About Overcoming Communication to Improve the Workplace
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The workplace thrives on information, whether it involves meeting daily deadlines or making long-term decisions that completely change a company's direction. Effective communication is the key to ensuring that information is shared and received properly. Whenever you face problems with a company's performance or functions, communication is often to blame. Use proven strategies to improve communication in your organization and create a culture that supports positive interactions.
Dealing with Limited Time
Whenever possible, choose direct forms of communication over electronic ones. This can help ensure that your message gets across faster and more clearly, which can help prevent time-management problems. For example, a 2011 report from technology company Fonality and research group Webtorials found that at least half of workers’ time is spent on email. By reducing the amount of time workers have to sift through company emails, you free up more time for more important and productive work. No matter how you choose to communicate, keep your messages concise and to the point, whether you are hosting a companywide web conference or meeting with an employee one-one-one.
Sharpen Your Message
Effective workplace communication requires good verbal and listening skills. Employees should not merely hear your words -- they must also process the underlying meaning and make a real connection. Limit your communication to a few focused points rather than a laundry list of vague ones. This way, your communication is not ambiguous and your audience is more likely to remember your ideas and instructions. Choose the proper communication form, such as written memos when you are sharing large amounts of highly technical information. Also, promote active listening skills among your employees, such as not interrupting a speaker before he is finished, showing interest, repeating key ideas and providing feedback.
When you are trying to make a persuasive argument to your colleagues, speak to them face-to-face. This way, you can immediately adjust your communication based on feedback. Face-to-face interactions also allow you to use nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, body posture and facial expressions to drive your points home. This form of communication works well if you are trying to motivate sales reps to meet their monthly quotas, for example, or trying to get employees to buy into a new strategic initiative.
Research shows that personal background affects how you communicate in and out of the workplace. For example, men and women communicate differently when solving problems. Men tend to focus more on actions, facts and quick resolutions. Women usually prefer a more measured, analytical approach. Employees also communicate differently based on age, cultural background and other personal characteristics. Learn more about these communication differences to help prevent problems when interacting with colleagues from different backgrounds.
Kenya Lucas has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in “Anthropology & Medicine,” “New Directions for Evaluation,” “Psychology of Women Quarterly” and “Journal of the Grant Professionals Association.” She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Brown University.
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