We all know communication is important. During the hiring process, recruiters and employers consistently rate communication as a top quality they look for in a candidate. This is because once hired, communication is impossible to avoid in an office. You’re always communicating, whether answering an important email, participating in a meeting, or discussing the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars at the watercooler. Communication in the workplace is everywhere.
Good communication puts everyone on the same page and aids in quality work getting done on time. Bad communication can lead to workers dropping the ball. More seriously, bad communication often leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It doesn’t matter if you have a business based on client interaction or not, ineffective workplace communication does not lead to success.
The following are some easy to follow tips to smooth the way to better workplace communication.
Check Your Nonverbals
Did you know that body language accounts for between 50 and 70 percent of communication? The way we communicate nonverbally can often be more important than what we actually say! So, it’s important to make sure your nonverbal message is meshing with the verbal one.
Try to avoid stances that seem overly aggressive or defensive, especially when discussing sensitive topics with employees or coworkers. If someone is coming to you with a concern, for example, don’t spend the whole time listening with your arms crossed. Defensive postures like this one subtly imply hostility and can add to already voluble situations. Keep your nonverbal postures, gestures, and facial expressions open and receptive and you’ll get the same back in return.
This can be hard, especially when situations get tense. You might be thinking five steps ahead to how this discussion impacts the overall company. Slow down and live in the moment. Actively listening means putting a stop to the hamster wheel spinning in your head and focusing on what the other person is saying. If not, you might miss a key element of the conversation while you are mentally drafting your response. All of the best leaders are also great listeners, so start stretching those listening muscles.
Be Clear and Direct
The best way to cut down on workplace misunderstandings and confusions is to be clear in your communication. Confusion can quickly lead to hurt feelings for coworkers and employees. These feelings can fester until your once lovely office is full of grumbling and bitterness. Don’t let that happen! Practice clear communication and be direct about what needs to be done and how. When everyone is on the same page, employees will work together as a team.
Face to Face
Today, technology has become a bigger and bigger part of our lives. We email, we chat, we even text from different rooms in the house! The problem is that sometimes written communication can be misconstrued. The written word can sometimes lack the nuance of face to face verbal communication. After all, as previously mentioned, nonverbal communication makes up a big part of how we understand each other. If the conversation you need to have is highly important, make it face to face.
Watch Your Texts
Texting is just like any other tool in the business toolbox. It can be incredibly helpful when used correctly. However, when used incorrectly, it can be detrimental to workplace communication. A good rule of thumb with texting is to make it brief. Messages like “When is the meeting?” or “Did you get my email?” serve as good business texts. Anything that will be a short interaction is perfectly suited for text messaging. If, however, you are writing a text novel you should be having that conversation in person.
What are some tips you have for workplace communication? Share them!
Image Courtesy of Moveo.