For the past eight years, Culinary Agents has been helping restaurants, hotels, food service and other hospitality businesses market their jobs to the passionate talent pool of specialists that have chosen this industry as their career. During that time, we’ve been monitoring the skills required by each position and our most recent data shows that communication holds the top spot, regardless of position, speciality or industry segment. Below we explore the art of communication and offer some tips that may be helpful on and off the clock. Remember, how and what you communicate can be a reflection of your personality and beliefs.
Communication is a two-way street and while the focus is often on the ability to articulate your thoughts in verbal and written form, active listening is the other crucial half of being a successful communicator.
- Practice active listening by paying close attention to what the other person is saying to truly understand what is being said.
- Listen with empathy. Try to understand the other person’s point of view.
- Observe body language to give you an extra level of understanding.
- Avoid interrupting or trying to answer questions before they are asked; wait your turn to respond.
- Ask clarifying questions and confirm responses by paraphrasing points to ensure understanding.
Body language is a key component of communicating and often an indicator of whether or not you're paying attention.
- Be aware of your body language (e.g., hand gestures, facial expressions and muscle tone), which can be interpreted in a positive or negative way.
- Pay attention to other people’s nonverbal cues while you are talking, it can inform how to adjust your verbal and nonverbal communication.
Either in person or via phone, what you say and how you say it are important.
- Convey information clearly and effectively. Don’t say too much or too little.
- Practice saying what you want clearly and directly in as few words as possible.
- Tone of voice, speaking pace and breathing patterns can affect the message you are trying to convey.
- Know your audience and think before you speak. It can help you sort though what to say and how you say it.
In-person and video communication allows you to use your non-verbal communication to your advantage and yet written communication can also be effective and efficient.
- Be aware of the tone of your writing to ensure that your message and its intent comes across clearly.
- Use appropriate words, phrases and non-offensive language. You never know where or when your words may appear or reappear.
- Be organized, straightforward and concise.
- Read aloud when you are proof reading.
- Spellcheck is not infallible, proofread again after you spellcheck to ensure the correct work is being used (e.g., it's vs. its).
The old saying holds true, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Images can efficiently help convey your message.
- Graphs, charts and diagrams are great ways to show and share information.
- Images are often effective communication tools to enable other forms of dialogue.
Pro-Tips for Communication
- Be conscious of the difference between eye contact and staring. Staring can sometimes make people uncomfortable and actually give off the opposite impression of focus.
- Smile when you are speaking on the phone, it makes a difference.
- Practice incorporating empathy, kindness, respect and friendliness into your communications regularly, it can impact your message while also brightening someone else’s day.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. Drafts are effective. Avoid sending important emails when you’re feeling angry, sad or hungry. Save the draft and come back to it. Enjoy the luxury of writing something and having the opportunity to update and change it before sharing.
- If you are sharing images, memes and videos on social media, be aware of how you’re communicating to your audience on different channels.