It is important that skillful communication is made a priority in the workplace whether it is a small family run business or a large corporate organisation. Effective communication in the workplace is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted which can lead to a demoralized workforce and decreased productivity. An engaged workforce needs to not only work efficiently but also communicate strategically. Good communication is an essential element in any working relationship or situation and is a skill everybody can develop effectively.
Communication in the workplace can be challenging especially if business owners or management are used to working from a passive or aggressive style of communication rather than from an assertive, respectful and inclusive way of communicating. Communication barriers are like roadblocks preventing people getting to their desired destination in a straightforward manner. When communication breaks down it is evident that energy in the workplace becomes consumed by what other people are doing or not doing. They begin to place blame on others, therefore not taking responsibility for their own approach to communication and their role in the undesired outcome. If these roadblocks are dismantled positive changes can occur creating a win-win situation for employees, employers and customers.
There are huge benefits to effective communicating in the workplace. It can lead to your organisation building strong working relationships not only with your employees but also with your customers. It will assist in meetings running more efficiently. It will lead to good negotiating skills. It creates more positive interactions and in general a more positive atmosphere reducing stress levels and increasing morale in the workplace.
Tips To Improve Communication in the Workplace
- Awareness: Become aware of what you are doing and saying and the impact your interactions have on others. Pay attention to the words and phrases you use as well as the tone and pace of your conversations. Although impossible to eliminate it will decrease the possibilities of misunderstandings and misinterpretations occurring.
- Reflect: How are you contributing positively or negatively to interactions in the workplace? Rather than jumping to blame the other person reflect on how you contribute to communication and atmosphere in the workplace.
- Have an Open Mind: Can you jump to judging what people say and do? Do you stereotype people or put people down? Think before you speak. Some things we are better off keeping to ourselves. Be open to other people. You do not have to like your work colleagues however it is important to respect them.
- Listen: This may seem obvious but listening is a skill that many people struggle with. Mindful listening is the art of active listening, listening without judgment and in the moment rather than preparing what you are going to say next.
- Poor Timing: Sometimes anxiety or stress can impact on our communication style. If you are under stress and you want to communicate something important take a deep breath, check if it is the correct timing and proceed when you feel ready. Although not always possible, give yourself appropriate time.
- Medium of Communication: Sometimes it is better to communicate something face to face or over the phone than by email. Take a moment to reflect on the medium when communicating something important especially if giving feedback to staff or communicating on something that impacts them personally. This can give people an opportunity to converse in a more meaningful dialogue.
- No Communication: Communication is the corner stone to an effective workplace. If your style has been an avoidant style of saying nothing then it may be time to break this pattern. In the long run communicating with your colleagues will reduce people jumping to their own conclusions.
Effective communication is a skill you can learn. If you or your organisation would like to learn more effective communication skills contact Smart Psychology (www.smartpsychology.ie)