Effective communication is essential to the success of any organization. The better and more comfortable employees feel interacting, the more efficient and productive the work will be. Here are nine ways to foster strong workplace communication.
1) Prioritize One-to-One Communication
Group meetings are valuable for communicating with many people at once, but one-on-one interactions are where real relationships are formed. Communicating one-to-one builds rapport and provides an open environment for speaking freely and getting direct feedback. The best way to communicate effectively is face-to-face. Doing so makes the person you’re speaking with feel important and heard. Studies show that face-to-face requests are 34% more effective than emails, too.
2) Find Effective Channels for Internal Communication
Nearly 1/3 of employees say projects fail because of poor communication. While it would be great to have every meeting be one-on-one and in-person, that’s not always possible in a busy work environment, which means businesses need other ways for employees to communicate effectively in the workplace. Consider incorporating company chat software, such as Slack, Chatwork, or Microsoft Teams, to help teams communicate quickly. You can also use cloud technology services like Google Drive and OneDrive to store and access shared documents.
3) Keep Both Verbal & Nonverbal Communication in Mind
It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Body cues like stances, facial expressions, and gestures all influence how someone will receive your message. Frowns, crossed arms, and furrowed brows convey negativity, while good eye contact, authoritative posture, and friendly hand gestures inspire confidence and convey professionalism. In addition, your tone should match your message. Your inflection, pitch, and articulation express attitude and emotional meaning and will impact how the recipient hears what you’re saying.
4) Ask Questions & for Clarification
If you don’t understand something someone in the workplace has said, don’t ignore it or move forward with an interpretation. Few things slow the workplace down like miscommunication. When something isn’t communicated clearly, follow up and ask for more details or clarification. This can lessen the chance for miscommunication and confusion in the future.
5) Share Progress Updates
It’s important for employees to understand not only where their projects stand, but the work others are doing as well. This transparency keeps everyone accountable and creates cohesion because employees see how their different projects work together to help the organization as a whole succeed. Share wins, pain points, areas where you need help, and overall progress to help team members see the entire picture.
6) Encourage Open Discussion
Organizations are more effective when they have dialogues. Employees feel a sense of ownership with their work for a company when their opinions are sourced and put into action. They also have valuable ideas and can share things you might not have thought of. Communicate with team members daily to hear their thoughts and give them a sense of pride in their work.
7) Recognize Strong Performance
Don’t forget to acknowledge the work of those around you. 40% of American workers said they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often. Keep in mind that employee recognition can look different to everyone. Some people prefer a shoutout in a team meeting, while others might prefer a personal thank you or a note on their desk. Encourage team members to compliment and praise one another to create stronger bonds and a positive organizational vibe. When employees are recognized for strong work and good ideas, they feel more comfortable and engaged, which can increase effective office communication.
8) Be Clear in Emails & Text-Based Messages
Email is an extremely useful form of workplace communication because it allows you to speak to many people at once without pulling them away from their desk or work environment. However, much can be left to interpretation in text-based communication, where tone and intent can be easy to misconstrue. Reread each email before you send and try to consider how the recipient will read it. If possible, allow some time before writing and sending to give yourself more time to think.
9) Avoid Jargon & Acronyms Where Possible
When communicating with team members and coworkers you interact with everyday, idioms and acronyms can be useful ways to convey your message more quickly. However, they can have the opposite effect if the person on the other end is unfamiliar with them. Unfamiliar jargon can create confusion that causes the receiver to ask for clarification, which can take up valuable time. Worse, they could misinterpret a direction, leading to potentially larger issues down the road. Try to stick to common terms that everyone understands.
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