Your Guide to Effective Communication At The Workplace

Effective communication is necessary no matter where you are or who you might talk to.

At a workplace, however, communication skills are perhaps the one personal trait that can determine the success of your career. In fact, the lack of effective communication can disrupt other factors such as efficiency, objectives as well as the morale of a company.

The term “good communication skills” has been so overused that people have become uncertain about its meaning. Good communication skills indicate being able to understand instructions and relay information in a simple yet unambiguous way. It is one of the most basic yet essential skills you can possess as an employee. In fact, communication skills are one of the first things interviewers judge in a candidate.

Elements Of Effective Communication

Effective Communication At The Workplace

Often times people forget that good communication skills constitute more than “being able to speak well”. Sure, language proficiency is essential to communicating effectively. But there are many other elements to effective communication.

Active Listening

Communication is a two-way road. This is why, listening is just as important, if not more, as speaking. In the workplace, you need to listen to the person in front of you to understand their thought process. Without active listening, you might say something which is off the subject resulting in miscommunication. One of the best ways to practice active listening is by asking questions. You can also rephrase what they have said and repeat it to them. This will assure the other person that you have understood what they were trying to communicate.

Patience

You will across a diverse group of people at your workplace. During a conversation, it can be frustrating and overwhelming when it seems like you can’t get your point across. Hence, it is important to practice being patient with not only others but with yourself as well. You can’t expect everyone you meet to understand you on the first go. Take your time and make them understand. This is especially crucial if you are at a leadership position such as a manager or a team lead. You need to be patient with your team so that they feel assured and can communicate more openly with you. Open communication is essential for teamwork.

Clarity and Cohesion

Before you initiate any conversation at your workplace, make sure to have a purpose behind it. Keep a note in your head about what you are trying to achieve from this communication. Create an outline of the points you wish to deliver. Because as important as it is to send the right message across, it is also important to do it clearly and cohesively. Lack of clarity will only lead to confusion and error, which will ultimately result in delays and poor decision making. Irrespective of whether you are speaking with a colleague, a senior or a subordinate, remember to keep the conversation clear and to the point. Clarity will result in things being done in a timely fashion.

Empathy

Working as a part of a team means you will need to be open to the ideas of other people as well. So regardless of whether or not you agree with them, you need to find it in yourself to be open to their ideas and opinions. Even when you disagree with someone, you must respect their opinion. Yes, it is easier said than done. But you need to empathize with the person, put yourself in their shoes to understand why they might have acted a certain way. Moreover, you can always ask questions to understand their situation better.

Positive Attitude

We all have bad days or days when we feel under the weather. While it is okay to allow yourself some time to get back to pace, don’t carry that energy to work. Don’t let it affect the way you deal with people at work. Try to maintain a positive attitude at work irrespective of what might be happening in your personal life. On the other hand, if you have issues with people at work, talk it out! Reach out to those people and figure out a way to get past it and overcome your troubles. Whatever you do, just remember to address the situation. Because if you choose to suppress it, your challenges will only grow bigger, to the point of burdening you and hence making matters worse.

Tone Of Voice

The tone of voice is a crucial element in the process of communication. It can set the entire mood of the conversation. For instance, if you start the conversation in an irritated or aggressive way, it is highly likely that the person you are talking to will respond similarly. The tone of voice includes the emotions you incorporate as well as the volume you use. One sentence can have multiple meanings depending on your tone as well as the words you chose to emphasize. Moreover tone of voice is not only applicable to conversations with colleagues but also applicable for customer-facing jobs. Especially if you do not want to make situations worse with an already irate customer, you need to talk to them calmly.

Honesty and Openness

Good communication requires people to be honest and open with each other. Try to have an open mind when you talk to someone. Make a commitment to understanding their point of view before jumping to a conclusion or snapping back at them leading to a pointless argument. Try to negotiate and reach a middle ground. Approaching every conversation with an open mind will result in more successful outcomes. Moreover, always be honest. If you have trouble with something at work, approach an HR or your manager. Point out the things that might bother you. If you go in with an honest approach, they will sense it and indulge in the conversation genuinely.

