How To Promote Effective Communication
Communication in the workplace is one of our 10 core qualities of a high-performance culture. However, it is so much more than that, because communication feeds into the other nine qualities and affects how everything gets done within the organization. From the pitch to the signed contract agreement, how individuals communicate with one another determines the success of their endeavors. Effective communication of the workplace is central to all business objectives. It’s the difference between identifying toxic behaviors and championing conflict resolution. Improving communication starts at the top, so it is imperative that leaders are modeling positive communication behaviors.
Side-step verbal orders
Let’s face it; the workday is typically a busy one, which means verbally relaying information to employees is not an effective means of communication. While it’s understandable that you may want to get some face-time in with your people, save that time for connecting over conversation, rather than relying on that time to give orders. Simplify the process and write things down. If the initial request occurs during a conversation, send a quick follow up email with brief points of the discussion, so that the other party has something to reference.
Understand your audience
Effective communication in the workplace (or anywhere, really) requires one to know their audience. For example, your clients require a different conversational approach from your team. This is because both parties have different objectives. Tap into your emotional intelligence to understand what motivates your audience, and frame your discussion accordingly. By aligning your message to your audience’s goals, you can strategically up your communication game.
Practice active listening
In our fast-paced world, we often listen to respond, not to understand. This causes misunderstandings between parties. Active listening requires you to fully engage with what the speaker is saying, rather than merely ‘hearing’ the message. It’s the difference between hearing that your employee was late and learning that your employee had a to change a flat before arriving to work. The former could result in a reprimand or warning, whereas the latter lends to a more empathetic response.
By taking the active listening approach, a leader can take that moment and improve the quality of relationship with their employee, rather than throwing the book at them for tardiness.
Promote team-building activities
The best way to boost effective communication in the workplace is to engage in direct communication activities. According to our data, the challenge isn’t necessarily within teams, but instead between teams. Yup, I’m talking about silos. Whenever possible, have your people work in cross-functional teams and collaborate with different functions. It’s great for two reasons: teamwork improves the communication skills between peers and it’s been known to increase productivity. By fostering a collaborative environment, organizations are rewarded with a work culture rooted in solid fundamentals.
Rinse and repeat
Becoming a pro at effective communication in the workplace requires a commitment to consistency and iteration. Some people are natural-born communicators, whereas others may require some guidance in improving their communication skills. Employers and senior leaders can effectively influence their teams by applying these tactics in their communication habits. When employees are exposed to effective communication in the workplace, they too can build their communication skill set, ultimately improving the workplace communication overall.