We’ve all been there: a looming deadline, an irate client, and a team of employees rushing around trying to get everything done in time. Overseeing this stressed-out environment, the project manager wonders how it got so out of control. If you’re in a management position, you need to implement strategies to improve communication with your entire team.
Communication is tough. Each workplace whether it’s a hybrid or work-from-home workplace is unique and its success depends on the communication that takes place within.
The dynamics and personalities of your team might be entirely different than any other team you’ve been a part of. Everyone is dealing with their own set of challenges whether personal or professional. But the best teams are able to maintain good communication within the workplace and make everyone feel valued.
Businesses are getting more complex and complicated as they grow. This is not to say that they can’t be streamlined. In fact, it’s essential to create an environment where your employees can be their best work selves. One way to do that is to improve workplace communication.
What is Communication in The Workplace?
Put simply workplace communication, is the exchange of information between two or more people in a professional setting. This can include everything from face-to-face conversations and group meetings to email exchanges and even body language. The most important thing to remember is that effective communication requires clear and concise messaging that everyone can understand.
Some instances of where you’re likely to communicate in the workplace are:
- One on ones with colleagues, employees, or clients
- Communicating about work-related tasks, or projects
- Your team meetings
- Non-verbal communication
Why is Good Communication at the Workplace Important?
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending game of ‘telephone?’ You know, where somebody whispers something in your ear, and by the time it gets to the last person, it’s been so distorted that it bears no resemblance to the original message? Well, if you’re working in a business with 100 employees, you’re probably playing that game every day- except instead of being a fun party game, it’s costing your company money.
The 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey shows that employers rank and consider communication skills most important when hiring new employees. And teamwork and technical skills, come after that.
Good communication skills are important because it has a direct effect on an employee’s productivity and their entire workday.
Quantified Communication found that an organization with 100 employees on average spends about 17 hours clarifying unclear and misinterpreted messages to the team.
That’s nearly one full workday each week that could be spent more productive purposes! So what can be done to improve communication and avoid costly miscommunication? If you work in a large company, make an effort to be clear and concise in your communications.
In any business, therefore, communication is key. Whether you’re communicating with customers, clients, or employees, it’s important to be clear, concise, and professional. When team members cannot communicate effectively with one another, it can lead to a decline in productivity and morale.
12 Expert Tips For Improving Workplace Communication
Communication is so essential to your organization’s success that it can not be left to chance. Even if you think you’re a good communicator, creating a plan for communicating at work can help ensure that everyone hears what they need to hear. Here are five tips for improving workplace communication:
Tip 1: Overcommunicate Rather Than Undercommunicate
In any workplace, communication is key. Whether you’re passing along instructions from your boss or simply letting your co-workers know that you’re running out for lunch, effective communication is essential to maintaining a smoothly-running operation. That’s why, if you want to improve communication in the workplace, it’s important to take the time to explain things and tasks to your team.
When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts. Furthermore, clear communication can help to build trust and foster a spirit of cooperation among team members. So next time you need to pass along some information, take a deep breath and explain it as clearly as you can. Your fellow workers will thank you for it.
Tip 2: Be Transparent
One way to improve communication in the workplace is to keep workflow transparent. By sharing information about upcoming deadlines and assignments, everyone can be sure that they’re working towards the same goal. In addition, regular updates help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and no one is feeling overwhelmed. Of course, there’s always going to be some degree of miscommunication in any workplace. But by keeping the workflow transparent, you can help to minimize these misunderstandings and create a more cohesive team.
Tip 3: Make Sure Your Team Understands Its Role
We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting and someone starts talking about a project that you know nothing about. Suddenly, everyone is looking at you for an opinion and you have no idea what to say.
A recent study by HR Technologist has found that many employees and managers are struggling in this area. 57% of employees surveyed reported not being given clear direction, and 69% of managers said they were not comfortable communicating with their employees in general.
To avoid this, make sure your team understands its role and tasks and has a direction to follow. Give clear instructions about their tasks and tell them beforehand of the expected results.
