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No one wants to admit they lack communication skills; however, poor communication at work can result in missed deadlines, low productivity and poor morale. When you find that petty arguments and misunderstandings cause conflict in the workplace, take action to improve everyone’s communication style with workshops, seminars and tips. Teaching people how to communicate effectively enables employees to listen, speak, write and present well.
Employees can improve communication by completing self-assessments. This helps them see their behavior more clearly than they might have previously to address shortcomings. For example, an online questionnaire might ask questions about the number of times a person encourages others to talk, shows respect for others, checks that they understand what they have heard, avoids making judgment, and works to resolve team conflict. This can reveal weaknesses in certain areas that need improvement.
Effective Communication Skills
Written and spoken communication sent from one person to another must be clear, concise and concrete. It must also be correct, coherent, complete and courteous. Understanding other people's perspectives and cultures, and accepting how certain personalities or cultural backgrounds might perceive or process information can strengthen communications. For example, you might conflict with a person who prefers to build relationships through communication if you are someone who prefers analytical detail in communications.
Improving communication between co-workers may involve conducting practice activities. The exercises allow participants to act out difficult situations. It also gives people who don’t know each other a chance to get exposure to different ways of dealing with data and thinking. A diverse workforce provides many benefits in terms of creativity and innovation but may require some help collaborating effectively. For example, a facilitator can ask one person in a group to leave the room while the rest of the group identifies a popular slogan. Then, he assigns one word of the phase to each person in the room. When the person who has left the room returns, everyone shouts their word. The listener has to figure out the slogan. This demonstrates how difficult it is to understand a loud and fast message.
Educating employees on current business etiquette helps ensure that everyone knows what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Providing positive reinforcement encourages people to act in accordance with established standards. Social media technology, such as text messages, online chat, instant messaging, forums, blogs and microblogs, enable employees to interact with others at all times. This doesn’t mean every message is appropriate, however. For example, complaining about your boss or your customers on social media may get you fired.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.