What habits should people pick up to help them become better communicators at work? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Hector Macdonald, Strategic Communications Consultant and Author of Truth, on Quora:

Communication is a skill, like any other, that you can learn through practice. So the first habit is to communicate regularly, both in written and spoken form. You can do this in a safe environment (rather than at work) by joining a club or society that requires you to present or debate or submit written samples. To progress, you need to complement that practice with constructive feedback. Ask people to assess your performance when you speak or write. Invite suggestions for how you could express yourself better.

Thinking through what you're trying to achieve with your communication is another important habit. Who are you trying to influence? What do you want them to do or think differently as a result? What will they respond well to? Is the medium or channel of communication you've chosen the most effective for this goal and this audience?

The habit of truth is essential. Nothing kills your credibility as a communicator (or indeed a co-worker) if you are found to be misleading people. We are all tempted to frame and shape our messages in favourable ways, but we need to be careful not to cross the line into unethical, misleading communication.

The habit of brevity is admirable (though I don't always demonstrate it!). I'm writing this in real time so I'm rambling a bit, but if you're trying to make a strong impression with a communication, try to edit it down to a few hard-hitting points.

Finally, the habit of endless curiosity and learning is a real asset to communicators. Too often people working in communications are seen as dumb mouthpieces for the executives who really know stuff. But you can't be a really excellent communicator without broad and deep knowledge about and around your work. So learn whatever you can about your organization and the environment in which it operates, then draw on that knowledge to find new and interesting ways to communicate about it.

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Published on: Mar 15, 2018