Regardless of your type of business or whether your company is large or small, good communication is essential for a harmonious and productive work environment. Hours and days can be lost due to miscommunication and the potential to undermine client relationships because of these types of misunderstandings.
Here are some tips on how you can encourage and execute good communication that can potentially result in improved interoffice relationships, increased productivity, and better client relationships:
Don’t Rely Solely on Email and Text Messages
In today’s digital age more and more of our communication is taking place through email and text messaging with telephone and in-person connections falling by the wayside. While there is certainly a time and place for digital communication, you should not underestimate the power of face-to-face or telephone communication. The additional time that it takes to communicate in this manner can be more than offset by the rewards gained from more substantive business relationships. Plus, you can easily miss, and misinterpret the emotion in an email or a text. This is much harder to do in a direct conversation since you will be able to gauge a person’s reaction to what is said and immediately explain your comment and adjust.
Learn to Listen Effectively
One of the most important components of effective communications is the ability to listen. Good listeners remain open-minded and do not “shut-down” when in a meeting with a colleague or client. They are careful to not interrupt and utilize visual and verbal cues to ensure that the person speaking knows that they are listening to what is being said. Their listening “style” is such that it encourages open dialogue and makes the speaker feel “safe” and confident in expressing their thoughts.
Provide a Platform For Communication
With most offices operating at warp speed, employees may find themselves with little or no time to communicate their ideas, challenges, and issues. Make it a point to hold regular meetings with your employees and make it a comfortable environment for them to speak freely. Whether the meetings are weekly, monthly or quarterly, they should be structured with a tight agenda and include a meeting leader to keep things in check. Some companies rotate the role of meeting leader in order to give employees the experience.
Be Receptive to Feedback
While it may seem uncomfortable at first, getting feedback from employees (and clients too) can be extremely beneficial and can help you to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on. Encourage your employees to share their feelings and make suggestions and by doing this they will feel motivated and empowered, two fundamentals for highly productive employees.
It’s always a good idea to help employees be successful at what you are asking them to do. Effective communication is an important business skill to have and you may want to provide your employees with coaching and classes on the topic. Doing so will be a win-win for all.