Time and time again, we've mentioned on this blog that communication goes a long way, especially in the workplace. In the realm of law, it's even more vital. You have to communicate clearly and effectively with your client, your peers, the judge, and others. Effective communication can ward off mistakes while bolstering morale and productivity within your firm. Thanks to current technology, it's easier than ever--and yet, some still struggle with it.
Communication is a core skill that can be practiced and improved upon. Read on to learn more about its benefits and how you can become a more effective communicator.
Once you've finished up, be sure to register for "Communication Miracles at Work for Lawyers." This seminar will teach you how to effectively handle problems and better your client and coworker relationships. Learn the key skills you need to empower and motivate others along with how to handle difficult people. If you're in charge of a firm or looking to level up your communication skills, this is for you!
The four types of communication. When you think of effective communication, you might imagine a simple spoken conversation, but did you know there are at least four types of communication? They are verbal, non-verbal, visual, and written. If you're looking to step up your game in the courtroom, all four should be taken into account.
Verbal communication isn't just the words we speak, but also the pitch and tone we use to convey them. During the pandemic, we were reminded just how important in-person communication is. It builds connections and leaves little room for error. When speaking in a professional setting, you should always strive for a calm and respectful tone.
Non-verbal communication can convey quite a bit despite being...well, non-verbal. A great deal of what we are thinking can appear in our facial expressions, often without us meaning to. Practice garnering an awareness of your expressions and posture during everyday conversations. You should be maintaining eye contact to those you are speaking with, as it conveys your sincerity. Your posture should be straight and exude confidence. If you are in the role of listener, show your interest with nods and expressive reactions. All of these minor adjustments can combine into a major strength: reassuring your client and others that you are confident, trustworthy, and open.
Visual communication has become more and more popular over the years thanks to the phones in our pockets. We can easily use emojis, gifs, and memes to say exactly how we're feeling. In the courtroom, visual communication could represent itself in the form of data, photographs, or video. It can be used as evidence or assistance in exactly getting your point across. After all, "A picture speaks a thousand words!"
Written communication is extremely important, but the written word can easily cause misunderstandings in the workplace. The tone of an email could be misconstrued or important information could become buried in a wall of text. Shooting off a quick text is easier than ever, but make sure you're exercising caution! If the channel ever gets murky, a quick Zoom call might clear things up.
To learn more about the four types of communication, check out this article from Indeed.
Active listening. It could be argued that active listening is the fifth type of communication! Listening skills go hand in hand with communication skills. After all, you need to excel at absorbing information as well as passing it on. It also doubles as a way to foster relationships among you and your client or team.
People love to feel heard. A simple listening ear will assure them that what they have to say is important and that you care. You can also better understand how to meet their needs. The simple act of listening can work wonders such as improving client relations, fostering a happier workplace culture, increasing productivity and innovation, and minimizing conflict or errors. Don't hesitate to schedule team meetings and one-on-one check-ins often! It can make quite the difference.
Keep the lines of communication open. Work to foster an open workplace culture in which others feel encouraged to speak to you about their problems and ideas. If you're in charge, you should always be willing to receive feedback. Ask clients or coworkers to rate your communication skills and areas you can improve in. After all, communication is a two-way street!
With this territory comes harnessing an understanding of preferred communication styles. Some of your workers might prefer tackling issues head on in large meetings. Others might be a bit shyer and prefer the medium of written communication. Take time to learn where everyone thrives. It will keep your workers happy and leave morale high.
Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Isn't that always the answer when you want to improve at something? Communication skills are no different than learning an instrument or sport. You've got to practice if you want to succeed.
Keep an eye out for future blogs all about self-improvement. PBI is happy to help in any way that we can--and of course don't forget to check out our upcoming courses if you'd like to hone your skills even further!