Did you know, of the five major skill sets today’s employers consider most crucial when hiring recent grads, that communication skills top the list?

No matter what industry you work in, communication is undeniably one of the most essential business skills you should possess. However, many new hires in today’s workforce are not appropriately trained in how to communicate successfully in their first job.

Here are four tips to help you communicate more effectively with your new boss and colleagues:

  1. Consider communication preference. How does the team interact with each other? Ask your new boss how he or she prefers to receive feedback — whether that means scheduling a one-on-one meeting, catching him or her off guard or summarizing your thoughts in an email. While email may work for some, other team members might prefer texting, picking up the phone, or even using instant messaging to communicate. It is important to respect each individual’s preference – whether it’s a client or another team member, be sure to use the communication method they prefer.
  2. Consider tone. The challenge with email and other forms of digital communication is that they can make it difficult to determine a person’s tone. While you may intend to make a joke, you risk creating an unintended reaction from your recipient. With this in mind, always use clear language and keep things concise and to the point.
  3. Repeat what you hear. Re-articulating what a team member or your boss has said to you shows you are listening and understanding what they were trying to communicate. This strategy gives both sender and recipient the opportunity to clarify specific points.
  4. Listen. Because business is so fast paced, many professionals do not take the time to actively listen. Instead, they often interrupt, prepare a quick response, or think they already know what the speaker will say next. It’s difficult to understand what someone wants or needs if you don’t give them your full, undivided attention. Be curious, listen for understanding and never check your phone while someone is talking with you. Trust me, it will pay off in the end.

The Bottom Line

Lastly, try to set up some time during your first week on the job to meet and greet your team, internal partners, and clients. This simple act will be extremely beneficial in creating a positive first impression, help you better connect with other team members, and give co-workers the opportunity to continue fostering a relationship with you moving forward.

Finding ways to develop and enhance your communication skills — whether it’s interviewing, writing, listening or presenting — is well worth the time and effort. By following some of the tips above, you will better understand your new employer’s style and preferences, be able to work more collaboratively and effectively, and ultimately, create more opportunities for success for everyone involved.