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August 21, 2017
Five elements of effective communication
Marcela Fernandez, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Ataway Buenos Aires
By mastering the art of communication, you’ll increase every level of performance in your life. Effective communication is a critical component of mastering success. What a unique opportunity to touch others with something small but powerful—our words. Preparation is the key to good communication. You need to make deliberate, consistent effort to keep putting into your head, and putting into your heart and soul, valuable information from your life experiences. You can’t speak of that which you don’t know. You can’t relate what you don’t have. You can’t give out what hasn’t come in. So the first key to good communication is a consistent way to gather information, knowledge, experiences and then remember it, store it and have it available so that you can use it.
   “Most Of The Successful People I've Known Are The Ones Who Do More Listening Than Talking.”
         – Bernard Baruch
This quote has taught me to only speak when necessary when I am adding value to a conversation (preparation). If I am not adding value, I should be listening so that I can fully absorb what the other person is saying. This is a really important point and is fundamental when communicating effectively with a project team. Over the next few paragraphs, I’ll list out a few of the most important aspects of communicating successfully either on a project or as a leader.  
Many organizations have been moving away from one way communication in the past years. Instead, many have been moving towards a more “open door” management style, recognizing that communication is a two-way street. When you communicate with your co-workers, keep an open mind and reach out to them regularly. It is important to check in on a regular basis, and be able to discuss ongoing activities, new ideas, and pain points.  Whether it’s with a conversation by the water cooler with peers from a different background or a more formal context, one’s point of view can be enriched by asking “What is your view on this?”
This is an important aspect when preparing for communication. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  Ask for someone’s perspective to get an insight on their mindset, and ask yourself if the timing is right.  When having a conversation (especially a difficult one), or delivering bad news, keep track of reactions and be ready to adjust on the run. You might get an unexpected response, but different people have different “thresholds”, and what’s innocuous to one person, could be hurtful to another one. If you encounter this, remain professional, or delay the talk until a more appropriate time.
Make sure that your counterpart has fully understood.  Your choice of words should be clear, specific, accurate, and non-judgmental.  Avoid irrelevant details, “beating around the bushes”, so to speak in order to keep your audience engaged and focused on the purpose.  Also, you can ask for feedback in order to make sure you are on the same page.  
In more formal contexts, you can conduct regular status meetings, create a meeting minute and have the internal documentation readily available for all of those involved. This will help to minimize misunderstandings and make sure that knowledge and documents are shared and easily attainable.
Communication in the workplace always serves a purpose. This could range from building rapport, giving or obtaining a certain piece of information, solving a problem, reaching an agreement on next steps, amongst many others.  Always keep in mind how this act of communication is linked to your work related goals.  When facing a difficult topic, it’s always better to stick to the facts, and not the people. Rather than focusing on a person’s shortcomings, explain how a certain action or omission will impact team goals and overall result.
SAYING “NO” and “CONGRATULATIONS” when appropriate.
Saying “no” to someone’s request or point of view does not always come in easy even if it’s necessary for certain situations. The main ingredients of an effective No are: Politeness, Arguments, and Alternatives. If you deliver a negative answer in a respectful manner, providing valid reasons and alternatives, chances are the conversation will have a positive outcome. On the other hand, don’t hesitate to celebrate milestones and achievements or deliver congratulations when they are in order.  This will pave the way for better communication in the future and boost the group’s morale.
Interested in joining a company that grows and invests in its people? Ataway is always looking for great talent to add to our teams at our 17 office locations around the globe. Whether you have 25 years of experience and are an expert in your field or are fresh out of school looking to kickstart your career, Ataway has a place for you. Ataway is actively recruiting across the globe. Apply today by emailing us at
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