86% of corporate executives, educators, experienced and new managers, and employees cite poor communication as the main reason for failures in the workplace. It’s surprising how communication loopholes are contributing to poor work performances, mutual conflicts, and missed deadlines in this rather well-connected digital age.
It goes without saying how effective communication is crucial to the success of any business irrespective of its size and type. While good communication practices encourage transparency and keep your workforce well-connected, poor communication is likely to adversely affect the workplace environment, employees morale, and the organization’s bottom line.
Post pandemic, maintaining swift communication while managing in-office, remote, and hybrid teams has become quintessential to keep people engaged and collaborative to ensure optimal team performance.
This post discusses some of the best communication strategies that team managers can implement to keep everyone on the same page.
Critical workplace communication elements
We spend most of our time in a day communicating with others. Generally, we communicate verbally, via writing or using physical gestures, also called as non-verbal cues.
Now, the thing is that information we receive or convey might not be interpreted correctly, especially with huge amounts of messages exchanged across various online platforms.
So, how do we make sure that our communication achieves the desired objective of bringing clarity to the situation? There are some critical elements of communication that you should incorporate into your communication skills to ensure your message is understood the right way.
- To the point. Keep your communication to the point. Why use three paragraphs when you can make your point with just one? Avoid using unnecessary words that are redundant or don’t add value to your message. Your best bet would be to double-check your intended message after completion and edit it where required.
- Clarity. What is the purpose of your communication? When communicating, it’s important your messages are clear and purpose-driven to be easily understood by the intended audience. Be specific, not vague. Don’t ramble, use concrete words, and explicitly express your ideas.
- Active listening. You need to be a good listener to be an efficient communicator. Active listening helps you understand people’s perspectives in detail. Ignoring what other people are saying can lead to misunderstandings. To be an active listener, you should remember to maintain eye contact with the speaker and ask questions when in doubt. Allow others to complete what they’re saying or asking before you jump in to respond.
- Friendly tone. Keeping an optimistic, friendly tone attracts people and makes them feel comfortable around the speaker. Also, people are likely to feel more interested and safer when engaging with approachable speakers as they feel more connected with them. Being loud and assertive makes you sound harsh and dominant, and it can pull people further away from you.
- Mutual exchange of feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is one of the most crucial elements of communication. Giving feedback demonstrates your active listening capabilities and receiving feedback helps you analyse how well your messages are resonating thm.
- Show empathy. Empathetic communication means displaying exceeding levels of understanding and respect to listeners’ viewpoint, values, and beliefs. Instead of judging their opinion, curate a message that is unbiased, polite, and as clear as possible.
Top 7 strategies for Prompt workplace communication
With a rising remote workforce all over the globe, open communication has assumed greater significance than ever. Open communication is when senior leadership and other people in the organisation exchange ideas, issues, and other thoughts in a straightforward and transparent manner.
It keeps people on the same page and your staff has a clear understanding of business decisions and how their roles contribute to the organization’s success.
Example – Regular all hands/ get-togethers/ town halls with all employees, on every level, to share ideas, raise concerns, and thoughts without hesitation.
knowing what to communicate (and where)
There’s a time and place for everything. Communication is no different. There are certain discussions that are sensitive and should be scheduled for a private one-to-one.
Similarly, it’s best to communicate with people in the morning or afternoon when they are fresh and alert. And then there are some informal or less important discussions that you can start even in the evenings at an open office space.
Example – Delivering sensitive feedback sessions in a private space, versus having an open discussion about a new policy in an open space.
using the latest communication tools
According to recent reports, businesses utilising top internal communication tools are 3.5 times more likely to have better results. As an increasing number of businesses implement remote work and hybrid work models besides regular in-office operations, using the latest communication tools is imperative to maintain swift and steady communication with employees.
Using latest collaboration tools allow both in-office and dispersed employees to quickly communicate intended messages with clarity and detail. Depending on the type and duration of conversations, you can use different modes of communication such as Instant chat, Voice calling, Video conferencing, Real-time updates, etc, to share intended messages quickly and prevent vital information from falling through the cracks.
Example – Video conferencing for team meetings and chat messaging for quick messages.
In today’s digital age, nothing compares to or can replace face-to-face communication if you want to inspire people and reinforce your message. There are numerous studies showing that it helps build trust and nurtures meaningful relationships among employees irrespective of their position in the organisation.
Face-to-face communication provides vital visual, non-verbal cues (facial expressions, body movement) that can help participants better understand each other’s mood and intent. With remote work now a standard mode of working for a large number of organisations, video conferencing tools have made the job easier for both managers and team members to visually interact with each other.
Example – One-to -ones, group meetings, shift huddles, and town halls.
appreciation of communication styles
Understanding how your team communicates can help you to become a better manager or colleague. Each person has a unique persona that influences how they prefer to communicate with others at work.
Once you understand each team member’s communication style, you can then identify why they communicate in a particular way. If their communication style displays negative or manipulative signs, you can offer support and help them make positive changes so everyone feels comfortable working with them.
Example – Generally, there are four identified types of communication styles – passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.
Positive body language and tone of voice
Communication is not just about words you say but also the expressions you use. Your message, body language, and tone of voice should complement each other so that people understand your message the way you want them to understand it.
You might be talking on a serious topic with your team members with your arms crossed or leaning back on our chair. It’s possible you’re tired during the discussion, but your team members might not have that context and there is every chance that they will misread your seemingly uninterested body language. It’s important to maintain a positive body language and professional tone while communicating to avoid misinterpretation of your message.
Example – Maintaining eye contact, keeping upright and open posture, firm handshake, minimal gesticulations are some examples of positive body language.
follow facts, not assumptions
Are you communicating facts or cooked-up stories? There’s a BIG difference between both. Facts are things that have actually taken place and stories are what you assume happened i.e. your interpretation of a situation. It’s human tendency to create stories from facts, but you should separate the two. To validate points made by you, you should be backing your message with facts.
Example – If you are unsatisfied with your team’s overall performance, use evaluations and indicators to make your point. Say your team could only deliver 56 projects this quarter as compared to 75 projects in the last quarter. That’s a statistical fact for you!
Communication at the workplace is a two-way street. Prompt communication between team members, clients, and other stakeholders can help avoid vital information from falling through the cracks. Also, timely communication helps to keep everyone on the same page when collaborating on important tasks and projects.
Implementing the listed communication rules in the workplace will help you and your team to function like a well oiled machine that will deliver great results for your business.
Author: Nandini Sharma – Marketing Manager, ProofHub
Photo credit: Freepik