According to Karl Sun at Forbes, 42% of people say that different communication styles lead to miscommunication at work.
It’s inevitable that there will be differences in the style of communication of employees in a diverse workplace. The solution is to have a robust communication system that accounts for differences in style and allows people to understand each other anyway.
The boss’s job is to establish the principles of workplace communication that will allow their employees to communicate with each other and with the boss effectively, no matter their personal communication quirks.
Read on to learn 10 ways you can help establish a culture of effective workplace communication!
1. Use Open-Ended Questions
Not everyone has the same social skills or assertiveness. As someone in charge of communication, it’s your job to avoid common communication issues and make sure information is flowing — even from people who might otherwise keep it to themselves.
Open-ended questions, especially asked of less expressive workers, can help make sure there are no hidden issues you don’t know about.
2. Resolve Issues As Quickly As Possible
When tension first arises, it can be relatively easy to resolve. Waiting until later, or much later, to resolve issues can rob a group of unity and synergy.
Make sure to take careful note of any tension in the workplace and resolve it quickly. Feedback for employees delivered early can help shift momentum before it gets rolling the wrong way.
3. Maintain Professionalism At All Times
The most productive relationship is shaped differently than the most casual one. Professionalism was invented to help people to interact in a way that maximizes positive business outcomes.
While it’s important to show warmth and concern for employees and co-workers, it may be best to keep certain personal issues out of the workplace.
4. Leave Politics and Religion at Home
This principle really refers to any kind of controversial topic at all. Unless it is directly relevant to work, it’s best to avoid discussing controversy. The workplace relies completely on the unity of diverse people with diverse views.
For people of differing viewpoints to work as a unified whole, it helps to focus only on professional issues. Differences in politics, religion, or other beliefs can lead to a division between employees. While there are many ways to help your business grow, maintaining a unified workforce is one of the best!
5. Keep Communication as Personal as Possible
Whenever possible, deliver your messages to people face to face. There are several reasons to do so.
First, written messages lack clarity. It’s extremely common for people to misinterpret each others’ email or memos. Body language and vocal tonality go a long way towards helping us understand each other.
Second, even if you send someone a video message, people are less likely to understand what is expected of them compared to you telling them personally. Why? Because only a live interaction allows you to respond to the other person.
In effective communication, it’s not only important for an employee to be able to see a boss’s body language, but the boss needs to see the employee’s body language as well. Communication is a two-way street, and only live interactions allow people to be confident they’re on the same page.
6. Be Precise and Give Examples
Especially when you’re interacting with a person or a group of people for the first time, it’s important to be as precise as possible. Friends who have known each other for many years can often understand each other without needing many words or clarifications to express themselves. The opposite is true of people who have known each other for very little time.
A rule that bosses and employees alike should follow is to be more precise than they think they need to be at first. If everybody is understanding each other, then it’s very simple to relax a little and trust that less precision in communication is necessary.
Until then, say exactly what you expect of people. Use examples to clarify your thinking on topics.
7. Check On Your body Language
We don’t all need to be body language experts. However, you should at least occasionally remember to check on your body language and see if you’re sending any unintended messages.
There are whole books written on body language, but, in general, remember the difference between open and closed posture. Remember to signal attention and engagement with clear eye contact. It can also help to respond to what the other person is saying to show that you’re understanding.
8. Listen Closely
The signals that people send through their body language and tone of voice do little good if you don’t notice them. When someone is talking to you, check for any alterations in their voice or movements of their body. Frequently ask yourself, “What does this mean?”
It’s surprising how often we miss even obvious social cues. Especially with less assertive employees, it’s important to pay close attention to what signals they do send.
9. Reach Out to Employees in Need
Blindspots are the mark of death for many businesses. To find your blindspots, it’s important to always ask yourself, “What problems would I not hear about?”
For example, a problem discovered by a shy employee might not make its way to your ear. If employees are afraid to give bad news, then bad news will not be heard. When you’re onboarding new employees, remember that they may also be hesitant to bring up issues.
10. Announce an Open Door Policy
An official open-door policy can give your employees the confidence to come to you with their insights and concerns. Many of the most important discoveries and solutions are in the minds of employees that aren’t sure if they can share them with you.
Regular team meetings are a great way to create a sort of open-door policy for the whole workplace. People need to know that there’s a place for them to present thoughts to the group. If people are having trouble speaking up, then team-building activities may help people get out of their shells and feel comfortable addressing the group in meetings.
Unlock the Power of Workplace Communication
Bumping up your workplace communication game can lift your whole business higher. It’s impossible to underestimate the power of people who feel free to express their thoughts openly while working on a common project.
We hope you found something helpful in this review of workplace communication principles and techniques. We’re here to help you revolutionize many other aspects of your business, including marketing, sales, and more. Take a look at some of the services we offer and reach out to us today!