Communicate Effectively in the Workplace
Communication is one of the primary facets of the workplace. Unfortunately, it does not always happen as it should. Subsequently, poor communication causes conflict and misunderstanding among colleagues. For example, a supervisor might assign a task to an employee and think the instructions are clear. Unluckily, the employee has no clue what to do next, as the message was incomplete.
About 80% of employees indicate that poor workplace communication happens frequently or occasionally. Indicators include
- Missed deadlines
- Poorly planned projects
- Conflict between colleagues
- Scattered or missing files
- Delayed feedback, among others.
Miscommunication can cost companies with over 100,000 employees approximately $62 million a year in losses.
In this light, what can companies do to enhance communication effectiveness in the workplace and prevent such losses? Keep reading for insights on how to break down communication barriers. You’ll also be in a better position to eliminate departmental silos.
What is Effective Communication?
Effective communication delivers a message to an audience, making them understand it successfully. It refers to the process of sharing information between two or more people, accounting for:
- The intended message
- What the communicator actually says and
- What the audience interprets
No matter who the communicator or recipient is, effective communication skills are crucial. They help to eliminate misunderstandings and enhance employee productivity and high-performing workplace culture.
How to Enhance Effective Workplace Communication?
There is no single way to communicate effectively in the work environment. Nevertheless, some experts suggest doing the following.
Encourage Face-to-Face Communication Whenever Possible
Companies use email as the main method of communication. Besides, they have adopted other digital forms of message delivery. Unfortunately, electronic communication can sometimes have a detrimental effect on workplace interactions. Think of the many times you’ve sent an email but the recipient misinterpreted it. You probably never got a reply as you expected. Inopportunely, electronic communication is that it is easy to misinterpret and causes delay.
When communicating face-to-face, it is easier for the recipient to decipher the meaning behind the message. Open meetings are useful in communicating passion and feelings to team members. They will not only hear the message but also see and feel the sentiments behind it. Maintaining eye contact is also essential in face-to-face communication.
Open-Communication is Paramount in Interactions
When you encourage team members to communicate openly, you empower them to speak out. They feel that their opinion matters and the employer values them. In turn, it contributes to job satisfaction, and the turnover rates also reduce. Consequently, they can give feedback and contribute to the company’s success.
Open communication also calls for being a good listener. Your communication style should entail active listening. Pay close attention to what other people say. Ask clarifying questions and rephrase what they say to ensure you understand. Only then can you respond to them without missing the point. This approach also contributes to purposeful knowledge sharing.
When listening, ensure you also express empathy. Emotional acceptance is identifying with the feelings of the recipient without being judgmental. Trying to see things from other people’s perspectives can solve many problems. It also promotes healthy relationships.
Use Both Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Well
Both verbal and nonverbal communication is crucial for effective communication. Be careful that your verbal communication is in agreement with your nonverbal cues or gestures. Positive nonverbal feedback also counts towards effective communication. For example, nodding your head when in accord with the other person makes the flow smooth. Other useful body language cues include:
- An upright posture
- Right tone of voice
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact.
Acting out your message is part of good communication. Lead by example by showing your team members what you want them to do. This is better than merely giving vague instructions.
Keep in Mind the 7 Cs of Communication
In Effective Public Relations, Scott and Allen define key principles for effective communication. You can also refer to them as the 7 Cs of communication. They provide a checklist for ensuring your message is clear and straightforward.
- Correctness- Grammatical and syntax errors underestimate the credibility and effectiveness of your message. They trigger ambiguity and create doubts in the recipients. Formal errors also harm the general perception of the message. Your audience sees you as sloppy and negligent.
- Concrete- Your audience should have a clear picture of what you want to communicate. If possible, always use suitable statistics or factual data to back up your message. This leaves no room for guesswork or irrelevant imagination.
- Consistency- Your choice of words matters when communicating at work. Pass your message using the least possible words, maintaining consistency in voice, tone, and content to save time. Leave no room for repetition.
- Coherence- Coherent communication is logical. Besides, all the points connect sensibly and are relevant. Additionally, it quickly makes sense to the listeners, and they can easily flow with the ideas.
- Courtesy- In every form or instance of communication, there must be mutual respect. Respect the recipient’s culture, beliefs, and values. Your message must be objective and genuinely polite.
- Consideration- If your message sounds inconsiderate or disrespectful, it can decrease employee morale. It helps to consider the audience’s points of view and background.
- Completeness- The recipient should have everything they need to take any action required. Check that the “call to action” directs the audience on the next course of action. Clarity and transparency are of utmost importance.
Communication in the workplace sounds easy. But it can create a lot of misunderstanding and confusion if not done right. You can achieve effectiveness in communication by observing specific elements of the message. They affect how your audience receives, perceives, and decodes your message. By articulating your message correctly, your team members will be more productive. Consequently, you will see your company gravitate towards business success.
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