8 Effective Communication Strategies to Use at Work
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 20, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Communication is how you can build and maintain relationships in the workplace with colleagues, business partners, and customers. It's essential for organizations to implement clear communication strategies for them to run efficiently and successfully. Learning the strategies to increase effective communication at work can help increase team happiness, reduce miscommunications, build trust, and develop team collaboration. In this article, we discuss the benefits of effective communication strategies to use at work, explain the main communication methods, and provide you with some strategies to improve communications.
Benefits of effective communication strategies to use at work
There are various benefits of effective communication strategies to use at work. The primary advantage of developing these strategies is that they can help an organization efficiently achieve communication goals. Employees frequently interact and exchange documents and information with each other, so efficient communication can ensure they remain productive when working together. Communication skills are also valuable because employees want the organization's leadership team to listen to their suggestions, concerns, and feedback.
Senior leaders within an organization also want to ensure that their critical announcements, internal marketing campaigns, news regarding employee benefits, and other vital messages reach everyone in the company. This can lead to a significant increase in productivity and engagement. By fulfilling these various requirements for employees and leadership, an excellent communication strategy can increase the bond among employees and enhance information sharing.
What are the primary methods of communication?
Understanding the main communication methods can help you develop your communication strategies. For example, if your team is working remotely, you can create strategies to help your colleagues exchange information with one another digitally. Here are the main communication methods in the workplace:
Verbal communication is the most common communication type that employees use at work. It's a communication method where employees exchange information verbally. The person with the source of information transmits the details by speaking, and the recipient listens to and interprets the words. Multiple factors, such as tone, clarity of speech, word selection, and speech rate, determine the effectiveness of the verbal communication.
With this method, people use words or symbols to represent their thoughts. An individual communicating the information or message writes it down and the person receiving it reads the details to understand it. A significant benefit of written communication is that it provides a record to access and read at any time. Unlike verbal communication, the person reading the message can't perceive the writer's emotions as easily. This makes the tone of writing vital to ensure readers interpret the information accurately.
With nonverbal communication, people transmit information using different postures, gestures, and facial expressions. They can convey information using various visual cues, such as eye contact and body language, and it can be unintentional. For example, nodding when someone is speaking can show that you're listening and understand what they're communicating.
Nonverbal communication is one of many tools that can help you make a good impression in interviews and in your professional life. However, candidate assessments should be based on skills and qualifications, and workplaces should strive to be inclusive and understanding of individual differences in communication styles.
Visual communication uses drawings, signs, graphics, illustrations, and pictures to transmit information. Choosing the correct visual elements can make it easier for people to interpret the information. Written and verbal communication can use visual elements to help make the information easy to understand. One common way employees can use visual communication with written and verbal communication is during a team meeting. For example, they may use it to convey stages of a project map, or share an infographic to simplify financial data over a set period.
8 strategies to improve effective communication
Creating effective communication strategies to use at work is an ongoing exercise in collaboration. It requires prioritization and dedication from leadership. It also requires regular employee check-ins with managers throughout an organization. Here are some strategies that can help improve communication in an organization:
1. Assess current communication strategies
This is the time to identify what's working and what's not. There's likely a communication strategy that the company is already implementing, so it's beneficial to conduct some research. Some areas to address immediately when developing new communication strategies include:
The current strategy's performance: This is the time to analyze the current strategy's effectiveness. Identify the strategy's strengths and weaknesses, who develops and executes it, and whom you can add to the process to improve it.
Where you want to be: Identify the goals for a new communication strategy. Discovering your audience, either a specific department or the entire organization, can help you develop your strategy.
How to get there: Discover what may help you in achieving your goals. Consider the resources, budget, and tools that you might need.
Who's involved: This is the time to discover if your current team is too small or if there are too many people involved. Assessing the current strategy can show where you can add to or improve on your own communication method.
2. Understand leadership's role
Effective communication strategies start with the organization's leadership. An organization's leadership team can set the tone for the rest of the employees to follow. Leaders with excellent communication skills can empower the rest of their teams. It's crucial for leaders to understand that effective employee communication is a significant part of their role.
3. Create an open environment
An excellent strategy to increase effective communication in the workplace is to make it an integral part of the company's culture. When you implement an open communication environment, your team may not worry about speaking up and taking responsibility when mistakes happen. They can also suggest creative ideas and be honest regarding what's working and what isn't. You can create an open communication environment by setting the expectation that there are no bad ideas or wrong questions. You can also encourage immediate feedback, even when onboarding new employees.
4. Celebrate achievements
Regardless of their position, everyone in an organization appreciates recognition for their work. Managers are responsible for occasionally congratulating employees and establishing a foundation for their team to give positive feedback and constructive criticism. When telling an employee they did a good job on a specific project or task, you're also improving morale among the rest of the team and reinforcing positive behaviour. Ensure to share positive reinforcement in formal and informal ways. For example, you can tell them they're doing an excellent job during a quarterly review or during a team meeting.
5. Talk face-to-face when possible
The most common and easiest way to avoid communication is to talk to an individual face-to-face. If a team works remotely, speaking during a video conference also works. Face-to-face communication is essential if you know a conversation is going to be long or complex. It's easier to communicate your tone when your team member can see your body language and facial expressions. Communicating over the phone can also work. It can allow you to hear your colleagues' voices and tones.
6. Settle conflicts with diplomacy
If you feel someone doesn't understand what you're saying, you can speak with them about it as soon as possible. This can prevent unnecessary loss of productivity or resentment. To prevent minor misunderstandings from becoming a significant issue, be sure to take care of them immediately. Respond with an open mind when resolving a conflict and avoid personal attacks. Try asking questions, and listen carefully to the responses to help you understand the other person's perspective. This can help you develop a solution that everyone can accept.
7. Incorporate humour
Communication within an organization may involve conveying serious or intense information. Whether you're setting goals or discussing a business issue, laughing and making a joke might make the discussion more comfortable. Softening serious interactions can affect how team members interpret information and how they respond to it. Adding some humour to communication can be an essential skill that can help defuse challenging situations and encourage those who are participating in the conversation to relax. The next time you communicate information to colleagues, you can try to make them laugh. This can also help with relationship building at work.
8. Implement communication consistency
It's essential for internal or external communication, whether verbal or written, to fit the company's brand and culture. It's also important for communication to have a consistent voice to make the message clear and to unify the teams. This voice can help communicate a positive spirit and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
Having a set of guidelines, formats, and best practices can benefit everyone when creating content. You can also develop a communication style guide to share with everyone in the company. You can then ensure the communication department and other senior managers or contributors understand how to use the instructions for future messaging.
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