Communication is one of the most fundamental skills that we develop as human beings. As social entities, the overwhelming majority of us communicate with others at least once per day, every day in many different forms.
The ability to articulate ideas and thoughts verbally and non-verbally is a wonderful thing. Admittedly though, despite the fact that we all communicate so often, some of us are better at it than others? How?
Well there are some basic points of difference that separate great communicators from the rest of us. They are:
- Leaving no doubt
- Asking for clarification
- Positivity and empathy
- Listening well
In the business world, communication permeates everything and due to this good communication is, of course, extremely important. From deciding on top level strategy, a manager giving instructions, teams working together and most importantly, the organisation’s relationship with customers, the price of bad communication is high.
Over the course of history, a lot of time has been wasted due to poor communication, there has also been many a disgruntled employee and ultimately an underperforming organisation.
So what about these principles that make up a good communicator, or an organisation that is good at communicating, that ultimately can help the performance of businesses.
1. Leave no doubt
Perception and interpretation are powerful things. Rarely will you find someone who thinks exactly the same as you. Therefore, when giving a message, good communicators are precise and clear.
Some instructions and topics can be quite confusing and complex. Breaking a message down into digestible chunks for the receiver can be a necessity. What are the most important points you need to get across? Make sure that you cover them without any ambiguity.
No doubt should be left in the mind of the receiver of the message as to what the message means. If there is scope or room for creativity or the receiver’s own ideas, then this will be outlined in the message.
Asking if the message is understood or if the receiver has any questions on it is a good practice. You can be sure then that they have the information that they need.
What if the message you had just received wasn’t precise and clear….?
2. Asking for clarification
Have you just come out of a meeting not understanding what you have been asked to do next?
In this situation some people may be hesitant to ask for more information, thinking that if they haven’t understood it is their fault.
Not necessarily, maybe the boss has not been concise or clear about what they want? The best thing to do is to ask for clarification. You should always do this if more clarification is needed. After all, if you don’t understand something, how productive or helpful are you going to be. You will save a lot more time by finding out exactly what is expected of you before you start to work on it.
One of the biggest contributors to poor communication in organisations is timing, specifically, giving people messages about something to be done near or after the deadline for it. The results of it can usually be seen in stressed employees, rushing to meet these deadlines.
This sounds fairly basic, don’t ask for something to be arranged or done after the deadline for it has passed. Are you going to ask them to come to a meeting that happened yesterday? Probably not.
However, is asking for a deliverable one day before the deadline any better? Well that depends on your message, if you just want an email forwarded, then you are probably OK. If you need a design project to be done, the likelihood is the deadline won’t be met.
When giving a message to someone, what is a suitable amount of notice time that they need? This varies from item to item but of course generally, the more notice time that you can give, the better. Perhaps planning meetings can be a good remedy for this issue, where work is scheduled and everyone involved knows the relevant deadlines for work.
4. Positivity and empathy
Attitude goes a long way, it’s nicer to interact with someone who has a sunny disposition about the topic. As humans, we are rather more receptive to a positive attitude than a negative one. Nobody can be positive all the time but providing positive reinforcement as well as including positive elements of feedback along with criticisms is a good tactic.
Empathy can be described as emotional awareness, and those who can put themselves in the shoes of those they are speaking to can anticipate and guide a conversation to a successful conclusion. Different people respond differently to the same situation.
Getting to know your co-workers and teammates and how to have fruitful conversations with them will help.
5. Listening well
We could be accused of saving the best for last. If you want to be a great communicator, you need to be a good listener. Communication, by its very nature involves at least two people.
Good communication is definitely not a one way street. Make sure that when someone is talking, you are really listening to what they are saying and taking on board their message.
Without this, how can you hope to provide them with the information they need if they are asking a question, or relay an accurate picture of the situation to the next person you talk to about it?
Promoting good communication within your business will have positive effects. Your team will know exactly what they have to do, and when it has to be done for. Not only does this help from a productivity and efficiency standpoint, but due to this the team can avoid working against impending deadlines, avoid the stress that comes with that, stop being reactive and start working proactively. That is a good position for any organisation to be in.
Improving your communication habits can be difficult. After all, those habits have probably ingrained via thousands of interactions over years. When starting off, try to be conscious in the moment of each interaction with your co-workers and remember the principles, trying to incorporate them into your communication.
Here at Blueface, it’s our mission to make business communications easier, because we believe that’s the way it should be. We’re working to provide the most innovative and reliable business landline and mobile phone solutions, why not see for yourself.
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