Communication is at the heart of everything in an organization. Think about it: Whether you’re talking to clients, colleagues, partners or members of the public, you’re communicating constantly. If good communication has many benefits and facilitates collaboration, communication that is awkward, careless, obscure or absent may become a source of frustration and conflict.
Good communication therefore enables the individuals involved to:
- Understand the information that’s provided to them and be able to share it
- Know what’s expected of them and be able to react appropriately
- Work together more closely
- Clarify situations to iron out conflicts and dispel confusion
- Feel more confident in their abilities
- Feel more engaged with regard to your organization.
It can also strengthen teams, improve relationships, improve employees’ self-confidence and, ultimately establish a healthier, more productive working environment. What’s better than that?
How to communicate effectively
You must have an overall vision of the message you want to communicate. What is your overall message? What are your expectations? What is your objective? Remember: What is clearly thought out is clearly expressed.
After considering these factors, turn your attention to other criteria. Explore the six following ideas to ensure your organization communicates with agility.
1. Know why you are communicating
There is no room for ambiguity in effective communication. Even before delivering your message, have a clear vision of your objective. What is the key message? What are your expectations? What do others have to do in response to your message?
2. Focus on clarity!
Don’t assume that everyone will understand the ideas that you have expressed. Be willing to answer questions and to reformulate and repeat your message. Avoid using jargon or words that people are not used to hearing. New employees may be unfamiliar with the acronyms and expressions commonly used in your organization. State clearly what you mean. Keep in mind the fact that some of the people you talk to may not understand what you’re saying.
3. Promote transparency
When employees know why they have to follow a procedure, change their way of doing something or adopt a new policy, they often understand better and are less resistant to change. Establish formal channels of communication that promote an ongoing flow of information.
4. Communicating is also listening
If you sense that your employees or colleagues oppose a decision that the organization has made, take the time to listen to their point of view. Ask yourself if you have effectively expressed your vision and expectations. Be open-minded: Is it possible to come up with a compromise? Is it necessary? Don’t hesitate to challenge yourself. If you’re sure your decision is a valid one, explain why.
5. Share information
There’s nothing worse than a lack of transparency. If you keep to yourself information that could help your team members or colleagues do their work better, you’re harming the entire organization. It may not be right to disclose all the information, but some background information or details may be key to resolving a host of problems. If you’re an expert at a particular task and one of your colleagues is just learning, lend a hand! Rather than taking away some of your power, the transfer of knowledge will enable you to move forward and distinguish yourself as a coach.
6. Watch your attitude
Your posture, the tone of your voice and the way you look at people often convey more than your words. The message people receive based on your body language may be different from the words you are saying. Signs of aggressiveness, boredom, impatience and unavailability in the workplace have the opposite effect from the one you are trying to put across. Rather than listening to you and trying to understand what you’re saying, the other person will shut down.
Your employees spend a significant amount of their life in the workplace. By allowing them to develop in an environment where they’re listened to, where they can say what they think, where working relations are harmonious, you offer them an environment where they can be fulfilled. In return, they allow you to feel that you can rely on cohesive teams that are motivated to help you attain your objectives.