Improving Communication in the Workplace: 8 Tips for Success
Communication in the workplace matters. It’s as simple as that. Why? Because it can make or break a company’s success. Without healthy communication between employees, an organization is going to experience many problems. Solid communication keeps projects moving. It builds healthy relationships between upper managers and subordinates. It’s the glue that attaches longterm clients to companies. Great communication will lead to great teamwork. And teamwork in the workplace is important.
Putting in place great workplace communication strategies does not have to be a pain. It can become managed by using the following strategies. Here is how to improve communication in the workplace:
1) Give subordinates and colleagues your complete attention.
It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting one-on-one or in a big department meeting. You’ve got to provide your full focus to whomever is communicating to you. This will earn you both respect and appreciation. No one likes to feel like their voice isn’t getting heard. Think about it. Have you ever been talking to someone who kept glancing at his or her phone? It doesn’t feel good to get treated like that, does it? Not focusing on what someone is saying makes the speaker feel devalued. And that’s the last thing you want in the workplace.
If you devalue someone, that person is going to devalue you. Next thing you know, respect will diminish in your workplace. This is why body language is so important. Good body language sends the speaker a message that your full attention is on that person. The easiest thing you can do is maintain eye contact with the speaker. Sure, it’s simple. But it goes a long way in conveying that you respect the person who’s talking. (Scroll down to learn more about the importance of body language.)
2) Hold consistent one-on-one meetings.
Some readers might not think scheduling one-one-one meetings is necessary. They’ll say, “I already have an open-door policy!” Well, think again. Some team members, for a variety of reasons, may not want to come into your office. It could be as simple as them being shy. That’s why you’ve got to take charge.
Most employees are more comfortable discussing their work in a private setting. That’s why you can schedule regular meetings with each team member. This will give you the opportunity to go over what’s working and what can become improved. This will save you time from having to provide feedback throughout the work week.
These meetings should not be random. How often you hold them is up to you. But you’ve got to be consistent. Why? Because not having a schedule will send workers a message that you’re disorganized. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to sometimes miss the meetings. That’s all right. But do your best to maintain a schedule. The meetings can occur when you feel it’s appropriate. There are the usual three options. Every week. once per month. Once per quarter. The meetings will ensure that communication never breaks down. These meetings are a great opportunity. You’ll be able to discuss goals, answer questions, and make sure everything is on track.
3) Hold team meetings once per week.
One-on-one meetings are great for addressing individual concerns. But team concerns are also important. You’ve got to make sure your entire team is on track to deliver success. That’s why holding team meetings every week is so important. This will allow the team as a whole to inform you of their progress. You’ll be able to understand what has improved and what’s in need of improvement. This creates a work culture of transparency. And what’s the alternative? Having little knowledge of how your team is progressing until it’s too late to fix problems. This also encourages collaboration, which is a crucial aspect of healthy communication.
To save time, email the team an agenda in advance of each meeting. This will ensure that everyone stays on track. The last thing you want is for team meetings to derail into hours of gossip and nonsense. Also, don’t let the meetings be all about you. It’s human nature for managers to want to lead. But you’ve got to allow time for your team to respond to what you’ve said. That’s why you should consider holding a Q&A session at the end of each meeting. This will allow the team an opportunity to ask questions and provide their own feedback. Like one-on-one meetings, hold your team meetings on a consistent basis. They’re too important for you to neglect them.
4) Improve your body language.
Words are only a fraction of what healthy communication is. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” rings true here. You can say all the right things. But if your tone of voice and body language aren’t right, those words are going to be cheap. You don’t want to only communicate. You want your communication to get received well. Here are some suggestions:
-keep a relaxed stance
-hold relaxed facial expressions
-don’t cross your arms
-make sure your posture is good
-maintain eye contact
-smile every once in awhile
-nod your head when in agreement while someone’s speaking
5) Provide written follow-ups to team members.
You could hold a perfect team meeting in which everything goes exactly how you wanted. But there’s a problem. No one took notes. What does this mean? It means before you know it, your team will forget what’s discussed. Next thing you know, you’ll have to hold another meeting to go over the same material again. This is why you should select a team member to be a note-taker. The role can rotate each week. Or, one person can do it each time if he or she enjoys it. Next, you or a subordinate can convert those notes into an email. That email should get sent out to every person on your team. Don’t allow the email to be seven paragraphs long. Ask the note-taker to covert the most important information into bullet-points. Concise and brief information will keep what’s discussed fresh in everyone’s minds.
Do follow-up emails need to get sent after every single meeting? No, of course not. That would be a waste of company time. But they should go out after important meetings. Be sure that deadlines get written in bold in the follow-up emails. This will make it clear to workers when you need tasks to get done. Your workers will be less likely to misunderstand or try to give you excuses. Your team will then be able to focus on their tasks in an efficient manner.
6) Provide an explanation for why you’ve asked an employee to do something.
It’s human nature to feel frustrated when you’re told to do something and no explanation’s given. Employees can become frustrated or even turn hostile over time. Spending a few extra seconds describing why a task is important will go a long way. You can also explain how the assignment fits into the big picture of the company’s goals. This will keep the morale of your team at a high level. They’ll realize that what they’re doing matters. Again, a culture of transparency can enhance all aspects of a company. Workers will give you their best when they feel part of something bigger than themselves.
For example, say you tell a subordinate to re-organize 4,000 CRM records. Does that sound like a fun activity? Of course not. But the key here is to provide an explanation. Tell the employee that this is part of a larger initiative. It will lead to an increase in sales that will take the company to new heights and secure its longterm future. Next thing you know, a meaningless task isn’t meaningless any longer. This doesn’t mean you need to give an explanation for every assignment. But do so when you feel it’s necessary. It will make your workers execute better effort. This will lead to improved results. Doing so also proves to your employees that you have empathy. And empathy is one of the keys to healthy communication.
7) Avoid over-communication.
Too much of anything is bad. The ancient Greeks were correct when they asserted that moderation is the key to success in life. The same applies to communication. The last thing you want to do is annoy your employees by being too overbearing. They will start viewing you as a pest instead of a trusted advisor.
Here’s an example of how to stop over-communication from occurring. Limit the number of emails that you send outside of work hours. Unless it’s important, wait until the following morning. Employees need time away from work to clear their minds so they can give you their all the following day. When you over-communicate to workers, it sends a subtle message. It’s that you expect their lives to revolve around work. This concept is more important than ever, thanks to most people owning smartphones. Emails and text messages now appear on people’s screens as soon as they’re sent. The more your name appears outside of work, the more annoyed workers will become.
8) Get to know your employees.
Communication is about more than directing your workers to knock out their tasks. It’s also about connecting with those workers. A great leader leads by example. This means you’ve got to sometimes make an effort to get to know each team member. This doesn’t mean you need to go overboard and take the team to a bar on a Friday night. It can be as simple as saying, “Hi, Steve. How was your weekend?” Asking simple questions like this will help you learn more about each person over time. You’ll soon realize you share a few common interests with each employee. This will boost people’s morale and help build rapport.
Great workplace communication isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time. That’s why you should be both consistent and patient in your approach. You’ll then be able to take your company to the next level. And it’s all thanks to a work culture that revolves around transparent communication. For more communication tips and strategies, please continue to browse BillionsInTheBank.com.