Communication in any space is vitally important, but it is extremely important in the workplace. However, with so many different types of people, personalities, levels of education / understanding and accents - communication can be difficult and misunderstandings can arise.
Workplaces can be hectic, stressful and overwhelming. Now add direction from three people, an unimaginable number of things to complete, new hires to train and above all, communicating or delegating tasks to your colleagues, the workplace is a space places where messages area prime territory for miscommunication.
How you communicate in the workplace varies depending on the type of job responsibilities or atmosphere you’re in. Do you have authority over certain other staff members? Does your job require you to communicate verbally or electronically? – Overall, it is important to realize that you only have authority in. How successfully you communicate your wants needs and actions.
Communication is vital in any workplace and here are some of the essential tools for great communication in the workplace:
1. Give clear instructions
This cannot be any clearer. You save time in the long run by taking time to give even simple instructions clearly and make sure they are understood. Leave a pause for people to ask questions - or invite them to do so. It’s much better if a task is understood from the start rather than you having to go back and do work again because it was done wrongly the first time.
2. Be constructive, not critical
You must remember, not everyone thinks the same way you do. Everyone has their own methodology of how they process instructions and how they execute their work. Supervisors and bosses can all too often become critical, remember it’s not personal its business. Ensure that you are offering the right questions to inspire your employees and to help them to think through solutions.
3. Let people know the ‘bigger picture’
What are you all aiming for? People will work harder and smarter if they know how the work they’re doing contributes to an end product.
4. Communicate messages effectively
Workplaces often have many people working there. Messages need to be passed on efficiently through whichever medium - face-face, telephone, e-mail etc.
If you have a message to pass on, make sure you do it accurately, to the right person - and in a timely manner. If the message is long – call a meeting. Anything longer than 3 paragraphs needs to be a meeting. People tend to skim through emails while at work. Their minds are busy with 100’s of other things going on. A meeting is a great way to break away from the computer and have human interaction. It also is a great way to seek clarity on things that can be misconstrued through email. As a friendly reminder, please keep your meetings timely, as people do have other work to attend to.
5. Give people the freedom to organize at least some their work
If people are clear about what needs to be done, they can understand and set a list of priorities for their own work. This keeps people motivated to work hard, but also, it makes them work more efficiently as they know what must be done and can switch between tasks accordingly. There’s no need for them to stop work having hit a snag when they can get on with another project. – Again be clear and state what is priority so they are clear on that as well.
6. Make expectations clear
End a conversation with stating when you would like this project or assignment done. This gives the other person a chance to speak up and inform you if there is a conflict of interest in their schedule. This is an opportunity for you both to work out a desired deadline with little to no stress.
7. Treat people like individuals
Everyone has different needs and different personalities. Different people will all react well to slightly different approaches. It’s good if you can find out what approaches work well for your colleagues and employees; that way, you will get the most out of each interaction and everyone will be happier. It’s advised to ask at the start of weekly / monthly meetings how your employees like to receive communications. Are quick phone calls, emails, schedule an invite or meetings preferred. Or state how your office runs in terms of receiving and dealing out communications, this way everyone is clear.
It all comes down to communication skills - or lack of them. It’s completely your responsibility for making yourself understood - no matter how many times you must try - and it’s the other person’s responsibility to let you know every time they don’t understand something: communication in the workplace relies upon it.