Communication is essential in every aspect of social life. We communicate with each other on a daily basis, both in private and public relationships. The fluent exchange of information between people allows them to cooperate and create great things together. Due to that reason, effective workplace communication is so valuable and needed. It allows people to grow as professionals and as individuals.
While communication is certainly a shared responsibility and each of the parts involved should make their effort to constantly improve it, the person who sets the tone for the whole group is a team leader. Often the communication skills alone can set a good and a not so good leader apart. It can also be the deciding factor on a company’s way to success.
Let’s explore the arcana of effective workplace communication and ways to achieve it!
What are the characteristics of effective workplace communication?
Once everything in your workplace works like clockwork – you know you are doing it right. However, humans are not gears nor screws. Placing them in the right positions is sometimes not enough to make them work properly. People need a constant exchange of information that leads them and helps them adjust to the situation, in order to fulfill their duties in the best way possible. And that is where communication comes into play.
In a healthy workplace the communication flows easily. Talking is like breathing. It comes naturally. And so does the cooperation between employees. Problems and disagreements are recognized in early stages and discussed in search for solutions. It increases the effectiveness and improves the quality of employees’ work. It also makes work a place where people feel safe and heard.
Now, doesn’t it sound great? But how to achieve it?
Well, there are certain conditions that must be met in order to create a space in which effective communication can grow and bloom. Let’s discuss them together!
7 pillars of effective communication
If you want to build a house, you need to first take care of solid foundations. The same goes for your workplace. In order for it to be full of inspiration and success, it is necessary to build it on a firm ground.
Here are the seven pillars of effective communication that will hold your house together during the worst of storms:
Listening is an art of its own. You can not lead people effectively and healthily without actually listening to them. Some people are natural listeners, some have to learn this skill. Either way it is an essential part of any type of cooperation. If co-workers know that they can speak their mind and be heard, they will more likely share their opinions and help everyone in the environment improve.
Communication at the workplace has a very specific purpose and that is getting certain information across. It is important to make sure that our messages are clear and well understood. Sometimes we tend to rely too much on other people’s conjecture, which often leads to misunderstandings. What we should be doing instead is communicating in a precise, thoughtful way, making sure that the other person understands exactly what we are trying to say.
Listening and speaking are of course two crucial elements of communication. However, they often end up being ineffective if there is a lack of one more variable. Understanding. And to understand the other person truly, not only on a professional, but also on a personal level, we need to approach them with empathy. Taking into account feelings, insecurities and ambitions of our co-workers, we can better realize where their words and actions come from in certain situations, and in result react in a more accurate way. Before professionals, we are all humans, after all. We need to remember about it in our work relationships and treat each other with respect.
Honesty in work relationships is a real treasure that should be valued and constantly improved. It requires a lot of courage, and therefore is often suppressed. But people need honesty, both as employees and as leaders. It lets us see the bigger picture and broaden our perspective. Of course, it can sometimes lead to conflicts. However, if only both parties are willing to grow and learn from each other, these conflicts can be turned into developments. Honesty is the foundation of trust, and we should be able to trust our colleagues if we want to create a great team together.
Along with empathy and honesty goes patience. It is important to recognize that not everyone lives at the same tempo and communicates using the same words as you do. For some people it takes more time to adapt to changes or to make important decisions. Instead of getting frustrated, we should always try to be patient. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t pay off, as there are people who tend to abuse our kindness. But for others your kindness might mean the world. Therefore, we should never underestimate its importance. Patience can gain us respect and strengthen bonds within our team.
This point is for sure familiar to many. A good employee is the flexible one, because they can adapt to the changing circumstances, new tasks, new ways of doing things, new environments, and always give their 100% performance. But let’s not forget that adaptability is just as much valued in terms of work relationships. If we can speak to individuals in their own language, understand their specific needs, behave in a certain way around certain people, we can lead our teammates much more effectively, and react to various occurrences without hesitation.
To communicate effectively within a team we must learn to think outside of our own perspective and past our own experiences. Taking into account both your personal and your team’s good can be sometimes hard to combine. And that’s okay! Just remember – if your team is struggling then each one of your teammates, including yourself, are struggling as well. It is worth taking some time to discuss your common goals and ways in which you can help each other to achieve them. It can also be really helpful to get to know each other on a personal level. The stronger your bond is the more you care about each other and your shared work!
7 C’s of effective communication
Now that we have our foundations, we can start the building and designing process! These seven components will help us create a solid construction:
If communication is complete, it leaves the listener with no doubts or further questions. Everything they need to know is conveyed in a way understandable for the receiver.
In workplace communication short and precise messages are more valued than long paragraphs of complicated and repetitive nature. Getting straight to the point can save a lot of energy on both sides.
Considering other people’s emotions, mindsets and backgrounds is essential for successful communication. To make sure you get your message across, you need to first learn how to speak to particular people in an approachable and respectful manner.
The fact that clarity appears for the second time in this text shows how important it is for high-quality, successful communication. Clarity requires focus. It is much better to convey one precise message at a time, than to shower listener with many different pieces of information, causing confusion.
Rather than speaking in general, it is better to concentrate on specific cases, supported by facts and figures. Solid, reality-based information is less likely to be misunderstood.
Courtesy should be a natural part of every type of healthy communication, not only the workplace one. Showing respect to the person that you are talking to and caring about the overall positive mood of the conversation can sometimes color the success.
If the message is correct in terms of both language and content, it is automatically more reliable and trustworthy. Keeping your words neat and accurate can greatly improve your communication.
And that’s it for today! Use these tips to improve your workplace communication and build within your team a powerful, unbreakable place of respect and understanding, where everyone can feel safe to speak their mind.