How to Improve Communication in the Workplace
Effective communication is the single most common struggle in most workplaces. Almost every workplace needs assessment reveals data that supports the need for better communication within the workplace. This means that business communication skills continue to be lacking in today’s work environment.
When communication is effective, the working environment experiences much higher employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall success. In order to achieve successful communication, employees at every level must buy into the need and be equipped to communicate at a higher level.
Conversely, work environments with poor communication are more likely to experience chaos, inconsistency, inefficiency, negative moral, and low productivity. For this reason it is essential that leaders become intentional about providing communication training for employees on all levels within their organization.
The good news is that effective communication is a skill that can be learned. While some may offer that soft skills are difficult, the truth is gaining understanding can be obtained by simply choosing to apply time-tested principles that lead to strong and effective business communication skills.
One important principle is to simply create clarity.
Many times business communication in the workplace is confusing, deluded, and misdirected. Creating clarity means taking the time to think through what you want to say, how you want to say it, and the appropriate time to give the message.
It is fine for a leader to change her mind once she has communicated to her team, as long as she is clear that she is choosing to change her mind and thus changing the direction of the team. However, changing direction without communicating to the team brings confusion and unclear expectations to those we lead.
Taking the time to talk about a change in your thought process or plan to your team is evidence of strong and effective business communication skills.
Creating clarity means that not only must we communicate to our team but we must consistently repeat the message until we are sure that the entire team has clear understanding and direction. While it may seem repetitive, a leader generally must communicate the message seven times before it is fully saturated and understood by all members of the team. If the message contains significant change or if it is of critical importance to the organization, the messaging needs to be communicated more than seven times.
Remember that communicating is a two-way street. In order to ensure clarity, you may need to use resources such as assessments and surveys in order to collect data that will give you the necessary feedback to ensure that your message has been successfully communicated.
On a smaller scale it might simply mean asking those you lead the question “What did you hear me say?” Allowing feedback is essential if we are to have clarity around our communication in the workplace. Many times we think we have communicated one message but in reality our team has heard an entirely different message. Taking the time to ensure that your team is aligned with your message will yield valuable results in executing the communication.
Remember that just because you think that you are communicating clearly does not mean that you actually have created clarity. Offer consistent messaging multiple times. Take the time to get feedback on what the team is hearing. The process of building strong business communication skills involves repeating and verifying.
Choose to be intentional about creating clear communication in the workplace and you will make a difference!
If your workplace could use improved communication training, check out our course today.