Did you know that 57% of employees report not being given clear directions in the workplace? And, on the employer side of things, that 69% of managers report not being comfortable communicating with their employees in general?
The numbers don’t lie – there is evidently a lack of proper communication happening in workplaces across America.
The Importance of Communication in the Workplace
Missed deadlines. Long email threads that seemingly lack a purpose. No idea who is working on what. Conflicts between team members. Delayed feedback, or no feedback at all.
Do any of these sound familiar?
These fundamental issues all have one thing in common – a lack of communication. Ultimately, this is going to lead to negative impacts on your bottom line.
The Seven C’s of Effective Communication
Effective communication is an art, and there is a method to the madness. Knowing the seven principles of communication will help you effectively execute the steps for improvement we will discuss later.
- Concrete. Your message should be solid and have data that backs it up. Don’t leave room for fallacies in your statements.
- Clarity. Your overarching message should be clear. The reader or recipient of the communication shouldn’t be left wondering what the point was.
- Consistent. Keep your word choice and message the same. Try to use short sentences, short words and avoid repetition.
- Coherent. Coherent communication is logical communication. Have the main topic, and subtopics that flow from it, to keep things coherent and consistent.
- Courteous. Stay positive. Be courteous of the person on the other end of the conversation. Consider what will best help them understand.
- Commitment. Be committed to your conversation, to getting your message across clearly, to hearing the other person out, and to seeing the conversation through to a satisfactory conclusion.
- Completeness. Never leave a sentence unfinished. Every thought in your process of communication should be complete.
How to Improve Communication in the Workplace
Improving communication in the workplace starts with a few basic steps:
It can be easy to find yourself dominating a conversation. Maybe you have a lot of ideas, or maybe you are trying to avoid the silence. However, conversing is a two-way street and listening to the other party is a key part of effective communication.
Practice not only listening but engaging in active listening. Gently nod your head, or give minor verbal cues to let the person know you are listening and actively engaging in what they are saying.
Pay attention to physical cues.
One study shows that body language is responsible for 55% of how listeners perceive a speaker. While involved in a conversation, whether you are talking or listening, pay close attention to how the other person is acting, too.
Are they making eye contact? Are they fidgeting as if they are uncomfortable or nervous?
These physical actions can help you determine if you are effectively communicating with them or not.
Portray your message more clearly and effectively.
This applies to all avenues of communication – on the phone and over email. Be cognizant of the method you are using to communicate, because this will determine how you should word things.
For example, if you are emailing, consider that the receiver will not be able to hear your tone. That is left open to the interpretation of the reader.
Don’t leave someone feeling like they are talking to a brick wall. Whether positive or negative, provide insight – or feedback – on the conversation in an effective and polite way.
This will not only help ensure the success of this instance of communication, but it can also help you find ways to improve further communication.
Communication is always going to be a work in progress. You will constantly be communicating about different things and with different people – all of which will require adaptation. Keep these simple steps in mind every time, and watch the results start to flow in.