Additionally, keep your team informed of any changes in plans or expectations. By ensuring that everyone is on the same page, you can help prevent miscommunication and improve communication in the workplace.
Tip 4: Be Clear and Accurate
When conveying information, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Ambiguous language can lead to misinterpretation, so it’s best to avoid it whenever possible.
Tip 5: Keep a Check on The Progress
If you’re looking for a way to improve communication and keep your team running like a well-oiled machine, make progress reports part of your workflow.
By taking a few minutes at the end of each day or week to touch base with your team and give them a brief update on what you’ve been working on, you can help avoid misunderstandings and wasted effort. Furthermore, progress reports can also help to identify potential issues early on, before they have a chance to impact the quality of your work.
Tip 6: Choose the Right Platform to Communicate
Choosing the right medium when communicating at work is important. Whether you’re sending an email, posting on a shared document, or messaging a colleague, it’s important to consider the audience and the message you’re trying to communicate.
This means choosing the right medium for the message – the email may be fine for some things, but there are some situations where a face-to-face conversation or a phone call would be more effective.
For example, if you need to give constructive feedback, it might be better to do so in person rather than over email.
On the other hand, if you’re sharing information that doesn’t need immediate action, a group chat might be a more efficient way to go.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to workplace communication, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s all about choosing the right medium for the message you’re trying to send.
Tip 7: Establish Trust Within The Team
Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, be it personal or professional. Yet, somehow, when it comes to the workplace, trust often gets lost in the shuffle.
Whether it’s competition for promotions or worries about job security, there are many factors that can contribute to a feeling of mistrust between colleagues. However, there are also many things that can be done to foster trust in the workplace.
Encouraging open communication and mutual respect are two key ways to create an environment of trust. When employees feel like they can openly share their ideas and concerns, they are more likely to trust their colleagues and work together more effectively.
Tip 8: Make Regular Check-Ins A Routine
In today’s fast-paced, constantly-connected world, it can be easy for colleagues to feel like they’re always being cc’d on an email chain or left out of the loop on a project. However, face-to-face communication is still the most effective way to get your point across. In order to improve communication in the workplace, regularly follow up with your team.
This will allow you to have a more focused conversation and ensure that everyone is on the same page. You may also find that this gives you a chance to build better relationships with your coworkers.
Tip 9: Don’t Make Assumptions
When we make assumptions, we are more likely to miss important information or misinterpret what someone else has said. We may also come across as judgmental or condescending. If we want to improve communication in the workplace, we need to avoid making assumptions. Instead, we should try to listen actively and openly, and ask questions if we’re unsure about something. By doing this, we can ensure that we are truly understanding what the other person is saying.
Tip 10: Team Building Activities
If you’re looking for ways to improve communication in the workplace, you might want to consider organizing some team-building activities. After all, working together is the best way to build communication skills. And what better way to do that than by playing some fun games together?
Of course, not every team-building activity has to be a game. You could also try something like a cooking class, where everyone has to work together to create a dish. Or, for something a little more physical, you could try a scavenger hunt or an outdoor adventure. Whatever you choose, the important thing is that it’s something that everyone can enjoy and that will help them to feel more connected to each other.
Tip 11: Make Sure to Set the Tone
If you want your team to have excellent communication skills, lead them the way. Set the standards by setting the right tone and eventually, your team will follow the suit.
Doing so will help you foster a more positive and productive workplace.
Top 12: Talk to The Right Person
We’ve all been there before. You have an important message to deliver, but you’re not quite sure who the best person is to speak to. Workplace communication can be a tricky thing. You want to make sure you’re saying the right things, to the right people, at the right time. But often, communication breakdowns occur because we’re talking to the wrong people, or we’re trying to share information in the wrong setting.
To avoid this from happening make sure the message goes to the right person.
A misstep in communication is all it takes to make you look foolish, feel bad, and potentially damage your career. The best thing to do is take control and commit these tips to memory before getting down to business. Armed with this knowledge, you can avoid even the most difficult situations with your coworkers. And as they say: communication — not confrontation — is key.