When it comes to engineers and fabricators miscommunication is not uncommon. At times this gap in communication leads to frustration, tension and can waste everybody’s time. Don’t stress, like any other skill you can learn, practise and build your communication expertise. When you put in the time and elbow grease into developing open, effective and trusting communication you’ll create an efficient and positive work environment. At the end of the day, when everybody is on the same page they work better. On this blog, we are going through the essentials of good communication for engineers and fabricators.
Be aware of what language you are using when you communicate. Do you use a lot of technical language? Are you prone to using jargon? If so, your communication will dramatically improve when you cut back on complicated language. When you use plain English then you cut out ambiguity and you are easier to understand. This is especially true if you are working with somebody who isn’t an engineer or doesn’t understand the fabricating process. Try explaining the ‘why’ and ‘what’ simply without being too patronising.
Include people in the process
A good way to keep everybody up-to-date and on the same page is to keep them informed. For example, if you have a meeting with any changes send out the meeting notes. Better yet, include more people in the meeting. Sudden changes can be jarring for people and if they don’t understand them then it can create frustration in the workplace. At the end of the day, the people who are implementing the change will know best if that change is better or worse. So it is important to listen to their opinion. When people are part of the process they have a deeper understanding of the project and what the outcome should look like. They will also care more about the end product.
This might sound a little obvious but if you’re not listening, truly listening, then you’re not communicating effectively. Miscommunication is a two-sided coin, it takes one person not being clear and the other person not thoughtfully listening. A good listener pays attention to their client’s needs and makes sure they have gotten it right. Here are a few steps for you to practise listening.
- Remove distractions like your phone and devote your attention to the person talking to you
- Pay attention to body language and tone. If the person talking to you looks worried then you’ll need to reassure them
- Show interest in what they are saying and try your best to understand and empathise
- Do not interrupt them even if you think you know what they are trying to tell you. When people don’t feel listened to then they will struggle to put their trust in you
- Think about what they’ve said and repeat what you think they meant. You can even pose it as a question. That way, if you’ve misunderstood something you can clear it up on the spot instead of down the line when it’s too late
To break it all down it’s simply absorb, reflect and repeat. Not only will you’ve improved listening skills things at work run a little smoother, but your relationship between clients, co-workers, employees or employers will also improve. Just keep practising.
Respect each other’s time
We are all busy, and while having a nice chat every now and then is nice, nobody likes having their time wasted. Simple things like scheduling a meeting shows respect for other people’s time and maintain a professional and friendly relationship. During a meeting, try to keep on topic and to the point. If you can, always send an agenda in advance so the other person can prepare for the meeting and you can get straight to the point in the meeting.
Sometimes the best way to improve communication and workspace relationships is a little kindness, a smile and good manners. Workplace environments can be stressful, especially during crunch time, and it’s easy to take it out on the people around you. However, if people are hesitant to approach you with queries and issues then you’ll end up with a gap in communication. Simple and easy to fix problems can turn into big time wasters. Sometimes the friendliest thing to do is to be a little more open about your feelings and deadlines. If you’re swamped with something just let people know.
Running a smooth operation is easier said than done. At Acra, we can at least take the stress out of finding the right machinery. We have a top-notch range of new and second-hand machinery including press brakes, bandsaws, plasma cutters and laser cutters. If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.