Effective communication is essential to every relationship–be it business, work, or home/family–and is essential for continued success. If you’ve worked with other people in any capacity, chances are you have experienced both good and bad communication.
The benefits of good communication are endless, including the ability to get more done in less time as well as cultivating a culture of respect. On the other hand, a lack of communication (or poor communication) leads to stress, frustration, misunderstandings, disrespect, and it impacts the company’s bottom line.
Here are four ways we can improve communication in the workplace:
Tone of voice.
You’ve heard, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” Your tone of voice communicates either respect or disrespect. It communicates confidence or fear. Sometimes we don’t even realize the way we speak to others. It’s vital to pay attention to how you speak and how you respond to others.
Much of our communication is nonverbal. Crossed arms, not smiling, or not looking a the person speaking to you says that you aren’t interested in what they have to say. Whereas if you are pleasant, sitting forward, and involved, you are promoting good communication. The other person is more receptive, and it pulls you into the conversation.
Don’t assume you understand exactly what someone means. The phrase, “So what I hear you saying is…” will help you make sure you understand what the other person is saying. It causes you to listen carefully. If you don’t understand something, simply say, “Can you clarify that for me?” or “What do you mean by that?”
Follow up is key and can be as simple as sending a short email after a conversation. It includes offering updates on your progress with assignments and/or projects. When you follow up with your boss, managers, and co-workers, it keeps everyone in the loop and informed. When the lines of communication are open within a team, productivity soars and it becomes a harmoneous work environment.