The power of communication in the workplace

Four people talking in an office

5 minute read

The ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) Careers and Student Employability team assists the College’s students and alumni in navigating their professional landscape. Last month, The Australian National University (ANU) received a Global Employers’ Choice award and the CBE Careers and Student Employability team were among those recognised for their exceptional services and the innovative programs they organise.

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CBE Careers and its industry partners are offering a wide range of virtual engagement opportunities, workshops and events to CBE students and alumni to help them achieve employment success.

Recently, the team held an online Tips & Tricks: Workplace Communication workshop. Moderated by CBE Careers Consultant AJ Sega, the online session focused on the verbal, non-verbal and written forms of communication that are fundamental in the workforce.

CBE Careers believes the demand for effective communication in the workplace is constant. The ability to quickly and precisely convey ideas and instructions is indispensable. Learning how to adapt your language to suit your audience, whether you’re face to face with a co-worker, supervisor, or client is particularly important.

Communication in the workplace is a powerful tool. According to CBE Careers, there are six core principles one should pay close attention to:

  • be selective in your communication
  • practice active listening
  • be clear
  • be curious
  • engage with others
  • be mindful of your body language.

During the session, AJ highlighted the concept of ‘learning conversations’, referring to exchanges with supervisors and receiving feedback, which can be processed through  two types of mindsets —  fixed and growth.

The goal of the fixed mindset is to look smart and feedback is often taken personally. In the growth mindset, the objective is to learn and uses feedback to advance one’s own capabilities.

“What mindset are you in when it comes to having a conversation with your supervisor, team member or a peer in a project? By having a completely different mindset you can start to better understand the dynamics amongst the people you work with,” AJ asks, as he emphasises how one can gain more from a conversation.  

He also broke down how to have a difficult and challenging conversation with a colleague into three simple steps:

  1. Understand the issue. What do you need to ask, say or request?
  2. Identify the best means of communication (i.e. a conversation over coffee, formal meeting or email)
  3. Delivery. Diplomatically explain the situation and propose solutions.

“One’s ability to speak, understand, adapt, and communicate through language is what makes us human and plays a vital role within the world of business,” AJ adds.

CBE Careers and Student Employability offers a range of initiatives to build the skills desired by employers. Their offerings include the CBE Internship ProgramSpecial Industry Project, the Global Learners of Business and Economics (GLOBE)  Internship Program, and MomentuM, the College’s professional development and mentoring program. 

The CBE Careers and Student Employability team is currently offering virtual one-to-one career consultations to students and recent alumni via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WeChat or phone. To learn more about the CBE Careers and Student Employability Team or to book an appointment with a CBE Career Consultant, please visit CareerHub.