy ways to develop your communication skills and become a more effective leader.
Ten steps to great communication skills
1. Prepare what you want to say
Try to find the time to sit down and think about what you want to say and the key points that you need to communicate. Also have a think about any questions you might be asked and prepare some answers. If you have a lot of important information to deliver, it might be helpful to follow up your conversation or meeting with an email.
2. Don’t forget to listen
Sometimes it can be all too easy to just focus on what we’re saying, and we forget that communication is a two-way street. Try breaking your message down into bite-sized chunks and give your recipient the chance to respond. Use your body language to show that you’re interested in what they have to say and let them finishing speaking before you reply.
3. Remove any distractions
Think about the best time and location for a meeting. Depending on what’s being discussed you might want to choose somewhere private where you won’t be interrupted. Show your colleague that you’re focused on them by putting away your mobile and anything else that might prove to be a distraction.
4. Use your body language
It’s thought that speech only accounts for 20-30% of communication. This means the tone of your voice, gestures and facial expressions go a long way towards communicating your message. Mirroring your colleague’s body language is a good way to show that you’re in sync and interested. Maintain good eye contact and nod your head to show that you’re listening and engaged.
5. Tell the story
While it’s often a good idea to keep communications concise and to the point, it’s equally important to ‘set the scene’. If you’re asking someone to do something, explain why, as well as the benefits of their actions. This will help them to feel valued and more receptive to what you are asking them to do.
6. Keep calm
If you’re stressed wait until you’re feeling calmer before communicating with colleagues. Keeping a positive attitude is so important for effective communication. If you are stressed you might struggle to keep your emotions in check and your message could be misinterpreted.
7. Speak with confidence
Face-to-face communication doesn’t come easily to everyone, particularly if you’re delivering your message to a large group. Show confidence by speaking slowly and clearly, and make eye contact with everyone in the room. Embrace opportunities to talk to your colleagues and you’ll quickly find that your skills improve.
8. Watch the tone of your voice
Make sure you are thinking about the tone of your voice when you are talking to others. Tone encompasses both the volume you use and the emotions you communicate. Stay calm and speak clearly without shouting. Smiling as you speak will also help you to sound more positive and friendly.
9. Take notes
It’s always a good idea to write down some notes from your meeting. This will help you to keep a log of important conversations and respond to any questions that you’re not able to answer there and then. If you are following up a conversation with an email, make sure you do this promptly.
10. Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is a great way to improve your communication skills and ensure you’ve delivered your message effectively. Ask your audience if they’ve understood everything you’ve spoken about and if they have any questions. Finally recap any actions that need to be taken.
We hope we’ve convinced you to step away from the keyboard and spend more time engaging with your team in person losartan 50 mg. For further advice on how to improve your communication skills, get in touch to find out about our tailor-made dental training courses.