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Mastering workplace communication

Karen Young explains how improving your communication skills will help you get ahead in your career

April 2016

You can no longer rely purely on exam success and technical skills to get ahead in your career as an accountant. Employers want you to have strong soft skills and effective workplace communication is particularly important whatever your career ambition. The Hays Accountancy & Finance Capability Gap report found that employers rate communication as the most important skill for their organisationís future success. So developing your communication skills is a must before you take the next step in your career.
Here are ways to master communication in the workplace, if this isnít yet your strong point:
Listen: Listen to others. Communication is a two-way process so by listening to others you can learn, understand and resolve any conflicts.
Body language: Non-verbal communication has by far the greatest impact on how you are perceived, much more than tone of voice and what you actually say. Stay relaxed and aware of your body positioning; donít adopt defensive stances such as crossing arms or legs, particularly in an interview.
Keep it cool and confident: Itís important not to try and resolve a serious situation when overcome with stress or frustration, in these situations things can be misinterpreted. Itís good to apply this logic to emails too. If you have written something in the heat of the moment that you might later regret to a colleague, manager or client, save it as a draft, and review it at a later date before you press send.
Face-to-face is best: Donít email your colleague next to you, speak to them and donít dismiss the importance of face-to-face time with your manager or clients. Emails can often be misconstrued, so communicating in person, where your tone of voice can be heard and your body language can be seen is always best and can leave a lasting positive impact. Business leaders, including my own CEO, agree that face-to-face is the best form of communication.
Time it right: You need to focus and plan in order to communicate well in the workplace. Pick the right moment for the right situation. For example, cornering your boss in the office kitchen to ask for a pay rise isnít the right time or place. If you want to discuss pay, book time in with your manager so you donít catch them unaware and youíll both be able to prepare properly to make the most out of the conversation. And do your market research first as this will help you make it less emotive.
Know your audience: Know your audience and act accordingly. Think about who you are communicating with and the best way for them to understand the information. For example, the way you communicate with your colleagues may be different to the way you communicate with your manager or clients, as well as what and how you communicate.
Effective communication is crucial to your career success, from succeeding at a job interview, to delivering financial reports to stakeholders. If you can master communication in the workplace this will help you stand out in the office and ensure you hold the skills that employers are looking for.
For further information and to find out what youíre worth visit salaryguide.hays.co.uk
ē Karen Young, Director, Hays Accountancy and Finance
About Hays UK Salary and
Recruiting Trends 2016
Data compiled using data gathered during 2015 from Hays offices across the UK, based on job listings, job offers and candidate registrations. Survey responses from over 20,000 employers and employees from organisations of all sizes throughout the UK. Go to www.salaryguide.hays.co.uk

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