How to Communicate Better in The Workplace
Posted April 17, 2020, by Felicity
Communication is an essential skill in life. Whether that is communicating with loved ones, communicating with friends, communicating with colleagues – without effective communication, relationships are unable to be built. That’s why it is so important to learn hot to communicate better in the workplace.
When it comes to the workplace, communication skills are essential. The right communication can mean the difference between working cohesively together, or things getting lost in translation and mistakes happening.
Why Is Communication So Important?
As a manager, it is your job to be across your team and all their work, and this just isn’t possible without effective communication skills. If you aren’t communicating often with your team, listening to their concerns, working with them and encouraging them to speak up, it can have a wide range of consequences.
- Mistakes: if you employees aren’t on the same page in the workplace, then it is more likely for mistakes to be made.
- Unhappy workplace: if you don’t chat to your employees and openly communicate with them then you don’t have the chance to find out whether they are happy in their job or have areas they would like to improve in the workplace. Having a team that isn’t happy also lowers the quality of work.
- Ineffectiveness: if a team doesn’t communicate well, they can’t do their job well. Most jobs rely on other people, and without effective communication, processes can’t be streamlined to make it easier on everyone.
- No improvements: if areas of the a job aren’t working, this won’t be made clear without effective communication. Your staff may have amazing ideas for improving productivity, which aren’t considered due to lack of communication.
- Things get missed: finally, things can get missed and overlooked without effective communication in place. Whether an email goes unnoticed, the phone doesn’t get picked up, or something else, it is easy to see how a workplace without effective communication could suffer
9 Tips on How to Communicate Better in the Workplace
The ability to communicate effectively at work is one of the most essentially skills for business. No matter what industry you happen to be in. Here are 9 tips to communicate better in the workplace.
Walk Around the Office
For some people, their goal is to go to work, get their hours done, and head straight back home again. This is understandable, but it doesn’t help create a cohesive team environment. Have you ever just stood up from your desk and taken a walk around to talk to your colleagues?
Ask Anna from accounting how her twins are going? Or Ask Sam from sales how his recent holiday was? You could also ask Mary from marketing about her upcoming wedding?
While none of these questions are business related, this kind of communication in the workplace develops relationships. Next time Sam, Anna, or Mary need something from you, or have something they think might be useful for you, they won’t hesitate to approach you.
Open Door Policy
As a manager in the workplace, employees can often be wary of approaching you, depending on the type of relationship you have built. If you want to improve communication with your employees, then adopt an open door policy with them.
Put simply: leave your door open. This is a simple technique that is so effective. It lets people know when they walk past that they are welcome to stop by for a chat or to voice any concerns. If you want to make it even more obvious, pull your team aside and let them know what you are doing. Putting in place effective communication methods will ensure your whole team is on the same page throughout projects and will ensure no mistakes are made.
Develop Internal Communications
It’s no secret that email isn’t always the best way for staff to be having conversations. This should be combated with the implementation of more effective means to communicate. The options are endless for this one:
- More meetings: hold meetings more frequently, so everyone has the opportunity to speak face to face about projects they are working on. Note: these don’t need to take up too much time in your day, just a 15-minute check-in from time-to-time can make a world of difference.
- Internal programs: from Trello to Zoom, there are a number of different programs out there that allow team members to communicate effectively across a range of different projects.
- Communal spaces: more communal spaces in an office place invite more chances for communication between employees. Whether it is casually while grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning, or while eating lunch, open communication in this manner can be very effective.
- Internal newsletter: this is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page and to improve employee moral. It is a great way to recognise employees who are doing a great job and to keep everyone in the office in the know about things that are going on.
Office Drinks Or Retreats
This one may not seem essential, but it can make a huge difference. Whether you choose office drinks, or perhaps a lunch out once a month, it is a chance for your team to get together and chat outside of work.
Developing these friendships will then have an impact on communication in the workplace. While the professionalism will still be maintained, staff members will be more likely to chat and talk in the office about work topics if they feel they know the person they are speaking to. It also means if they are needing help on a project, or have made a mistake they need help fixing, they are more likely to swallow their pride and approach someone they are ‘friendly’ with.
You can ramp this up a notch with work retreats or away days. These are generally team building days away from the office where you learn to work together. While it involves taking employees away from a day of work, it can reward you in many ways. It helps build a strong team mentality and encourages colleagues to understand the importance of working together for a common goal.
For some team bonding inspo check out these 8 team building ideas (that are actually fun!)
Co Working Spaces
Co working is a great way to improve communication between your employees. While many business often think it is better to have people in offices so there are less distractions to get work done, these distractions actually encourage open communication and can lead to some great ideas in the process.
For example, if someone is stuck on something with a project they are working on, they can voice their struggles out loud and invite colleagues to offer help. This kind of communication doesn’t happen when everyone is behind closed doors.
Recognise Good Work
Open communication involves praising employees for good work they have done. This improves team morale and also incentivises employees to work hard for you. Whether you simply single them out in front of their colleagues, or put a reward in place for good work, it sets an example for the rest of the office.
Set The Tone For Clients
Of course, not all communication is internal, and many of your employees will be liaising with clients on a daily basis. It is important to sit down with your team and discuss the expected tone – friendly, professional, a mixture – and how to ensure this communication is shared with the rest of the team. Without effective communication, you could end up with multiple team members contacting the same clients and a double up occurring.
Once again, this is where internal software in the workplace can come in handy. Everyone can access the same information in the one place.
While it might sound cheesy, having an anonymous place for employees is essential. It’s a place to share their suggestions or concerns. It is a great way to encourage communication within the workplace. People aren’t always comfortable voicing their concerns aloud. So having a way for them to do it discreetly can encourage the shy or quiet employees to still speak up.
Another way to do this is to send off surveys to your team. They can answer anonymously and send back.
Practice What You Preach
If you are encouraging communication within your team then it is important that you show off your communication skills. This includes making yourself approachable to your team. If they see you as approachable, they are more like to communicate openly. They will also voice any issues or concerns they are having.
Communication in the workplace is essential. There are so many different ways you can improve the communication in the workplace. This will make sure everyone is on the same page. You will not only start to see immediate improvements in the work being done, but also in the office mood. Employees will feel much more satisfied when they are both heard and appreciated. This can change the entire tone of the workplace.
So what are you waiting for? Now is to the time to change and make sure you are communicating as effectively as possible in the workplace.