You may have heard that courtesy is the best social lubricant anywhere in the world. Similarly, in business, good communication is needed to make everything else possible, to make the wheels of business turn.
How can you get anything done if managers and employees don’t understand each other? If something in your team is breaking down, the first place to look is at your team communication.
The following four communication methods are a great place to start; however, simply adopting group texting or better listening isn’t the whole story. For the best possible outcome, we advise you to strike a powerful and consistent balance between all four tips outlined below.
1. Create a Safe Atmosphere for Comfortable Communication
Create a place where employees feel comfortable speaking their minds. That means that managers are receptive to subordinates’ suggestions and lower-level employees are respectful toward managers — and each other. It’s not enough for everyone to blurt out just anything he or she is thinking. Set a good example of communicating points that are helpful to the whole team and that are courteous.
Good communication also applies to your tone of voice. Managers need to use a kind, professional, and sometimes humorous tone of voice in order to encourage their employees to speak up.
Employees will get a better hearing from managers if they also put courtesy into their vocal tones and facial expressions.
2. Practice World-Class Listening
Listening well is one of the easiest ways to make others feel empowered, valuable, and satisfied in the workplace. Plus, you can reduce business mistakes by really exploring what another person is saying, asking clarifying questions and giving feedback to make sure you understand.
Body language is important in listening. Sit up straight to show that someone else’s message is worthy of respect. Give appropriate eye contact, smiles, and nods.
Be ready to listen when you finish speaking, rather than dismissing your employees’ opinions on the matter that was just communicated. Expect a response and practice good listening skills.
3. Use Communication Technology
You can drastically improve company-wide communication by employing efficient communication technology.
Email is a great example. We can all practice writing to others in more respectful and courteous ways. You might even need to read your own email out loud to see if it comes across as mean or disrespectful.
Also, try to keep most emails down to just a few sentences long. If you have to edit in order to make your message more concise, it’ll be worth it. This effort will show that you respect your coworkers’ time and will ensure that they see the most important details in your email.
Finding a system to send group texts can save time also. Most people today carry a cell phone, so group texts will reach your coworkers wherever they are, even when they’re not online. Use group texts to send important project updates, changes in scheduling, and so on.
4. Communicate More Clearly
Make sure that your communication is as clear as possible for everyone involved. Cut out jargon or needlessly long words when shorter, more universal words will suffice. Don’t try to sound smart; try to serve others with clear communication.
You can also use numbers to make your communication more clear and easily skimmable. Managers shouldn’t ask employees just to “work harder” or “provide better customer service.” Instead, use specific numbers — such as a customer engagement score — that employees can work toward.
Remember, the way to have consistently better workplace communication is to turn each communication tip into a habit. Start with one, build it until you master it, spread it throughout your team, then repeat.