The backbone of any team-oriented business is communication. The spreading of knowledge, ideas, problems, and solutions is what entire businesses rely on to operate. When lines of communication breakdown, we can sometimes find ourselves in situations where a few small issues snowball into larger problems in the workplace. But what factors into effective communication? Let’s dive into 5 strategies that will help your teams communicate better!
The most important part of communicating effectively is opening your ears and listening intently! Obviously, you are going to pay attention if there’s a conversation that directly relates to your role. However, it’s also a smart idea to digest information about your business that you may not directly have a hand in. You have to constantly train yourself and remind yourself that there is value in every thought and idea shared to you by your peers. By having a larger and more expansive knowledge about your business, you can develop new ideas and have a broader perspective on how small changes can affect other parts of your operations down the line. Take in all of the information you can – you will be a more well-rounded employee because of it!
Communication can quickly break down in the workplace when one or both parties involved lack a respectful approach to the conversation. People want to feel appreciated and heard. Approaching every interaction you have in the workplace in a respectful manner will not only have a positive effect on your reputation as a colleague, but it will create an environment where people feel that their opinions carry weight. Respect builds trust, especially in a business environment. When co-workers trust each other, they can feel more comfortable expressing differing opinions and engaging in discussion which can prove to be extremely valuable. Address people by name, look them in the eyes when conversing, and respond to their dialogue in a way that shows that you’ve paid attention to them. These small things all contribute to an environment where everyone communicates at the highest level.
We’re all going to have those days where we just can’t seem to put on our happy face at work. But for the most part, your day to day attitude is going to dictate the way that your coworkers interact and communicate with you. It’s surprising how far simply being friendly and polite can take you in a business environment. We all deal with so many individuals on a daily basis that those who keep things upbeat and level-headed tend to stand out. This type of attitude will make your coworkers more at-ease when coming to you for help or your opinion on business matters – this can even open you up to new opportunities that you didn’t foresee coming your way.
But general positivity and kindness isn’t the only factor here, make sure that you exude a confident attitude when it’s necessary. If you have laid the groundwork to build that trust with your co-workers over time, your confidence in a new strategy or idea will really pack a punch. Communication can be about picking your spots sometimes and making sure that you can capitalize on certain ideas that mean the most to your role.
In our ever-expanding digital world, we seem to have endless platforms for communicating with our colleagues, in addition to conventional methods of professional communication. You need to get a feel for what topics/subjects are appropriate for what method of communication. Plenty of conversations need to be done face to face, such as promotions, salary, and employment status. But for regular day-to-day things, learn the professional culture of your workplace and your peers and determine what the appropriate way to communicate something is. We’ve all sat through 30 minutes of something that easily could have been an email – don’t be the person who is too quick to pull people into a meeting or onto a phone call if it’s truly unnecessary!
On the other hand, don’t spend 30 minutes crafting a perfectly laid-out email complete with screenshots, highlights, and side notes if a phone call would suffice. Some problems will always be more efficient to solve through a verbal conversation. If you need to document the conversation, send a follow-up email to all parties involved! Just remember to respect your coworker’s time and choose the right method of communication.
5. Give Feedback
Listening is one thing, but responding thoughtfully is another communication skill altogether. When someone takes the time to share with you their idea, problem, or challenge, be ready to give them feedback that relates to what they have shared with you. Make sure you are responding to their dialogue, not just waiting for your turn to speak.
Nobody is expected to have all the answers right off the top of their head, but as a professional in your role, you should be able to give the parties involved some sort of feedback on what they have said. Do not be afraid to ask questions to seek additional information. Asking questions shows that you were listening and that you’re invested in the issue at hand. Asking questions and giving feedback shows that you’re working toward whatever the defined goal is for this particular matter.
Part of being able to give valuable feedback is making sure that you are prepared for conversations/meetings – don’t enter a meeting crossing your fingers that you don’t get called on!
Effective communication is all about getting familiar with your surroundings, learning the tendencies of your co-workers in order to deliver the clearest messages, and listening. Follow the tips above to keep your business operations running smoothly and efficiently!