Workplace Communication Skills

Outline of the Conversation:

Santosh works in the quality assurance department of Torrent Power offices in Surat. After failing to receive a job promotion Santosh becomes angry and discusses the situation with his manager Vivek. During their conversation, Vivek commends Santosh on his good qualities but points out his poor communication skills which caused him to miss the promotion.

The Conversation:

Vivek: Yes Santosh, I've wanted to speak with you for some time. How can I help you today?

Santosh: Sir, I am very disappointed that I did not receive the promotion that I have worked so hard for. I don't understand why I didn't receive it, and think this is very unfair.

Vivek: Ok, let me explain. Santosh, we really value you as an employee and think that your work is stellar. Your problem is your poor communication skills. This is why you were not promoted.

Santosh: My communication skills! But I speak Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, and English all with great fluency. I am outspoken and open with everyone in the department.

Vivek: Being fluent in multiple languages and open is only part of being a good communicator. There have been some complaints about you being a little too outspoken.

Santosh: That is preposterous! I would like to know who filed these complaints.

Vivek: Ok Santosh, you are going to have to calm down. You are speaking very loudly and I'm only trying to help you. Your loud tone of voice is part of the problem. Your voice level is often too high for the office. This disturbs your co-workers.

Santosh: No problem, I'll speak at a lower level from now on.

Vivek: You will have to not only lower the volume but work on being more courteous to others. I've seen you speak disparagingly with your juniors but speak in a laudatory way with your seniors. Courteousness should be maintained in the workplace irrespective of rank.

Santosh: I understand. I certainly do not mean to be discourteous to other employees. Perhaps I picked up the bad habit from my older brother and my father. I hope people do not speak poorly of me when I am not around.

Vivek: I have not heard of anyone speaking badly of you. But there are complaints. Another grievance of your co-workers is that you are a poor listener. You always make sure to give your input at meetings but seem as though you do not fully consider the views of others.

Santosh: But I do take into account others' opinions and contributions. I've worked here for a while and tend to know a little more than others. I naturally have insightful views and frequently wish to share them. It's not that I do not care about others' views; I simply have strong views.

Vivek: That's ok, but you need to use better body language to show that you're fully acknowledging others. In the last team meeting I watched you sit erect when sharing your own input but slump and study your notes when others contributed.

Santosh: Ok, I see my mistake. I was not aware of that. I should have kept good eye contact with the others and sat erect when they were speaking right?

Vivek: That's exactly right!

Santosh: Well it looks like I am doomed as an effective communicator. I guess I was not eligible for the promotion after all.

Vivek: Don't fret Santosh. We love your ideas and output. You can still receive the promotion in four months. During this time you must make yourself an exemplarycommunicator.

Santosh: Thank you sir. I will indeed work on this. I apologize for my bad performance. You will see a big improvement in no time!

Vivek: I'm sure I will Santosh. No need for apologies. Just a few more things. Make sure that your co-workers completely understand you when you're delegating tasks and reporting results. Make sure you understand them also. Never proceed unless both parties are totally clear with each other. Don't agree and say yes if you do not understand.

Santosh: No problem sir. I'm on top of everything as we speak.

Vivek: Thanks Santosh, and try to smile a little more. It will go a long way.


Stellar - Very good.

Fluency - The ability to speak a foreign language easily and effectively.

Preposterous - Very foolish or silly.

Disparagingly - Derivative of disparage, meaning to speak of in a disrespectful way.

Laudatory - Expressing or containing praise.

Irrespective - Without thinking about or considering something.

Grievance - A reason for complaining or being unhappy with a situation.

Insightful - Having or showing a very clear understanding of something.

Exemplary - Extremely good and deserving to be admired and copied.

Delegate - To give (control, responsibility, authority, etc.) to someone: to trust someone with (a job, duty, etc.


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