8 Strategies for Effective Communication in Your Organization
If you were to ask someone what their top fears are, most, somewhere in the mix, would mention public speaking (or glossophobia). It’s not an unsurprising response, either.
In today’s world, where technology takes dominion over face-to-face communication, effectively speaking with others is something of a dying art. And this can often translate in a breakdown in communication within the workplace.
But I’m here to tell you that good, effective communication is easy using these eight simple strategies.
No.1: Have More Open Meetings
Now, I know what you’re thinking… Meetings are the worst thing to happen. They take away from the work day, and, more often than not, feel like a waste of time.
But they can be so much more than that.
Each Monday, we held a “Monday Sucks” open meeting in the afternoon. These meetings were meant to allow each person to share a bit about what’s on their plate for the workday, vent about potential work frustrations, and share any personal (and appropriate) information that they may be excited about.
Sure, it wasn’t the most productive use of time. But it allowed everyone to have some face time with one another, and show that we are, in fact, interacting with real people on a daily basis, despite being behind a desk, Push To Talk, or simply away from the immediate workspace.
No.2: Have One-on-One Conversations
Whether you’re involved in a large corporation or a small business, one-on-one communication is key when it comes to being successful. It offers the opportunity to open up and nurture a relationship between your employees, coworkers, etc. And if you don’t know how happy your coworkers are, then how well is the business actually going to do in the long run?
It allows you to engage with them and learn more about those who are helping the business, as well as their needs and how to improve working conditions. Having set one-on-one sessions with employees, or speaking frankly with coworkers, could go a long way.
No.3: Have a Sense of Humor
There will be days where things are tense. People will be stressed, and that’s not to say what they may be dealing with outside of work. Someone in the email chain will send a GIF, or on the other end of a push-to-talk will make a comment, that may rub you the wrong way.
Don’t let it. Laugh it off. Chances are they were just trying to ease the tension a bit.
Of course, there is a time and place for everything, so it’s in your control to be able to read your audience before sending that GIF or making that comment if you’re the speaker in this situation.
No.4: Don’t Repeat Yourself
This one comes off as a bit of a double-edged sword. So, let me explain…
Don’t repeat yourself over and over again in the same conversation. This will only serve to make the listener question how the speaker (you) view them, which tends to lead to them forgetting or not listening at all since they become more concerned with your view on them.
Instead, say what you need to say once in a clear, straight-forward fashion. In fact, over-communicate the point you’re trying to explain so that it can be understood and digest. Tell them the ins and the outs, the why, the how, and the desired outcome, if there is one. Tell them everything they need to hear in order to get the job done, and do so in a clear and effective manner.
Just don’t repeat yourself…
No.5: Ask for Feedback
Though this one is rather self-explanatory, I’m going to abide by rule No.4…
Over time, and after assignments, no matter how big or small, ask someone who has been there longer than you, someone who is a mentor of sorts to you, how you’re doing, and where you have room to improve.
In most cases, no one will tell you what you need to work on out of fear of insulting you (or even just speaking to you—glossophobia affects many people, even our bosses). By asking, you open the door to criticism and can begin to improve as needed. Just be sure to keep an open mind, and be respectful when listening to the criticism. Sometimes what we hear may catch us off guard…
No.6: Respect the Time of Others
Whether you’re the one who is arranging a meeting or conversation or the person partaking in the conversation, be sure to be mindful that everyone has someplace else to be, and something else to do.
Arrive early to the meeting, if possible, and bring clear notes outlining what you plan on speaking about, with a clear beginning and a clear end to the point that you may be trying to make.
In the same hand, if you’re unable to make a meeting, let someone involved and in charge know ahead of time so that they are aware.
This shows preparedness, thoughtfulness, and, well… respect. And it all goes a long way.
No.7: Practice Speaking Extemporaneously
If you’re not a public speaker or a lawyer, this may seem like a rather unimportant point.
But, when you think about it, all the conversations are extemporaneous. We speak by pulling ideas off of the top of our heads and sharing them with another, whether it be verbal or not.
In meetings, and in regular conversations, it pays to be able to speak clearly about the ideas you have while remaining mindful of how you share it with another. And by practicing extemporaneous speech, through talking to yourself in the mirror, or just having engaging, thought-provoking conversations with friends and family, you will begin to exercise this ability we all have, and be better off in each interaction.
So, instead mindlessly asking a coworker about the weather, think about what you want to say, and focus on how you’re saying it to get there.
Again, the more you practice, the stronger this “muscle” will become.
Have you been paying attention? I’ll be abiding by No.4. If you don’t know what I mean, start this article over…
I know this seems like a lame strategy, but there is nothing more important than the practice of actively listening to the speaker.
The keyword there is active.
We listen all the time, every day. And we’ve mastered the art of blocking out sounds that we don’t deem important. When we’re tired or distracted (which is often), our ability to listen falters, and at times without us noticing.
So, we must actively listen to the voice on the other side of the phone, the push-to-talk, the speaker, etc. Whatever the median is, we must listen.
I think Doug Larson said it best: “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”
With these eight simple strategies, I think you’ll find it much easier to have effective communication in your organization.