If the mere mention of a concept like workplace communication makes you groan, roll your eyes, and immediately tune out, you’re not alone. In fact, although statistics on this are hard to come by, it’s likely that many firms in the IT space are run by gruff, no-nonsense, exceedingly rational types just like you who tend to avoid discussion of all things wishy-washy and touchy-feely like the plague.
But even though the phrase ‘workplace communication’ may bring to mind awkward group-sharing sessions and silly team-building exercises, experts swear that there’s actually a lot more to it than that. In fact, decades of organizational research have singled out workplace communication as one of those rare make-or-break factors that can actually help determine a firm’s ultimate success or failure.
If you think that improving the flow and conveyance of knowledge and information in your firm will be a complicated process, think again. With just a few simple tweaks and refinements, you can significantly improve the way your team communicates – and in the process, realize substantial gains in operational efficiency. Use these easy-to-implement ideas to help you get started.
Emphasize clarity and specificity. Whether you’re speaking or writing, make a point of getting straight to the point. Omit needless details and try not to ramble. If you’re giving instructions or issuing a directive, take extra care to be accurate and precise.
Remove fear and intimidation from the equation. Effective communication is a two-way street, and if staff members fear being ignored or even chastised when they ask questions or request follow-ups, it’s unlikely that your firm is going to be able to achieve its full potential.
Outlaw destructive criticism. Make it clear that petty, passive-aggressive sniping masquerading as criticism is not going to be tolerated in your organization. Even the harshest feedback can and should be delivered in a positive, supportive, team-centric manner.
Encourage questions and back-and-forth discussion and discourse. Remember the old adage about there being no such thing as a stupid question? Although that may be exaggerating a bit, questions and comments should definitely be encouraged. It also helps to remove communication barriers between employees in different departments or at different levels of the organization.
Cultivate the habit of ongoing communication. When it comes to workplace communication, there’s nothing more destructive than waiting to deliver feedback, praise, criticism, complaints, or anything else that’s significant. If you’ve got something important to convey, don’t put it off until the next meeting or the next annual review. Make daily and weekly, informal and formal communication between staff members a priority in your organization.
Would you say that your team communicates effectively? If so, what have you done to encourage effective communication? If not, what are your biggest communication problems? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.