5 Simple Steps for Better Communication

Posted by April

May 20, 2013 5:11:00 PM

“If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.”

workplace communication

Being able to communicate effectively in the workplace is vital to the success of any business. Forbes magazine produced an article “Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader.” The list included qualities that you would expect from a leader such as honesty, confidence, commitment, and the ability to delegate. The third quality listed was communication. Lack of proper communication can cause confusion and conflict. Being unable to verbally communicate to your colleagues about a task you need help with could damage the company or your reputation. Whatever the case may be, it is important to hone your communication skills so you can be more productive and successful at your job. “If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/)

5 simple rules of communication:

1. Be clear and concise: You want to make sure that the person listening understands all aspects of your message. A great manager can present their ideas in the least cumbersome way and lead a team to ensure goals are met.

2. Give feedback regularly: This not only boosts employee morale because their work is not going unnoticed, but it also increases productivity because the manager is able to communicate the specific task they completed, how the employee did it, and why it is important or how it has helped their company. When giving feedback use the following technique: “Beth, the way you presented the project in the meeting was very helpful to the rest of the team because it helped us to understand the goal of the project better. Now we can work more efficiently and it saves us time and the company money. Well done!” This explains to Beth the task she completed, how she did it, and why it was important. You want to make sure that you always include those three things when giving feedback.

3. Keep an open line of communication: Show empathy. When they come to you with a problem respond first with “I realize…” or “I understand…” You want employees to feel comfortable approaching you; you don’t want them to be fearful of asking questions. Being open with employees will create an environment rich in communication.

4. Questions can only help: As a manager you should always welcome and encourage questions. If employees are unsure of the assignment or need clarification, train them to ask open-ended questions so you can dive deeper into the purpose of the project and what exactly your task is. An example of an open-ended question would be “What are the benefits of this project to the company?”

5. Actively listen: Don’t interrupt, just listen! This can be hard for some people because it is natural to chime in when a person speaks. Resisting this urge and listening to everything the person has to say allows you to absorb all of the information at once to understand what is being asked of you.

Communication Activity

Try the following activity with your colleagues and see how well you and they communicate. One person will have a piece of paper with a simple picture drawn on it. Don’t let the other person see the picture then instruct the other person what to draw. The object is not to say “draw a house” or “draw a face,” you want to instruct the person drawing by using instructions like “draw a vertical line on the left and right side of the page.” When you have completely finished communicating what the image looks like, reveal both images and examine their similarities. This helps you to understand the value of communicating as plainly and clearly as possible.

In order to have a successful workplace, it starts with great communication. Leaders should be equipped to communicate effectively with their team members through such things like feedback and offering time to ask questions. At the same time, team members should ensure they understand the goal completely through listening and open-ended questions. With these qualities, your workplace can be much more successful.

Topics: Leadership