Communication is not just the ability to talk, to exchange opinions and thoughts. According to the survey, which was conducted by LinkedIn, communication holds about 58% of the importance of all the soft skills. In terms of business, communication skill is a key to success. This is a tool for achieving goals.
That's why communication is actually being paid so much attention to in our company. During our new podcast, we talked to Julia, our communication tutor, to find out what she teaches our staff during her classes.
Try your partner's shoes
Communication is a general term, and it’s not about simply speaking. Of course, it starts with learning good English, as we talk to people from different parts all over the world. But apart from using the language, it’s essential to actually understand the idea of a partner. Also, it is very important to empathize: to know which fears or pains your partner might have.
One of the pains is the timezone. Some partners might be afraid that we can sleep while they’re working, but in reality we are taught to be flexible. We find agreement about the proper time for communication in any case.
Restate to understand and to be understood
While someone speaks, you should not only listen, but hear. And you have to be able to deliver the message back. That’s why we learn to restate. Sometimes during our lessons, we imitate a real call with a product owner and try to restate what he says. For example:
A: Hi, Julia, I am the owner of a printing studio. I would like to build a super cool website in which people can upload the images. And after that, they can put those images on the T-shirts, and I can deliver those T-shirts to them.
I want it to be not just a simple e-commerce website, I want it to be the community that encourages people to vote for the T-shirts with the best designs. So how would you recommend me to implement that?
J: As far as I understand, you would like to create a kind of platform, where the users can upload different fun images, and then those images are going to be printed on the T-shirts. But this is not the limit.
You would also like to create a kind of community around this platform so that the people can actually share the culture of these images with each other. And probably, you would also like to share some ratings: like, which picture is the best.
When you say what you’ve heard in other words, your partner feels safe and understood: his ideas are going to be implemented in the way he imagines this.
Don’t be shy, ask questions!
No surprise, good engineers can be shy. We pay much attention in our company to development and improvement of communication skills in our staff members. In some sense, introverts might even be the best communicators, as they are strict and ask only what they need, saving our partner’s time.
But sometimes people don’t ask questions, as they’re afraid to look stupid. This is totally wrong. When you ask questions, that means that you're really interested in the topic and in the delivering of the idea. Also, when you ask questions, it shows that you really care about the product and that you're interested in implementing it in the perfect way.
We prepare a kind of agenda before the call. This is a very good thing because it saves time for our partners. When you have a call, you actually know what points you're going to mention.
During the call, we make sure that we deliver all the messages and understand the idea of our partner to the end. So we are not afraid to ask questions. And after the call, we usually have a kind of resume to sum up the call. And we even have a special algorithm for that: what was discussed, what we agreed and what we need from the partners (e.g. some access or data). This is how our regular communication is built.
If you want to find out more about how LinkUp prepares for the calls and what we learn from communicating with other people, listen to our new podcast.