The workplace is usually full of mundane conversations that are forgotten as soon as they are finished. Rarely do you have an inspiring, motivating or particularly beneficial conversation with someone at work. That’s because communication varies depending on the people you talk to and the circumstances of the moment. People in the workplace communicate every day but the quality of their communication will be what makes a difference when facing challenges or making a big decision.
Follow these five steps to learn how to improve communication in the office.
Create a welcoming space
An office that welcomes open communication will encourage employees to speak up and share ideas. As a leader in the workplace, you should constantly try to boost everyone’s spirits. It should be clear that you are an approachable person in any circumstance. You also need to set expectations. Encourage employees to eat together during lunch or talk to one another before meetings. People are more likely to feel comfortable around those who they have built authentic relationships with.
Trust is an important social skill for the workplace. People tend to share ideas and are more straightforward with people they trust. Having people in the office known for being level-headed and honest encourages all of your employees to work well with others to identify solutions to challenges. Expressing genuine interest and empathizing with others results in improved communication in the workplace and increased trust and respect among coworkers.
Improve Upon Weaknesses
Asking for anonymous feedback allows employees to reflect on how they feel the company as a whole and their role in it. Opening yourself to criticism shows employees that you genuinely care about the feedback they offer and any concerns they might have. Feedback includes everything from end-of-year evaluations to ranking a holiday party to asking for thoughts regarding company news.
Weaknesses can arise from ineffective communication. Today, online distractions have the potential to take over the office. Nowadays, people walk into a room, find a seat and immediately pull out their phone. Other coworkers walk in and follow suit because it seems like the natural thing to do. This valuable time could instead be used to start small talk, establish relationships and make more personal connections in the office.
Even though we have the ability to connect to almost anyone we are interested in talking to, it’s not always necessary. Sometimes the back and forth of a chat becomes too complicated. Communicating in person is often much easier. Take email for example. Email allows workers to easily communicate with individuals at other companies anywhere in the world. However, email lacks one essential aspect necessary for effective communication — visual cues. Nonverbal communication can add context to someone’s words beyond what’s on the screen or a few emojis. It’s impossible to detect these nonverbal cues when you are not interacting directly with a person. Technology certainly has its perks, but it is becoming increasingly important to be cautious of the amount of time we spend interacting digitally in comparison to real-life communication.
Establish a Collaborative Atmosphere
Being open-minded can improve workplace communication and encourage innovation. When individuals willingly share ideas, they are more open to feedback. This feedback powers effective communication and can promote coworker bonding.
Try to inspire someone daily. As a team leader, your responsibilities include educating all of your employees and establishing an inspiring and creative atmosphere. Leading by example gives employees an opportunity to identify what leadership aspects they should mimic when leading their own team.
Make a point of hearing everyone’s suggestions. Even if workers aren’t happy with an end result, they will feel secure in knowing that they were heard and their idea was at least considered. When struggling to decide how to improve communication skills at work, start with being sincere in every action
Set up 1:1 Conversations
Not everyone loves the spotlight. Make sure your employees know that each and every one of them has a voice to share with the office. Checking in with employees, whether formally or casually, may help them to communicate better at work. When employees feel appreciated and valued as an individual in a corporate setting, we see more people willing to tackle bigger projects.
Make sure that 1-on-1 meetings happen in person or on a video call. You want your employee to feel comfortable talking to you without the pressure of someone else overhearing. Employees are more likely to feel like they are working towards the same common goal as their boss and coworkers if regular and intimate communication occurs. Individual conversations will increase respect in the workplace as well. A simple invitation from the boss for an afternoon coffee can establish mutual respect and appreciation on top of the valuable you can get in a private setting.
Using a social media app one day, email the next, and a written note the next to communicate an idea to employees creates unnecessary confusion. Pick a communication platform for all general information or promotional material and stick to it. Check out some office management tools and software that help establish effective modes of communication. When a company remains consistent, employees feel confident about where to go for assistance or who to reach out to for a conversation.
Improvements in communication may not be noticeable at first, but if you stay consistent in your attempts to improve collaboration and communication, the benefits will eventually come.