By Barb Ward
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
A key characteristic in a healthy organizational culture is effective communication. Knowing just what to say, when to say it, and maybe most importantly, how to say it is paramount. And now, when some of us are working in a virtual world, some are in-person, and all are a little uncertain of what’s coming next, your effective communication skills have never been more important. Organizations seeking to provide their workforces with honest, clear, and concise information look to their leaders to communicate effectively. Likewise, workforces who need that honest, clear, and concise information also look to their leaders to provide them with answers.
Whether your organization is just trying to reignite its culture following the pandemic, or you are completely revamping the way you do business, here are some tips to ensure you communicate effectively:
Make sure employees understand the vision. Employees who know and believe in the vision of the organization are emotionally connected to it. They are motivated, productive, engaged, and are committed to the success of the company.
Listen. Dr. Steven R. Covey once said, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” It is impossible to provide the information and answers people seek if you don’t first listen to understand what they are asking.
Be concise. Make sure your message is clear and right to the point. Your audience may lose the meaning of your message if you drone on and on.
Notice body language. Both yours and theirs. First, pay attention to your body language. Does your stance and facial expression offer an open and friendly manner? Also, pay attention to their body language, are they paying attention, nodding their head, or yawning and rolling their eyes?
Communicate consistently. More information Is better. If employees are not given enough information, they may begin to make assumptions. It is easier to provide the information upfront than it is to quell rumors once they begin.
Empathize. Offer understanding for why a change in direction may cause concern. Even when a change makes sense and must happen, offering understanding and respect for where the other person is coming from can help bridge the gap.
Feedback. Giving and receiving feedback appropriately is important. You should offer ways for employees to constructively voice their opinions as well as avenues for leaders to address this feedback. Additionally, it is equally important to offer constructive feedback, as well as praise, for your workforce.
Once you have these skills, you can practice with them, continue building and honing them, and you will never forget how to use these skills… just like riding a bike.
How do your leaders communicate with you?
Do you feel informed? Engaged? Valued?
How could your organization improve communication?