Would you like to increase productivity and foster a positive work environment where everyone feels heard, understood, and at ease? Then you need to know how to improve communication within your team and across your organization.
There is a growing body of evidence that clear and detailed communication can make a significant difference in the well-being and productivity of employees. On the flip side, poor communication can be very costly. It has been linked to missed project deadlines, cynicism at work, employee turnover, and lost revenue.
Most people generally think of communication in terms of speaking and writing but being an effective communicator goes beyond verbal communication. You need to know how to actively listen to others while also mastering non-verbal cues and body language.
Whether you are a leader or an employee, knowing how to improve communication at work will help to boost the morale of your team members. It will also eliminate miscommunication and its attendant consequences.
If this sounds like something you desire for your organization but are not quite sure where to start, begin by implementing our proven strategies for improving communication at work.
8 Strategies To Improve Communication At Work
1. It starts with being an active listener to team members
Have you ever engaged in a discussion where you felt that the other party was only hearing your words, but not actually listening? Or perhaps you remember talking with people who were constantly checking their phones, or being distracted while you talked.
Both scenarios are typical cases of passive listening, which is one of the causes of miscommunication. On the other hand, active listening means giving your full focus to what someone is saying. It is paying attention to what the person is saying, how they are saying it, and what else they are not saying but are implying.
By becoming an active listener, you show employees or colleagues that you value their opinions or contributions. It also becomes easier to see things from the other person’s point of view, read non-verbal cues, and craft appropriate responses.
2. Have regular team meetings
Having regular team meetings is a good way to help people feel like they belong, get them to work together, and improve communication at work.
Meetings like this encourage a free exchange of ideas. Team members can rub minds and express their thoughts about a project. They can also share any grievances or reservations they may have.
By having these meetings on a regular basis, you give team members a chance to get to know each other better and talk freely even when they’re not at work.
3. Foster an environment that encourages free communication
It is hard to convince people that their opinions are valued in a hostile environment or an atmosphere of discord or fear. This is why it’s so important to create an environment where employees feel welcomed, valued, and loved.
Here are three ways to foster this kind of work environment:
- Offsite team building exercises: Consider introducing monthly events where everyone goes offsite to simply relax as a team and know each other personally to create a work-friendly environment.
- Mix up the communication style: People have different communication styles. It is therefore essential to mix up how your organization gives and receives feedback if you want to involve everyone. This may necessitate mixing typical assessments with online anonymous feedback forms, team huddles, one-on-one meetings, and general team meetings.
- Hold lunch meetings: Few things bring people together and make them feel at ease like good food. Holding regular company dinners and lunch meetings for team members gives them the chance to connect and communicate better with one another.
4. Give and receive constructive criticism
A work environment that makes it easy to give and receive constructive criticism helps people learn and communicate better. Feedback may come from the organization’s leaders to the employees or vice versa.
Either way, the criticism should be posed professionally and politely, in a manner that suggests that the aim is not to bring down the other person but to build him or her up.
The sandwich method is effective for communicating criticism constructively. When offering feedback with this method, you start by acknowledging something positive about the situation at hand, make your observation, and end with another compliment.
5. Celebrate wins
Most companies are quick to reprimand employees when something goes wrong, but they take longer to recognize a win or thank a hardworking employee. This kind of workplace culture can negatively affect the organization’s growth, as employees may feel underappreciated.
If you are going to commend poor performance, then you should also commend excellent performance. In fact, you can significantly improve communication when you are lavish with praise and slow to point out failures. [Click to tweet]
This will show that you appreciate the hard work of your team members and value their input.
6. Establish a good rapport with employees
Many companies make the mistake of having high-level meetings where only those in certain positions in the company can participate without making provision for such interactions across various cadres.
It is necessary for leaders to meet from time to time. However, if such meetings are too frequent, others may feel excluded thereby hindering good relationships across various levels in the organization.
This underscores the need for general meetings that allow the organization’s top leaders and other employees to interact. During such sessions, the top management can learn what is working and what is not because they have direct access to the workforce. Additionally, it will enable employees to understand the perspective of the top management on relevant issues.
7. Be mindful of the communication style of employees
To improve communication at work, it is crucial to understand the communication style of your audience. While some people may pay more attention to the words, others may be more perceptive to body language and facial expressions.
Some people feel at ease in face-to-face interactions, while others may only be able to speak freely in online forums. You can only communicate effectively with your team when you understand their communication preferences.
8. Invest in your people
Investing in your workforce yields many benefits. Among other things, it makes for enthusiastic and happily committed employees who are highly productive and do a good job.
Your organization can reap these benefits by sponsoring employees to attend communication training and professional development programs.
A good place to start is entrenching a workplace culture where everyone has learnt to deploy emotional intelligence which provides a foundation for excellent communication and other important skills.
Developing the competence of employees will translate into better business for the organization. They will be able to interact well with internal and external clients, present or pitch ideas clearly and confidently, and explain themselves accurately.
Quality communication is vital to the growth of both employees and the company.
By making a conscious effort to improve communication among your employees, you can attract and retain productive and efficient workers.
You will also save time, money, and other resources, and you won’t have to deal with the problems that come with miscommunication.