Buzz-buzz.Buzz-buzz. Your phone repeatedly vibrates in the past hour and a half.
Your inbox is full of messages, all marked URGENT. Your team members keep chasing you for the proposal that was supposed due yesterday.
You’re missing deadlines. Email threads are long and messy. You have no idea who will be working on what.
The projects are lagging and not executed properly. Your files are allover the place and missing some of them.
Everything is delayed; you haven’t been able to get answers from the project management team.
… and the list goes on.
Certainly, this doesn’t seem like there is effective communication is in place. Is ineffective communication turning out to be a major business hurdle for you? Then it's time to organise your team communication and bring everything together!
1. Listen, and really listen attentively
No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in his two cents and does not listen to the other person.
Do not just sit back, barely awake, and let the speaker’s words wash over you. If you’re not a good listener, you can barely understand what you’re being asked to do.
Pay close attention to what the other person says. Anyone who listens well tends to work better and more productively. The more you listen well, the clearer you receive the information to respond appropriately.
2. Be clear and concise
No one has time for a long speech. Everyone has a lot on their plate, so respect everyone’s time and don’t beat around the bush.
Try to get your message across in as few words as possible. Keep it short and sweet, whether you are speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email.
However, you don’t want to talk too much or too little. Good communication means just saying enough. Think carefully about what you want to say before you say it. This will help avoid confusion or talking excessively.
3. Get a team communication app
The workplace will be a major buzzkill when you lack communication. Imagine how time-consuming it is to keep track of long email threads from team members, clients, and managers.
Knowing where to communicate is half the battle. Team collaboration apps such as Slack, Asana, Gmail, or Microsoft Teams are wonderful tools for better productivity and communication.
Your company may use several different tools for communication. So, it’s best to follow the communication guidelines and messaging about the right things in the right places.
4. If possible, speak face-to-face
Definitely the most tried-and-true way to avoid miscommunication. Talking face-to-face is particularly necessary if you know the conversation is going to be hard.
For example, serious conversations (layoffs, changes in salary, resignations)are almost always best done in person.
Tone can be difficult to communicate through writing ideally, you want your team members to be able to see your facial expressions and body language. If your team is virtual, speaking through video conferencing also works.
5. Encourage two-way communication
When the conversation turns into a one-way dialogue, it often backfires.There is no opportunity for the other person to present their concerns and feedback.
Don’t focus too much on what you’re going to say next. You don’t want to risk missing key information or even repeating what the other person just said.
As much as listening is necessary, you should listen to understand. Digest that particular information first. If you do think of something to say, jot it down instead of trying to remember the thing you want to say next.
6. Ask questions
There is no such thing as asking stupid questions. If there is something you are still unsure about and need to double confirm, then you should ask.
It shows that you were listening, and confirms that you understood the other person. You can also ask to gather more information to understand the conversation. Always carry a notebook with you to write down the things you need to know.
If you need to ask questions, make sure they relate specifically to what is being said. Don’t change the subject by asking questions about a totally different topic.
“Communication -- the human connection -- is the key to personal and career success.” - Paul J. Meyer, a pioneer in the personal development industry
Start cultivating effective communication in the workplace
Communication isn’t just about how well you work with others. It’s about building relationships, minimising errors, and ultimately, working as productively as possible.
When done properly, you have a better understanding of your role and expectations to work effectively and perform better at work.