Good and effective workplace communication is key to a productive workplace. If communication skills are poor among team members, it can lead to them feeling frustrated and stressed. Basically, it can do a lot of damage to your business, so it’s not an issue to ignore.
It might sound like a hard task to take on, but it can be done. Here are top 7 effective strategies that help improve workplace communication:
#1. Know when to use your smartphone
Samsung and Frost & Sullivan conducted a survey, where they learned that smartphones boost productivity by 34% at a workplace. There’s no doubt, it’s a crucial asset for your professional life. If you know when to use it.
But are you constantly checking your phone during conversations and taking it into meetings? That’s not being productive anymore nor polite, is it? There’s nothing worse than being at a meeting and someone isn’t offering their full focus.
It shows a lack of respect, attention, and listening. By placing your smartphone on the table at a meeting, it shows the other person that it’s there for a reason. And not a good one.
So consider changing your habits when it comes to your smartphone to improve workplace communication. If you really need to bring your phone with you to a meeting, let the other person know why. Instead of having your smartphone with you during lunchtime. Leave it on your desk and talk to your colleagues, ask them about their weekend.
#2. Learn to listen
Let others talk too. If it’s just you constantly rambling on, your colleagues start to tune out of the conversation. Listen and look for feedback clues and avoid your impulse of cutting other people off. Even if there are certain topics you disagree with while the other person is talking.
Screaming out your ideas isn’t the way to go. That one person who you keep interrupting might not want to share any of their ideas in the future. By carefully listening, you are letting the other person form their own ideas, instead of you directing them.
#3. Create an approachable environment
In a workplace where ideas can flow, being approachable is crucial when building relationships. There are some managers and CEOs who are obsessed with authority and that can create a hierarchy. In an open and approachable environment, your colleagues aren’t afraid to speak their mind. The result is a better collaboration and a stronger team spirit.
Another concern to note is a crisis situation, where losing your temper and sitting angrily at your desk isn’t going to make you approachable. You don’t want your colleagues to tiptoe around you. Learn to handle yourself in a crisis situation so that your colleagues won’t find it difficult to approach you.
#4. Get to know each other
A productive team is more than just a bunch of smart people working together in a workplace. Everyone should be aware of each other’s skills and how to interact with one another. That quiet guy who you keep ignoring might just be the solution to whatever problem you might be having.
Just by finding a mutual interest in your team members, such as a TV show that everyone is watching, can help improve workplace communication and dynamic. According to Tinypulse research, the number one reason people like their work is because of the people they work with. So take this opportunity to grab a cup of coffee with a colleague who you don’t know so well. It really isn’t that hard!
#5. Know how to give feedback
Effective communication is mostly based on trust. Be honest, but don’t be too harsh on the feedback you give. Make sure it’s constructive and well thought through. Always let your team members know what they have to work on, but not in a way that you hurt their feelings. Give the wrong feedback, and it can decrease the motivation of a colleague.
Be sure to compliment your team members on their strengths, especially when they are making progress. Not giving any feedback is negative and it’s the hardest to deal with, as its harder to accept. Do you remember the last time positive feedback gave you trouble with a colleague of yours? No.
#6. Learn how to handle criticism
Most people are afraid of negative feedback. Criticism of something you have put your heart and soul can be devastating. Don’t be too hard on yourself, try and look at criticism at an angle where it helps you improve and learn.
Try and avoid getting all defensive, listen instead. The person giving you criticism might have a point that you didn’t think of. Remember that at a workplace, criticism is never personal, it’s about your work, not you.
Note that this advice only applies to constructive criticism. If you feel attacked, react in a calm manner and backup your objections with evidence. When someone claims that you fail to meet deadlines, ask for examples. Get to the bottom of the issue, otherwise, it doesn’t get solved and just causes extra stress in a workplace.
#7. Avoid useless meetings
Don’t kill productivity at a workplace with useless meetings. Some issues that can occur in a workplace are as valuable as a Snapchat post– it can quickly disappear. There are many tools online that can solve an issue faster.
Social networks like ZenDesk, Slack and SalesForce Chatter are just some tools that help with quick and effective communication at a workplace. By having a meeting for every issue, it just ends up distracting people, while losing valuable work time. Time is money.
Have a look at this infographic by Digital Synopsis that gives you an overview of useless meetings, while offering tips to improve workplace communication.
No matter which of these strategies you decide to implement, continuing to have conversations and bonding is key to improve workplace communication. That will never change so why run from it, plus the benefits are endless.
It’s easy to achieve goals at a workplace, where the team has built a strong team spirit. So start today and you will see amazing results in the long run.