You might think you and the people you work with are very good at communicating already. After all, we talk to our partners, family and friends without giving it too much thought! But communicating well takes a little finesse…
- Learn how to do ‘active listening’. When you’re listening, do you really hear what’s being said? Active listening is about making a deliberate effort not only to hear the words, but to understand the message that’s being given too. It means repeating back what you’re hearing, allowing plenty of opportunity for a person to speak, looking at the speaker directly, nodding occasionally and making small verbal comments like ‘mm-hmm’ and ‘yes’. Most importantly of all, active listening means not preparing your response whilst someone else is talking – instead, listen fully and then give your rebuttal! Here’s some great active listening advice.
- Use the right tools. As well as stronger face to face communication skills, it’s important the infrastructure you’re relying on allows for good communication too. For example, tools provided by the likes of upraise.io provide a platform for teams to communicate. Employees involved on a project can talk to one another and receive continuous feedback, recognition, praise and instruction from their managers and co-workers. But best of all? This kind of communication tool ensures that voices are heard and the necessary people are included in relevant conversations. There are various tools at your disposal, from setting up employee text alerts to top-level management communication and it’s up to you to make the most of them.
- Be clear about good digital etiquette. Emails are an obvious minefield for communication mishaps. Set clear guidelines for everyone to abide by: the tone should be professional if you’re in the kind of office that values a formal approach, and everyone should make the time to remember their manners! Encourage employees to refrain from emailing if they’re displeased or upset – it’s better to get up and talk face to face so that a situation doesn’t escalate. The biggest consideration in digital etiquette however is to keep things clear and concise: unnecessarily long emails compound a person’s workload and chew up too much time. Keep it short and sweet.
- Check your body language. We actually have a very colourful conversation with our body language… whether we’re aware of it or not! For example, standing up tall and widening our stance displays power, status and confidence. Maintaining eye contact is important in the office too. Whilst you don’t want to stare, you should have looked in a speaker’s eyes for long enough to know what colour their eyes are. This will make people feel that they are valued and that you are listening to them. Good body language even extends to perfecting your handshake! What does your handshake say about you?
5. Schedule regular meetings. One way to guarantee the improvement of communication in the workplace is to schedule time for it. For example, you could set dates for weekly team meetings, monthly 1-2-1s, regular interdepartmental brainstorms, or even invite the whole office for a catch up at the end of each week. These kinds of meetings offer employees a great opportunity to come up with ideas, feedback on what’s going on, learn what’s happening elsewhere in the business and boost the sense of morale overall.