Communication, communication, communication. It’s the life force behind great relationships and yes, that applies to workplace relationships too. Honest, open and frequent communication is how work gets done with efficiency and accuracy whilst promoting a healthy workplace culture.
When we say workplace communication, we are referring to:
- Floor walks
- Team meetings
- 1:1 meetings
- Feedback sessions
- Collaborative sessions
- Nonverbal communication
- Communicating about a project’s status or progress
- Receiving information
How Do We Communicate?
We are always communicating, whether we know it or not. Nonverbal communication is just as critical to a conversation as verbal communication and is a more accurate representation of how an individual is feeling. The way we communicate can be broken down into three categories.
- Body Language
- Tone and Pace
Our words only account for 7% of the meaning of communication. 55% of our communication is through body language, which is all nonverbal and what we observe. Tone and pace make up the last 38% and is how you say something and the speed at which you say it. So, you see, there is a lot more to a conversation and effective communication than just word choice.
What are the benefits of open workplace communication?
While there are many, there a few key outcomes to point out, that we have even noticed directly in our own team. Clear and effective communication:
- Boosts employee engagement and their sense of belonging
- Promotes team buy-in
- Increases productivity and output
- Builds a healthy organisational culture and workplace
- Reduces conflict and tension
- Higher employee retention rate
Keeping all of this in mind, what are the elements of great communication?
There’s no point communicating if you’re not clear on your message. First determine what you want to say, why you want to say it and how you’re going to say it. You will also need to understand what actions or outcomes you require or want from this communication. Don’t leave room for ambiguity or assumptions, be clear, open and honest. This improves overall communication and ensures your messaging is clear and consistent. Which leads us onto our next point.
One of our values here at Corporate Edge is simplicity. We are consistently simple in our message, in our tone of voice and in our communication. Being consistent in your messaging, your goal, even down to word choice, ensures that your team or the individual is certain of what you’re saying and meaning and isn’t confused by mixed messages.
Listening, and not just hearing, is a catalyst for a strong team foundation. Listening is far more important that talking and it’s a key factor in effective communication especially in teams. Active listening is listening and understanding someone and not just hearing what is being said. It is the ability to focus completely on what the other person is saying and is not saying. You will be better equipped to receive, respond and discuss the information when you are actively listening, allowing the speaker to feel empowered and heard. Active listening looks like:
- Eye contact
- Matching and mirroring their body language
- 100% present
- Being curious and suspending judgement
- Paraphrasing and repeating back to demonstrate your understanding
- Responding appropriately
All these factors combine to ensure you as an individual is communicating effectively with the wider team, which in turn encourages more constructive and powerful team communication.
Do you and your team practice these simple techniques for powerful communication?