Most people face at least a few communication challenges at work, enough for Forbes, U.S. News, Instructables, and Lifehacker to write content addressing how to communicate effectively in the workplace. These strategies may assist all staff, including those with hearing loss or deafness.
According to an article in U.S. News, top communication strategies include both listening and speaking. As a listener, employees should pay attention when others are speaking, read body language for additional clues, and repeat or rephrase what the other person says to ensure everyone has the same understanding or to get clarification. If the other person has difficulty understanding what you say or didn’t hear you well, try rephrasing what you said using different words. Some words are easier to hear than others.
Most of the communication tips concern speaking, according to the U.S. News article, including asking others about their communication preferences (email, voice or videophone, texting, etc.), controlling your tone, avoiding casual speech, watching your grammar, and asking others about their personal lives, which often invites others to speak more informally with you.
A Forbes article on communication strategies takes a reporter’s approach. Veteran TV news reporter, Karen Friedman, says her number one rule is: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible.” Other tips include being specific about deadlines, asking open-ended questions to avoid simple yes/no answers, and delivering bad news plainly.
According to an Instructables article by Trent Jonathan, we should be nice during communication, and ask questions. Jonathan says, “Even if you are an expert in your field, you can always learn more.”
According to a Lifehacker blog post, watching your body language is essential. ” We’ve pointed out before that you should minimize ‘moving away’ behavior like sighing, averting eyes, and negative body language so you don’t communicate something you don’t intend. Instead, focus more on positive body language like long periods of eye contact, uncrossed limbs, and genuine smiles.”
People with hearing loss or deafness use body language as a clue, so ensure that your gestures and facial expressions match your meaning.
Communication is lifelong. Coworkers and family members will appreciate your efforts to do it more effectively.