Questionnaire: Do You Have Good Communication Skills?
Research shows that in the UK many employers and employees lack good communication skills. This results in problems with productivity, workplace effectiveness, and job satisfaction.
To assess the level of your communication skills, take the following quiz.
(a) Do you listen to people’s opinions? Yes O No O
(b) If you think someone is making a good point, do you thank them for it and act on it?Yes O No O
(c) Do you encourage people to listen to their colleagues?Yes O No O
2. Blaming and Praising(a) If someone makes a suggestion that proves successful in practice, do you ensure he or she receives thanks and praise?Yes O No O
(b) If someone makes a mistake, do you first praise the person for an achievement before discussing the error?Yes O No O
(c) If you hear someone blaming another person, do you join in with your own negative comments? Yes O No O
(d) Do you criticise people in front of others?Yes O No O
3. Availability(a) If you know an awkward colleague wants to talk to you, do you hide?Yes O No O
(b) If you’re too busy to see someone, do you make a point of getting back to them as soon as possible?Yes O No O
4. Adapting Your Style(a) Do you adapt your communication style for different people and circumstances?Yes O No O
5. General Communication Issues(a) Do you prefer to give advice or instructions by discussing matters with colleagues or staff face to face?Yes O No O
(b) If a colleague or member of staff is struggling to understand something, do you go out of your way to help them?Yes O No O
(c) Do you try to write letters, documents, etc. in plain English?Yes O No O
Answers1. ListeningAward yourself a point for each of the following correct answers: (a) yes; (b) yes; (c) yes (maximum three points).
Listening skills are as important as the ability to talk and write effectively. Such skills indicate to people that you are treating them with respect. Furthermore, you need to respond positively to what people say, and show that you were listening.
2. Blaming and PraisingAward yourself a point for each of the following correct answers: (a) yes; (b) yes; (c) no; (d) no (maximum four points).
People like to receive praise and recognition for their achievements. The right words of praise are also great motivators.
You should always praise people before talking about their mistakes. This helps maintain a positive attitude among everyone in a workplace. Being negative and apportioning blame is too easily done; you must nurture an approach that praises people at every opportunity. You should also speak in private to someone about a problem he or she has caused.
3. AvailabilityAward yourself a point for each of the following correct answers: (a) no; (b) yes (maximum two points).
Awkward colleagues can be a nuisance, but you need to face them at the earliest opportunity. You should also make a point of getting back to people without delay if you’re to maintain their respect.
4. Adapting Your StyleAward yourself a point for the following correct answer: (a) yes.
You must adapt your communication style to suit the person or people you’re talking or writing to. Try to put yourself in their place, and communicate accordingly.
5. General Communication IssuesAward yourself a point for each of the following correct answers: (a) yes; (b) yes; (c) yes (maximum three points).
It’s always better to discuss matters rather than simply give instructions. Also try not to give such instructions by email. In this circumstance, people may assume you’ve something to hide.
You should also make time to help others in the workplace; after all, you may need help yourself at some time.As for using plain English, this should go without saying. Time and again, however, people communicate with unnecessary jargon, long words, and convoluted sentences. If you do, the content of your message is easily lost.
Your Score13 points: you clearly know how to communicate well at work. Good communication isn’t easy, though, and you need to maintain your success day in, day out.
11/12 points: address the areas where you’ve failed to score points, and keep working at your communication skills. You should soon become a good workplace communicator.
Fewer than 11 points: you have some work to do. Try to improve your communication skills in the areas where you’ve lost points. If you’re still struggling, you may be able to find a place on a relevant training course to assist you.