Workplaces are intricate and complex networks of peer-to-peer interaction. Professionals talk to and exchange with other people in the workplace all the time. But that’s not to say that all our communication is optimal. Many times, employees can feel confused at work because of a lack of proper communication. And the other times that your employees struggle, they feel they don’t have the avenue to communicate properly. That’s why companies need to focus on improving workplace communication.
Why Better Communication Should be Prioritized
A study shows that 86% of employees cite poor communication as a factor in workplace failure. Why is workplace communication crucial for success? For one, there are many benefits to having effective communication at work. Some of those advantages include:
- Lesser communication when receiving instructions, resulting in more efficient work;
- Lesser to no work politics;
- More confidence in implementing plans and projects;
- More productivity;
- More clarity on what the objectives and goals are;
- Better team dynamics;
- Happier staff; and
- More engaged teams.
So what happens when we don’t improve workplace communication? Your company can start to run into problems such as:
- Confusion and ambiguity on deliverables;
- More errors at work;
- A lack of support structures;
- More employee frustration;
- Wasted time and energy on miscommunication;
- Disappointed clients; and
- Higher staff turnover.
All this to say, the importance of communication tools and practices cannot be denied. So how then do we improve workplace communication?
9 Tips to Better Communicate in the Workplace
There’s a silver lining if you’re struggling with poor workplace communication. You can take steps to make communication more effective in your team. Here are nine tips and some tool recommendations for you to achieve that.
1. Present instead of informing
If you’ve ever pitched a project or reported to a disengaged team, then there’s one thing you should do first. That’s to make your presentations more engaging. The goal of cascading information down the organization chart isn’t just to give information. You need to get buy-in and get people excited about a project.
When you talk about your company’s values, plans, ideas, new products, and any other initiative, the first people you should convince are your team members. During brainstorming meetings and team cascades, try using presentation visual aid to create a compelling presentation. Don’t just make announcements. Cast the vision on why your new efforts, products, or services matter and how they will improve your clients’ or your employees’ lives.
The best tool you can use for creating presentations for Apple Keynote, Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint with templates is SketchBubble.
2. Incorporate a communications tool
On the more tactical route, your team should start using communications tools. The misconception is that these tools only apply to remote teams. But nowadays, all teams can benefit from workplace communications tools like chat apps, task management software, human resource information systems, and so on.
When your teams have these tools, they can interact with each other more efficiently. There’s also a paper trail of communication, which makes it easier to track back on decisions. If you want to try using communication tools, check out this list of best communication software today.
3. Set up project and task management systems
A project management system is one of the more popular communication tools in the workplace. Project management software allows your managers to monitor team deliverables and progress better. You have all your team’s efforts, projects, and output in one virtual location.
If you’re looking for a good project management tool, try checking out various options. Some good options include software like Wrike, monday.com, Basecamp, Notion, Trello, Asana, and many more.
4. Avoid messaging each other on non-official chat apps
Once you’ve decided on your official tools for workplace communication, try to avoid using other tools. For instance, some teams might choose a work chat tool like Slack but still send each other messages on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Telegram. While it might seem like a great short-term solution to send messages across various channels to over communicate with your team members, it can create confusion. This practice can also be an invasion of work boundaries for some employees as they don’t like to be contacted in non-official work channels.
Moreover, having conversations or sending files to one another in multiple communication channels will make it hard to locate them in the future. It’s much easier to send instructions, ideas, files, documents, and other communication through one channel.
5. Set up regular cadence meetings
Not all meetings are effective, but they can be helpful when done well and in a consistent rhythm. The average worker spends up to 3 hours a week in meetings. Lessening meeting time should be a goal for any organization, but that also takes setting up regular cadences for high-intent meetings.
Here are some tips for having meetings that will help improve workplace communication without eating up too much time:
- Don’t just have a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. When there’s nothing to discuss, you can cancel the meeting.
- Be selective about who attends a meeting. When someone is not involved in the agenda, there’s no need to invite them.
- Have a clear agenda before starting the meeting.
- Select a time of the week to have recurring meetings, and try to follow the schedule as religiously as possible.
- Safeguard conversations by parking any ideas that might not be in line with the set agenda.
6. Document important notes
As a part of your list of communication tools, you should have software to document action plans, meeting agendas, minutes, processes, and so forth. There’s power in writing down things that matter. That applies to your personal and professional lives.
Use a cloud-based documentation tool that anyone can access. But also be sure only to provide access to authorized personnel. Some good ideas for documentation tools include:
- Google Docs,
7. Clarify when needed
When communicating with ©, there’s a high chance that there will be confusion on certain exchanges. Maybe a co-worker asked you to create a report, but you weren’t sure what the content was supposed to be. Or maybe a manager gave you a budget for marketing and advertising campaigns, but they didn’t specify what platforms you should use and what the objectives of the campaign are.
When in doubt, clarify, clarify, and clarify. Try not to encourage a culture that shoots down people who ask too many questions. And teach your managers and employees to give instructions and allow space for clarification and questions.
8. Overcommunicate values, goals and objectives
Some of the most crucial things that leaders should communicate to their teams but don’t are values, goals, and objectives. 64% of companies say that communicating strategies, goals, and values is crucial to the business.
Use meetings to overcommunicate short to mid-term goals. Set team planning to make strategic decisions. Have a company announcement board on your human resource information system that clarifies team values and behavior, and reward those that exemplify them best.
The Most Important Communication Practice
Above all the tips provided, remember that the most important communication practice isn’t learning to talk better. It’s also learning how to listen better. Employees are five times more likely to succeed when they feel heard at work. So teach your teams to listen to one another and build a culture of listening before reacting. When you do that, your team will be able to communicate more effectively.