Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Without clear and concise conversation, businesses can get off-track. There should be an opportunity for all levels of staff to interact in a meaningful manner. There are several ways you can foster an environment that believes in meaningful communication in the workplace.
Value – Value your employees and ensure that you take the time to have one-on-one conversations with them. Taking the time to discuss things personally can show that you value them. Making eye contact and using their name in conversation also creates a personal bond.
Open Meetings – Have meetings that are mandatory for some and open to everyone. This allows anyone who feels the need to attend to have a voice in the discussions that take place. Being given the right to speak in an open forum, in person, is a successful business strategy that promotes high quality communication. The atmosphere must also be receptive to open discussion, because intense discussions that cause tension will disrupt open communication in your organization.
Provide Training – Incorporate training involving communication for your team members. The ability to communicate effectively is a skill that should be practiced regularly. Learning to articulate your ideas is a skill that takes practice. Appraisals can incorporate this quality to ensure that employees take it seriously.
Encourage Feedback – When discussing new policy or changes; give your staff some time to digest the information and ask for feedback. If you dictate the message and walk away, you convey that you don’t value the opinions of your staff. Discuss the changes and involve your employees in what issues may arise due to proposed changes. Being open to discussion keeps your business alive and well.
Speak Appropriately – Make sure to speak at the level of your audience. When speaking to people outside of your profession, ensure that you speak appropriately. Speaking at a higher level will ensure they do not fully comprehend your message. Speaking at a lower level can be insulting to the intelligence of your audience. Practice explaining your business in simple layman terms.
Visuals – When communicating, try and use scenarios and visuals that can drive the point home. Everyone relates to stories and visual cues that can personalize the message and make it memorable to the audience. Hearing a pitch is important, but partnering it with visual infographics can make the point stronger.
Listen – Communication involves two things, talking and listening. Being a leader means you can talk and effectively direct your staff. It also means you can effectively listen to the concerns and questions your staff may have. Listening is the more critical of the two.
Act – When you tell others what you want done, consider performing that action for them. Showing them an example of what you expect is the best way to get results that you desire. Getting in the trenches and putting in the work is the best way to gain acceptance and respect from those that work for you.