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Now we will look at how we communicate during the appraisal meeting. We learn our communication skills from a young age and these are mastered over the duration of our life. It sounds easy to say that communication skills are the most important skill when it comes to appraisals, this is easy to say but more difficult to do.

Communication is not only a means of passing on information from one person to another but it is also a manner of expressions. There are two ways of communication this is verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal consists of things like body language and the gestures that you make whereas verbal is the use of words.

When we communicate we must remember that this is a ‘two way street’ and that it involves both parties following a number of key principles, let’s explore these.

Body language. Body language includes facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, posture, non-verbal signals and appearance. Taking the time to smartly dress for this meeting will not only meet your companies dress requirements but it will also empower you for the day ahead and gives a professional vibe to both your customers and staff. Poor body language has the complete opposite effect, a good example is rolling your eyes or frowning. This will have a negative impact on your voice and your overall persona.

Listening skills are very important. Never interrupt the other person during an appraisal. This is an opportunity for them to express views and options. It is good to make notes and repeat this back to confirm your understanding of what they have said. Ask relevant questions that are linked to the discussion to show that you are engaged and committed to this process. Try to ask open questions which will allow you to explore further.

Try to avoid jumping to conclusions, appraisals are a ‘fact-finding process’.
Oral communication looks at the way you speak and the tone that you use. When you are communicating you need to make sure that you are clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or slang words as this can easily confuse and often embarrass the other person especially if they are new in post.

Written communication, this will usually be via email. Always take time to check your spelling, grammar, punctuation and the construction of your sentences. Errors in written communication are hard to resolve, so try not to make them in the first place! Take the time to read through your work and if in doubt ask a colleague to quality assure this work before it is sent.