5 Ways to Improve Communication At Work

Communicating effectively might seem like an easy task because we are communicating all the time. We communicate at home, at the office, when we’re out with friends, but do you ever think about how effective you really are when doing so? Having a well-established communication system is difficult for any business; however, it is key to success in all relationships, including those in the workplace. We'll cover some of the ways you can improve communication at work, since it is crucial to improve employee retention and engagement, among other things. Effective communication and other similar social competency skills are essential to a thriving workplace.

Everyone communicates differently in this ever-changing digital world, which causes all types of problems. Communication is more effective if there is bonding and rapport, trust developed between the communicating parties. Effectiveness can also be influenced by how well we actively hear what the person is saying and then repeating or paraphrase that message back to the giver for understanding and clarity. In addition, we receive and interpret information differently. Some of us are more effective visual leaners, while others are auditory and/or physical or kinesthetic. So, as you can see, effective communication is not easily attained but it sure is a critical issue for all of us to be more effective at home, at work and in any dyadic interaction.

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A Better Leader has put together a general list of the top 5 ways to improve communication at work:

1. Avoid Verbal Orders

We live in a society where writing information down is key. In order to alleviate this problem, anything that is of importance and needs to be remembered, should be written down. In doing so, remembering and understanding them will be much easier. Of course there will be questions, but those questions will also help clarify what is expected.

2. Enhance Direct Communication

Today, digital communication is king. We all know that it is easier to relay messages via text message, Facebook, Instagram, even a phone call than to approach certain people in person. However, the fact of the matter is this harms the effectiveness of communication, especially at the office.

Technology does wonders for speed, but we lose our intuition to understand body language and facial expressions because of the way we depend on technology. Studies prove that 93% of effective communication is through body language and tonality, only 7% are the words. The best remedy for this is to talk to co-works in person, whenever possible. Make it a priority to walk across the office or even stop by another branch to increase your communication effectiveness. Implement 360-degree listening when communicating face-to-face and you'll see enormous improvements in your entire communication strategy.

3. Implement Team Building Activities

We can improve direct communication at the office by doing some team building activities. These activities increase fun at the workplace and can improve employee engagement. With team building activities, your employees will not only be having fun and enjoying themselves, but they will also be improving their methods of communication, which will also boost employee performance.

4. Have a Well-Established Plan for Solving Office Quarrels

Avoiding office fights can be a pie-in-the-sky goal, which is why every office should have a set plan for handling them. In order for this to be realistic, employees need to know that they can talk to upper management about simple issues. Some small issues will blow over but others may turn into major conflicts if they are not handled in a timely manner, which is why managers need to have an open door communication policy with their employees for conflict resolution.

5. Understand and Respect Diversity Differences

As international and global business strengthens around the world, so does diversity in the workplace. Therefore, there is a great chance that many of your colleges are from different parts of the world. See point #1 indicating that people define good communication differently, which is even more prominent when different cultures are involved. The presence of different cultures means that certain words, gestures, and ways of non-verbal communication are interpreted differently.

For example, in Australia, the peace sign is the equivalent to the middle finger. Improved communication at the office is possible with just a set plan and a little bit of thought!

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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