JSI hosted a virtual Professional Communications Workshop on April 5th, 2023 for school nutrition professionals, led by JSI instructor Brigitte DeVeau, MS, RD. The workshop focused on enhancing communication skills by evaluating communication styles, identifying effective communication, and applying these methods in the workplace.
The many benefits of effective communication were discussed, such as improving our ability to foster better relationships with colleagues and achieving desired outcomes by helping everyone build trust and respect for one another. The barriers to effective communication were also highlighted. These included distractions, interruptions, different personality types, and different communication styles as well as cultural differences and age.
The results of ineffective communication, such as confusion, conflict, and frustration was also discussed. These negative experiences can bleed out into the work environment which may potentially impact productivity.
Importantly, participants learned the how-to’s on effective communication. Methods that were discussed include:
- Being direct when relaying your message. This means being clear, concise and straightforward in communications.
- Making eye contact. If eye contact is not culturally appropriate, identify appropriate ways to make a connection.
- Repeat what you are saying more than once if necessary. Some individuals find that when a message is said more than once, the message is delivered more effectively.
- Check for understanding. This may involve asking open-ended questions and paraphrasing.
- Using an appropriate tone. The tone of voice can drastically change the message being relayed.
- Matching your body language to what is being said. If the body language and facial expressions are relaying a different message then what is being spoken, this may lead to confusion and frustration.
- Engaging in active listening. One of the keys of effective communication is active listening which involves paying close attention to what the speaker is saying and trying to understand their perspective before responding.
Participants had the opportunity to engage in the workshop by answering polls to learn about their own communication style as well as discuss issues that they have come across in the workplace related to communication. Effective communication involves both the listener and the speaker to be actively engaged in the act of communication. If you are interested in requesting this workshop or exploring another workshop topic, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition website for more information.