Effective workplace communication is the process of exchanging information and ideas. And you need both verbal and non-verbal means to make it effective. In business, these exchanges of information happen between one department to another. This means good communication is essential in boosting productivity and maintaining relationships.
Without good communication in your company, gaps between teams may develop. Ultimately, it leads to unmotivated and disengaged employees. Because of that, their effectiveness begins to deteriorate.
As leaders, it’s our responsibility to encourage an effective workplace communication. Creating a culture where open communication thrives can make or break your business. But when you’re successful in pulling it off, you gain more respect as a leader.
In this article, I’ll share with you how to do that. You can create an enjoyable work environment. But first, it starts by designing an effective workplace communication process.
Importance Of Effective Workplace Communication
Communication is very important because it’s how you do your job in an effective manner. Think about it, if your team or the people in your team aren’t communicating, what would happen? Nobody knows what’s happening. Therefore, nothing gets done.
This reminds me of an old story:
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
Here’s why is communication so important in the workplace?
- It avoids confusion - meaning, everyone understands each other. There is no misinterpretation or disseminated information.
- It provides purpose - everyone knows their goals and what they want
- Communication builds a positive company culture. Meaning, everyone can get along with each other.
- It creates accountability - everyone has trust in each other.
Improving communication starts at the top. It's really important to consider good communication because that is where success starts.
Barriers To Effective Workplace Communication
As a leader in your business, you share a lot of messages to many different people everyday. But have you ever noticed that some of them don’t follow the instructions you shared? It’s because there are barriers to effective communication. Here are some of the most common ones.
Lack of Clarity
Clarity of communication is essential in the workplace. Clarity of communication is essential in the workplace. To help deliver a clear message, get to your point quickly. Give the listener context, and check for understanding.
When talking about communication barriers, clarity is a hard one to overcome. Why? Because everyone's understanding of something is different. However, the speaker must make sure that he is speaking with absolute clarity. That there is no other meaning that lies upon it so you prevent misinterpretation.
Managers need to do their part to close the communication gap with their employees. Especially with those who have limited English proficiency. You have to understand that some people can’t speak as clearly and as fluently as you.
Language differences is the most common barrier of good communication. So you have to practice on how to deal with these kinds of situations.
Another one is the usage of words and jargon. If people don’t understand the words you say, they can’t process what you’re communicating. For best practices, communicate in simple terms. Or if you need to use jargons, explain it in a clear way.
Be aware of how you communicate with your individual team members in the course of a day, week, or month. Understand that all the people in your workplace don't have the same schedule. Your late-shift employees need the same level of communication as your daytime employees.
On the other hand, some people prefer reading than listening. So make sure that you’re disseminating information through written and verbal form.
Tips In Building Effective Workplace Communication
Now that you understand the importance and the communication barriers, I’ll share some tips on how to apply them. Here are 3 important things you need to know to build an effective workplace communication.
Face to Face Conversation
Big companies usually rely on emails or workplace chat rooms to relay information. However, it’s prone to misinterpretations. A face to face conversation could clear out many apprehensions and doubts straightaway.
Furthermore, face to face interaction helps you in building trust with your colleagues in the organization. One of the best practices you can encourage as a leader is to have personal conversations. Especially if your schedule can accommodate it.
Instead of exchanging hundreds of email threads, eliminate that and have a discussion. You’ll easily remove hours and hours of email writing just to answer questions which you could have addressed right away.
Receive and Provide Feedback
Make sure you provide and receive feedback with your arms wide open. As a leader, you must always solicit feedback from your people. Especially when it comes to communication. This will make you stand out since the majority of leaders you know don’t do this. In fact, they go the extra mile so they won’t receive any kind of feedback.
Feedback never has to be too long. When, as a leader, your people see that you know how to accept feedback, they’ll do the same. They’ll start appreciating feedback. Ultimately, it will result in good communication and improve workplace culture.
Focus on Problems, Not Personalities
If you want effective workplace communication, focus on solving problems. You might be surprised how many organizations I work with who undergo this issue. They say that memos or emails “hurt” employees. How? Because the employees felt that memos imply that they were lazy or irresponsible.
Attacking people is never an answer. In fact, the only thing it does is make problems bigger and more emotional. In the end, relationships are destroyed and trust is torn apart.
Whenever you’re dealing with any issue that involves high emotion, the “24-Hour Rule” should be in effect. Meaning, don’t send any email, message, letter, memo, or report to others within 24 hours. This gives you an entire day to reflect on what happened and what you’re about to send.
Start focusing on problems, not personalities.
Final Thoughts On Effective Workplace Communication
By now, you have at your disposal some of the best tips on how to create effective communication in your office. Remember, communication is the foundation of any leader-follower relationship. And creating a culture where communication thrives can make or break your leadership.
Which one of these tips are you going to implement first? Let us know in the comments below!