Communication plays an important role in every organization. It can help to eliminate misunderstandings, and helps facilitate the flow of information. No matter who you are communicating with – clients, stakeholders, staff, or colleagues – there are some essential skills that will help you succeed.
If you recognize that communication in your workplace could do with some improvement, try implementing some of these changes to your corporate practices:
1. Encourage open discussion
When you encourage your staff to communicate openly, there is a sense that they will be seen and heard – and their opinions matter. When people are asked to give feedback and can contribute in a meaningful way, they feel valued.
2. Consider more face-to-face or phone conversations
For many people, email is one of the banes of modern-day life. Large volumes of emails can be a struggle to manage, and responding to them seems to eat up a lot of time.
Quite often, the emails people receive can be avoided altogether and it would be quicker and simpler if the person sending the email picked up a phone or stopped by their colleague’s desk to have a face-to-face conversation.
3. Be careful when wording emails
It’s hard to interpret tone when reading an email, which means that often a recipient will take an email in a context that it wasn’t intended. You may cause someone offense.
Likewise, if you aren’t clear in your email communications, the recipient might be confused. Especially if what you say is ambiguous and open to interpretation – the other person may believe something entirely different to what you intended to communicate.
Always proof-read your emails and ensure you use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. It can be distracting to your recipients otherwise – and many consider it to be rude and unprofessional.
4. Be aware of body language
When you are in a leadership position, you need to have awareness of your own body language and the way people around you react to it.
You should endeavor to communicate with a positive physical presence. Tips include: smiling, maintaining eye contact, keeping arms uncrossed and holding a straight, upright posture.
5. Make meetings meaningful
You should only hold meetings if they are absolutely necessary – too often in the corporate world they are held just for the sake of it, involving an ever-expanding cast of people who don’t really need to be there.
Determine if you really do need that meeting, or if a face-to-face or phone conversation would suffice.
If a meeting is necessary, make sure you set a time limit and an agenda.
6. Use images and videos
You can often get your point across better if you have a relevant graphic to go with it – for example a graph, a photo, or even a light-hearted meme. Many people respond better to visual information, so keep this in mind. Short video clips can also help to reinforce your messaging.