Good communication is the foundation of any successful work environment. Workplace communication can be defined as the exchange of ideas among your employees. Whether you’re meeting face-to-face physically in the office, talking on the phone or videoconferencing, or chatting electronically via emails or instant messaging, communicating with employees likely takes up a considerable percentage of your day. Since communication is such a significant portion of your job, it’s important to make sure you’re communicating successfully.
Why Is Good Communication Important?
Teams that communicate effectively tend to be more efficient and better prepared to handle any difficult situation that comes their way. Effective workplace communication can also help you:
- Avoid confusion.
- Increase productivity.
- Build a positive corporate culture.
- Create accountability between yourself and your team members.
5 Ways to Improve Communication in the Workplace
If you’re not sure if your team is communicating effectively, don’t worry. There are several ways you can improve your team’s workplace communication.
- Communicate clearly: When providing direction, assigning tasks, or explaining concepts, make sure you’re communicating as clearly as possible, so your employees understand what is expected of them. Follow up with employees to ensure their understanding. This is especially important with employee training. The clearest communication is one that they can understand –whenever possible, train your employees in a language they are comfortable with.
- Physically speak to someone whenever possible: While the advent of email and instant messaging makes communication more convenient, it’s much easier to misinterpret a person’s tone electronically than in person. Whenever possible, meet in person or schedule a call so you can get your point across without any misunderstanding.
- Encourage open communication and feedback: A large part of effective workplace communication is encouraging employees to communicate their thoughts and concerns or provide feedback. Make sure your corporate culture is one where employees feel comfortable and safe coming to you with questions or feedback.
- Conduct teambuilding activities: Teambuilding strengthens relationships among team members and encourages openness and communication. Providing your team with opportunities for teambuilding has many benefits, including boosting employee morale, improving corporate culture and facilitating open communication.
- Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your team: Some team members may not be comfortable reaching out to you when they have something to discuss. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings gives them the opportunity to discuss whatever may be on their mind and gives them the opportunity to provide feedback.
Communication Is a Two–Way Street
All great leaders have one thing in common — they listen more than they speak.
Practice active listening. Active listening is a method of listening, fully paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues, while responding appropriately and intentionally in order to improve understanding. Hearing what someone is telling you and truly listening are two very different things. Make sure you’re practicing the latter.
When employees trust that you are really listening to them, they will be more likely to open up and communicate with you.