College to Corporate: Communication 101

By Madhuika Gautama
The transition from college to corporate is challenging, and one that requires preparation. After an average of four years of study, jumping into a professional setup means taking responsibility, making decisions, meeting new people and may be even managing teams.

While your technical skills may have landed you the job, it is your communication skills that will determine your success at the job.

Here are five communication tips to help get you started at work.

Body Language

Your body language is the first thing that colleagues notice about you. Remembering to keep an open and relaxed body language will help you break the ice with people, converse confidently, and be regarded positively by peers. Stand tall and straight, and use open palm gestures. When you’re sitting, keep your legs crossed. Do not shake your leg or tap your feet. Never cross your arms across your chest. It is often viewed as defensiveness.

Eye Contact

Eye contact helps demonstrate that you believe what you’re saying. Research shows that maintaining eye contact for 60 % – 70% of the time helps build rapport. You can also use eye contact to show you’re listening. Encourage the listener further by nodding and adding vocal cues like “okay”, “hmmm” and “yes”, etc.

Rate of Speech

Your colleagues will always be quick to notice how you speak. It has been observed that those whose rate of speech is fast are not taken seriously. Not only does the speed affect the clarity of your words, but it also affects the tone of your voice. Speaking slowly and with deliberation will help you be taken more seriously, and your opinion will be considered over others.

Grammatical Errors

Grammatical errors in your verbal and written communication can stand out and sometimes even be cause for a miscommunication. Concepts like subject-verb agreement, prepositions and tenses are often a concern. However, start simple and correct the glaring issues first. For example, don’t introduce yourself like this: “Myself Priyanka”. Instead, say “I am Priyanka”, or “My name is Priyanka”.

Short Emails

There are many best practices when it comes to email writing for business communication. However, as a fresher you need to remember to keep your emails short, precise and succinct. Start your email by introducing the purpose of the email. Next, elaborate on the subject. Finally, end with stating your expectation from the recipient, or what you will do for the recipient and by what timeline.

The author is a trainer and consultant with EnglishCoach Pvt Ltd, a learning and development company that provides training in business communication to corporate