Can you think of an aspect of business that doesn’t require communication? Not likely, because absolutely everything that goes on in the workplace requires communication.
For example, consider these 10 everyday workplace activities that demand accurate, clear, timely communication.
- Providing guidance and instruction for others.
- Communicating within a team.
- Handling problems.
- Setting expectations.
- Sharing bad news.
- Asking and answering questions.
- Getting a message out.
- Building morale.
- Holding others accountable.
- Opening a meeting.
Everything that goes on in the workplace requires communication, no exceptions. The better a manager communicates, the greater the chance of success for that manager as well as his or her employer.
Just get better
Managers don’t need to become world-class communicators, but it is very much in their self-interest to become better at communicating. When a manager focuses on improving his or her communication skills, that manager will become both a more effective leader as well as a more helpful team member. In turn, that will build stronger workplace relationships and the manager will gain new levels of respect along the way.
Look around your own workplace. Chances are you’ll see some combination of the following on any given day.
- Failure to listen.
- Failure to offer clear instruction.
- Failure to get to the point.
- Failure to share important information.
- Failure to check facts.
- Failure to add value to a conversation.
- Failure to seek clarification.
- Failure to communicate points of distinction.
- Failure to suggest a solution or next steps.
- Failure to review before sending a message.
- Failure to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of digital communication.
- Failure to write clear reports.
- Failure to provide complete answers.
- Failure to engage others in a discussion.
Case in point
You have messages you need to get out. You may need to instill urgency in your team, address a performance issue or share some unhappy news. When communicating, always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do they need to know? What is your message to convey that information to them? Get that out immediately. Support it with facts. Reinforce the message along the way whether it’s with just one other person or a group of employees. Come back to the message when answering questions. You do not need to use the same words in every instance, but the thoughts expressed must be consistent. Mixed messages cause big problems. Consistency of communication is paramount.
Ask yourself: When you’re communicating an issue, do you deliver a clear message that you reinforce several times? Remember, everything requires communication. Consistency is essential to being a good communicator.
Davis Young and Scott Juba own Fast Is Good℠ LLC, which offers communication training in 90 minutes or less.
Davis has provided communication training for some of the best known organizations in the country and, in recent years, has taught more than 200 college classes focused on communication.
Scott is an experienced communication trainer. He is a recognized thought leader and consultant on social media and the use of technology to communicate.
Material for this column is based on their book — Avoid Workplace Communication Screw-ups: They’ll Cost Money and Get You Fired! — published by Smart Business.