Communicating well is a skill. When it comes to your workplace, poor communication can result in unhappy, unproductive employees and even legal stand-offs. That’s why it’s so important to work on clear, effective workplace communication.
To improve communication in your team, management needs to make an effort to consistently communicate well and in a manner that is appropriate to your workplace and situation. Not sure where to start? Here are our top five tips for effective workplace communication. These are sure to help you increase employee productivity and motivation, and improve workplace relationships overall:
Communicate face-to-face whenever possible. Despite the many benefits of technology, our reliance on it has resulted in a separation between people – to such an extent that individuals will often email each other even though they are seated only a few meters away from each other. There is a lot to be said for an old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. Electronic communication can be misconstrued, leading to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction. During a face-to-face meeting, parties have the chance to see each other’s reactions – the majority of meaning during a conversation comes from nonverbal gestures – making it easier to understand the intentions behind the conversation. Face-to-face conversations also allow the parties to get answers straight away. These factors improve workplace relationships and foster a culture of mutual respect.
Keep your fact straight and the air clear. In the workplace, keep your focus on the facts. Avoid allowing your emotions or personal preferences to cloud the what, why, and how you communicate, whether in person or via email. Spend time thinking about what you want to say and carefully craft your message. When deciding what to say about a sensitive issue, ensure that you calmly pass along the correct information so those you are communicating with understand what you are saying. Good communication should provide clarity, rather than generating confusion.
Be a professional, always. No matter how relaxed an environment, your workplace is not a social space. This means you need to communicate as a professional, at all times, and especially if you hold a senior position. Good workplace communication is clear, precise, and professional. While being friendly is fine, acting as you might around your friends at home, or engaging in harmful, unnecessary behavior such as gossip, will reduce your credibility when it comes to communicating something serious or work-worthy. Always aim to resolve any conflicts in a diplomatic, calm manner. Doing so can reduce the risk of a greater dispute and loss of productivity.
Listen, listen, listen. Many people think that communication is only about expressing themselves. It is also about listening to what others have to say. Most conflict is actually due to poor listening (and therefore misunderstanding). If you want to clearly communicate with someone, you have to hear what is being said and what is being heard. To practice listening, paraphrase what has been said to show that you are indeed listening and to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If in doubt, ask questions to help you gather information. This approach will reduce the likelihood of inaccurate information (and subsequent conflict) as well as help you become a more effective communicator.
Be the bearer of good news. Positive feedback is a great way to improve workplace communication. Employees need to know that you appreciate their hard work and commitment. Praise results in a person feeling important and valued. Done well, it helps to validate employee input and boost workplace morale and productivity levels. And, it encourages an increased sense of open communication. There are many ways to communicate positive feedback, including meetings, emails, and informal chats. When you give feedback, make sure it is as clear and detailed as possible. And, if the feedback isn’t positive, make sure it includes a possible solution.
Improving the way in which you communicate at work can lead to real improvements in employee motivation, productivity, and ultimately profitability. Are you looking to hire professional staff who know how to conduct themselves in a business environment? Talk to us! As expert recruiters, we are dedicated to placing the right people in the right jobs.