Many professions require the ability to exchange information and ideas at work. Discover why workplace communication is so crucial and how to improve your communication abilities.
The flow of information between employees in a work environment is known as “workplace communication.” This includes face-to-face conversations, emails, chat messaging, videoconferencing, phone calls, and other professional communication technologies. Nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, body language, and tone of voice, is equally crucial on the job.
Good workplace communication ensures that employees get the knowledge they need to perform successfully, creates a happy work atmosphere, and avoids inefficiencies. Effective communication should deliver information accurately while preserving or developing human relationships.
COVID-19 has made many jobs more remote-friendly and has expedited the digitization of workplace communication channels. This means that there is more interaction on video conferencing platforms like Zoom and messaging platforms like Slack or WhatsApp.
This has resulted in a shift in communication culture in some circumstances. Some companies have started to move away from traditional top-down communication styles in favor of more lateral communication styles that encourage employees to talk with people from other companies.
Workplace communication begins with the individual and does not end there. Workplace culture, technology, and norms can all have an impact on how effective communication is in your organization.
Effective communication with coworkers is critical to having a pleasant work experience. If you want to improve your communication skills as an individual, keep the following tips in mind as you communicate with coworkers:
● Take note of nonverbal cues. Tone and body language can express information that words cannot. While speaking with someone, pay attention to your tone and body language, as well as your partner’s. Tone can be difficult to detect in text-based conversations. If you can’t comprehend someone’s email or chat communication, recommend an alternative means, such as video conferencing or a face-to-face conference.
● Listen. Communication is two-way. Active listening involves internalizing what you hear and paying attention to the intent and emotion underlying what you’re hearing.
● Give constructive feedback. Being a member of a team entails respecting everyone’s work. When giving feedback, strike a balance between what is working and what can be improved.
● Take part in meetings. Prepare for meetings by checking the agenda or previous notes to understand what is being discussed and begin to consider how you may participate. Pay attention to what is said, take notes if necessary, and ask pertinent questions.
Not every problem requires its own conference. When you have something to say, examine its relevance, urgency, and complexity, and then choose the appropriate medium. Do you need a quick team reminder?
A simple group message or email can convey the message. Do you want to learn or teach someone how to use a tool? A face-to-face meeting may be preferable. Establishing team-wide practices about when to use which channel of communication might be beneficial.
According to research, just half of the time spent in meetings is considered a beneficial use of time by attendees. What’s the good news? There are most likely various ways to improve the way meetings are conducted in your firm.
Here are some tips for making meetings more efficient and effective:
● Establish an agenda and objectives for each meeting. Avoid objectives that include recycling.
● Send the agenda and any other materials that will be discussed, such as presentations, to the team ahead of time so that everyone has time to review them.
● Only invite those who are required to be invited.
● Consider whether a meeting is actually the best approach to explain anything.
● Cancel a meeting if it is unnecessary.
● Check that all technical equipment is operational ahead of time.
● Meetings should begin and end on time.
● Following the meeting, they distribute the meeting notes.
Creating a trusting environment is essential for effective workplace communication. People should feel free to express their concerns, ask questions, and contribute their thoughts.
● Set up bi-weekly or monthly lunch meetings, as well as events such as happy hours or off-sites, to allow staff to unwind and get to know one another as people. This can aid in the development of trust and the creation of a more supportive work environment.
● It provides many avenues for people to participate. Different people have different communication techniques. While some people aren’t afraid to speak up in huge groups, others may prefer to raise questions in text-based forums. Change up how you get comments and suggestions to ensure you hear from as many people as possible.
● Involve remote workers.Even though remote working is becoming more common, people still want and desire genuine human interaction. Slack and other chat services can facilitate informal discussions between in-person and distant workers. Consider organizing a reading club or other remote-friendly office activities.
You don’t have to be in a position of authority to influence workplace culture. Begin by looking for these opportunities on your own. Suggest meeting coworkers for lunch, joining a work club, or forming your own.
Recurring meetings might provide an opportunity for employees to raise problems that they might not have raised otherwise. If they aren’t already, suggest that you schedule one-on-one meetings with your direct supervisor on a regular basis (or direct reports). Consistent team meetings can also allow team members to communicate their problems with a broader audience and elicit feedback from others.
Though it is acceptable to cancel a meeting if there is no agenda, try not to cancel it too frequently. This may damage employee trust and take away crucial time for employees to raise concerns.