Effective communication is the most important tool any business can have. Unfortunately, many people come into businesses needing to improve their communication skills—and many businesses fail to realize that poor communication is the underlying cause of many issues. Poor communication is a huge problem that leads to failure and distrust among employees.
Luckily, effective communication is a skill you can easily teach and share. There are many different ways to improve your team’s (and your own) communication. Here are a few ways:
The most important thing you can do to improve communication is to LISTEN to what people say when people speak, pay attention to them instead of thinking about what you want to say next. Ask questions to confirm that you understand their points before expressing an opinion.
Listening is crucial in written communication too. Read what your colleagues send you carefully to ensure that you “hear” what they’re “saying.” Read each word instead of skimming. This saves time in the long run because you won’t have as much back-and-forth due to poor reading comprehension.
Be Aware of What You Say
Mothers have said for eons: “Think before you speak!” Take a moment before responding. Be aware of the overall meaning of what you say. Choose words carefully and communicate with good tone. Be direct without being rude. Be aware of body language and use it to emphasize your point instead of distract.
Remember, you say more than just your words at any given time. People use every clue they can to glean extra meaning from communication, so be sure your clues are on-message.
It’s Not All About You
When communicating, do what you can to understand the other person’s point-of-view and focus on their needs in the interaction. Avoid focusing the conversation on yourself. You get much better results when people feel you keep them and their concerns in mind.
Realize that Everyone is Different
Everyone handles communicating differently. Learning how best to communicate with each person is crucial for creating a strong team whose members are able to understand each other. Everyone comes from a different background; different cultures, personalities, and responsibilities can lead to individuals handling communication in very different ways.
Everyone Has a Preferred Mode of Communication
Because every employee is different, you cannot expect them to all enjoy using the same mode of communication. Some employees prefer face-to-face meetings, while others prefer email. Choosing the right medium for communicating with colleagues depends largely on the colleague and their preferences.
While you should try to accommodate colleagues’ preferences when you communicate, it’s important for you to consider how you communicate best. For example, your co-worker may prefer to receive phone calls, but if you are more effective at making your point in an email, send a detailed email and then call to let your colleague know to look for it. You can also offer to follow up via telephone to answer their questions.
Offer a Range of Communication Options
Offices today have a bevy of communication options available to them. Email, telephones, text messaging, instant messaging, social media, and other communication tools can help your team communicate more effectively with one another. Use these technologies to your advantage!
Creating an environment where all employees practice effective communication takes time and dedication, but is well worth the effort. If your company struggles to create lines of effective communication, make an appointment with one of our business development experts today to learn what you can do to improve communication in the workplace.