Communication is crucial in workplace relationships, yet it’s consistently one of the most undervalued and underused aspect of an office. Lack of communication can quickly lead to confusion and loss of productivity in the workplace, as well as resent between those who cannot seem to come together to solve their mutual frustrations.
Every employer and employee should be highly skilled in opening up avenues of communication to succeed in the business world; here’s five strategies to help clear up confusion and focus on smart, sustained communication techniques.
- Communicate clearly and consistently at all times, make sure everyone is on the same page and no knowledge is withheld
- Never assume the other party knows what you want from them, always communicate your needs and requirements before a project is started
- Utilize repetition and don’t be afraid to “over-communicate,” as this is a necessary step to forward the message you’re sending
Recognize Your Role in the Issue
Communications issues are often so frustrating because each side doesn’t want to admit fault in the process. This shifting of blame or responsibility usually results in the issue becoming prolonged, dragged out until the two (or more) parties take it upon themselves to come together in mutual understanding. To avoid drawing out communication issues at your work, learn to understand those around you and how they express their questions, concerns, and opinions on work related topics.
Put the first step forward in dealing with the communication block so that the problem never becomes uglier than it currently is. Be open and considerate when trying to solve a communication error; recognize the mistake you or the other person has made and remedy it in a gentle, understanding way. A calm demeanor is always welcome in these circumstances.
Verbalize Knowledge and Problems
The primary source of communication failures within offices is the problem of assumptions. Information and knowledge are being passed around the office perpetually; this constant flow of knowledge usually benefits the office as a whole but unforeseen issues arise when two or more employees are not on the same page.
Stress the importance of employees externalizing the knowledge they have in their head at any given moment; don’t be afraid of redundancies, as assumptions usually lead to far more ingrained problems and impasses.
Make sure everyone is acutely tuned in to their proper priorities and responsibilities, don’t make any information a secret to anyone else. Nobody knows what’s happening in your mind except for you, it’s your responsibility to make sure others have the information you have for any given project.
Keep Things Clear and Concise
Even when assumptions are not being made, communication can still be foggy if not carefully thought through. When communicating within the office, make sure to pass through what you’ve written once, then twice, making absolutely sure no confusion could arise from your message. Oftentimes, the communication problem arises from those sending the messages and not those receiving them.
Although any confusion should be brought to attention immediately, be proactive in snuffing out the potential for your messages to be taken any other way than how you intend for them to be taken. Instructions should be brief and to the point. Don’t beat around the push or connect with the heart of your message too late in the text or conversation.
Confirmations are Crucial
Confirmation is more than hearing the other person say, “yes.” Great communication is the process of making sure whoever you’re talking to thoroughly understands the details and finer points of what you’ve just discussed and will remember those points for more than a few seconds.
Plans should be communicated in such a way to allow for maximum retention or written out in case retention isn’t possible. Write down as many details and steps as possible, make clear the intention, process, and execution of plans so that your employees are always absolutely confident in what they’re working on.
Repetition and Redundancy Can Be Helpful
People are often afraid to “over-communicate,” fearful that others will tune them out if they’re quick to reinforce or emphasize a point. The truth is, most people are busy and easily distracted, meaning an emphasis of your message is really the first step to making people remember the larger points you’re trying to get across. Communication should be repeated every so often so that employees know exactly what to work on at any given moment in the present and well into the future.
Most employees long for an office where coworkers and employers alike are direct, intentional, and clear in their instructions; after all, nagging questions of method and quality can weigh down employees and impede their effectiveness with the task at hand. Ensure your employees never question themselves or their processes by offering detailed instruction and a clear target every time.
Clear communication within the office is difficult, but it is possible. If your employees or coworkers are clear and concise, verbalize their internal knowledge, are quick to take responsibility for any hang-ups, and use necessary repetition, workplace communication will become far more effective in a matter of days.