Communication

Body Language

Focus on displaying positive/receptive body language to show that you are interested, open, positive and confident.

Positive/Receptive Body Language

  • Consistent eye contact, friendly but steady gaze
  • Smiling
  • Upright posture, back straight
  • Relaxed, controlled body movements
  • Expressive face
  • Uncrossed arms and legs
  • Open hand gestures, no excessive or distracting hand movements
  • Head held high

Negative/Unreceptive Body Language

  • Looking down, avoiding eye contact, shifting eye contact, staring
  • Yawning, frowning, squinting, furrowed brow
  • Slouched or hunched posture
  • Nervous, jerky body movements or fidgeting or foot/finger tapping
  • Nodding or blinking excessively
  • Lack of facial expression
  • Crossed arms and legs
  • Hands clenched

Written Communication

Unprofessional email example

Subject: (blank)

Hi,
I got that thing 4 u that u said on Friday. 😛
S

Professional email example

Subject: Update on ID:2343 Marketing Report

Good Afternoon Dan,

I have attached the file you requested on Friday, Dec 7th for the ID:2343 Marketing report.

Please let me know if you have any further suggestions.
Thank you,
Stacey

Stacey Smith ▪ Marketing Assistant ▪ ABC Company
416-736-0000 ▪ F: 416-736-5000 ▪ ssmith@example.ca
4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Tips

  • Always double check spelling and grammar before sending
  • If forwarding an email, make sure you write a message about what that person should do, e.g. “Please reply to this customer.”
  • Double check that you have the right recipients and attachments included

More Resources

http://www.emailexcellence.com/PDF/EMAIL-ESSENTIALS-The-Master-Template-ORSON.pdf

http://www.emailexcellence.com/free-writing-tools.cfm

Verbal Communication

Asking clarification questions

Make sure you are actively listening to the instructions being given and that you are taking notes. If you’re not sure of something or there is a term used that you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask “What does this mean?” or “Can you clarify this?” right away before your colleague/manager leaves you to work independently.

Asking for help

When asking your colleagues for advice or help on a project instead of saying “I’m stuck, can you help me?” It’s more professional and portrays that you have put a lot of effort into the project when you give your colleague context before asking for help. “I am working on the XYZ project. So far I have tried 1, 2, and 3. Do you have any suggestions on what else I could try?”

Presentations

  • Make sure you know the content of your presentation so you don’t have to use cue cards.
  • Double check that all of your technology, graphics and video run properly in the room you’ll be presenting in.
  • Know your audience, make sure your presentation is customized and adapted to your audience.
  • Be confident! Use a clear tone and speak loud enough so everyone can hear you.
  • Don’t forget to pause. Slowing down and pausing helps you emphasize key points.
  • Glance at each person in the audience as you are speaking.
  • During questions, clarify the question if needed and thank the person for asking their question before answering.

Telephone Skills:

Answering the phone

Make sure to answer with a friendly, professional tone starting with a greeting and your name.

“Good Morning/Afternoon, Stacey speaking.”

Leaving a message

Make sure to answer with a friendly, professional tone starting with a greeting and your name.

Make sure you leave a brief detailed message about why you’re calling with your name and number. “Hi Mark, it’s Stacey from Accounting. I’m calling to ask for an update on the XYZ project. Please call me back at 416-736-0000.”

Voicemail

Your organization might have a standard voicemail script that you are required to follow when recording your greeting. If not, make sure your greeting has no background noise and your name, position, company and your availability are clearly indicated.

“You have reached Stacey Smith, Marketing Assistant at ABC Company. Please leave me a detailed message with your name and phone number and I will get back to you. Have a nice day.”

Team Meetings and Project Meetings

Team Meetings with whole department

Ask your supervisor what is expected of you at team meetings. You may be asked to give updates or an overview, including successes and challenges.

Project Meetings

Meetings with colleagues working on the same project are more descriptive.

Supervisors and colleagues expect you to tell them:

  • What you have completed so far
  • What you are currently working on
  • Any challenges you are having
  • What is left to complete
  • Estimated timeline for completion – always update about deadlines and CLARIFY deadlines when given a task (it’s a good idea to put a reminder in your calendar).

Cultivating Relationships: Small Talk Strategies

  • Show genuine curiosity and interest in the people you are interacting with
  • Ask open-ended questions, e.g., “What is your favourite sport?”, “What do you do for fun?”
  • Have a balanced conversation – don’t monopolize or interrupt
  • Show you are listening attentively – be mindful of your non-verbal cues
  • Avoid sensitive, controversial or taboo topics – keep it light and positive
  • It is generally recommended that you avoid bringing up your personal life or asking about theirs unless the information is volunteered

Topics for Small Talk

Safe
The weather, transportation, surrounding environment, sports, literature, the other person’s interests

Controversial
Politics, religion, personal issues