How To Implement Effective Communication At Work

Effective Communication At The Workplace

As an employer, it is important for you to make an effort to implement effective communication at your workplace. After all, effective communication leads to a productive workspace. But when you are dealing with so many people at once it can be slightly overwhelming. This is because they all differ in terms of personalities, thought processes, understanding capacity, work ethics and so on.

Here are a few ways with the help of which you can implement effective communication amongst your employees:

Employee Training Programs

As mentioned earlier, each employee is different. It is not necessary that everyone is social or has interactive abilities. Sometimes you need to bring it out of people. A great way to go about this is by organizing employee training programs at work. These programs can guide people on how to ease in front of each other and be more comfortable in socializing. Employees can learn how effective communication can increase their productivity levels. Your program can consist of topics such as listening skills, communication fundamentals, online communication, etc.

Set An Example

One of the best ways to get employees on board with effective communication is by setting an example. Modeling good and effective communication in front of your employees can be a great way to encourage social learning. This is especially applicable to smaller businesses and companies where the nature and attitude of an employer can have a major impact on the employee’s mindset. Most of their work involves communicating face to face with each other on an everyday basis.

Hence, if the employer sets a good example, employees will follow through. Employees will model their behavior according to the example set by their boss. On the other hand, if you are working in a big company – you can pair up new employees with old employees who already practice effective communication.

Supervisors

Another effective way to implement effective communication skills at your workplace is by putting employees with effective communication skills into supervisory or leadership roles. By being a team leader or a supervisor, these employees can transfer these skills to their fellow coworkers. As a result, the teams or groups they will be responsible for will follow through. Moreover, when employees will see people being promoted to supervisory levels, it will not only set the bar right for each employee but also motivate them to work harder on their skills.

Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisals are a great source of motivation for employees. A policy that employers can implement is by including communication skills and efficiency in their performance reports or appraisals. This way the employees will be motivated to work on their communication skills and achieve their goals. You can also set goals for employees and give them incentives to achieve those goals. You can offer rewards or set up a reward program for employees who achieve their communication goals.

Team Building Exercises

Team building exercises are a great way to get people to bond and get to know each other. And the better bonding there is between employees, the better they get at communicating with each other. Engage your teams and employees in activities that will get them to work cohesively to strengthen their communication with each other.

Simplify Communication Channels

Most companies engage in strict communication channels and chains that make it difficult for a free flow of communication within the organization. Constantly monitoring their communication channels such as emails, instant messages, slack channels, etc will only add unnecessary stress to your employees. Create employment channels that are easier to go through and don’t overwhelm the employees. Make the upper management more open and accessible for subordinates. When communication channels are simpler, employees will engage in communicating more often which will result in improving their communication skills.

Conduct One-On-One Sessions

Effective Communication At The Workplace

It is proven effective that employees are more likely to speak up and communicate when spoken to personally. As a manager, you need to conduct frequent one-on-one sessions with your employers. Be it a new employee joining as a fresher or the associate who has been working at your company for the past 4 years. Make time for everyone. Keep your demeanor calm and poised throughout the session. Maintain natural eye contact and make them feel comfortable.

Implement A Feedback System

One way communication can only go so far. Sending out messages, emails, newsletters, etc – they only send out one side of the message. Implement a feedback system into the system of your company. Encourage employees to participate and submit feedback, encourage them to ask questions. This will not only make them feel heard but also allow them to communicate better with the management. This can be done with the help of online forms or during staff meetings. This method is also great for welcoming some genuine improvements and ideas that can be taken into consideration.

Irrespective of the field we work in, we all have different styles and ways of communicating. Employees spend a great part of their days working at the office. Helping them stay connected with the mission and vision of the organization is one way to improve employee engagement. The more open and effective the communication channels at the workplace are, the better we can manage the rumors and lack of trust that occur when employees feel like they are not heard or kept in the loop.

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One Comment

  1. That’s great! Thanks for sharing adminc

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