The aphorism “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” lays the foundation for effective communication. Needless to say that this is something managers should follow to supervise and manage their teams efficiently. Having excellent communication skills is the cornerstone for effective leadership.
When you communicate openly and efficiently with your team, it helps to clear out misunderstandings and encourages a peaceful work environment. Efficient and seamless communication with your team will also enable you to get tasks done quickly and professionally.
On that note, let’s shed some light on a number of ways managers should maintain the communication with his team.
1) Learn the basics of nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication is the most crucial for any accomplished manager to learn. This means that the majority of what you say is conveyed not so much in words, but rather through physical cues.
To communicate confidently and clearly, you must maintain proper posture. Try not to slouch, or fold your arms or make yourself appear smaller than you are. Rather fill up the space you are given, consistently maintain eye contact and (if appropriate) move around the space.
2) Your words and actions should make you come across as trustworthy
Your employees should be able to trust you. This is a pivotal aspect of carrying out effective business communication time and again.
Now, in order to build trust among your employees, you need to show a genuine interest in the individual. You need to empathise with their dilemmas and concerns and follow through on the ways you’ve promised to help them.
3) Take the PIP approach
A common framework generally adopted by business experts is the Purpose, Importance, Preview (PIP) approach. Going by this approach, the speaker first mentions the purpose of the presentation. Then he/she shares why the presentation is important by shedding light on the implications and probable outcomes.
Ultimately, the presenter provides a preview of the topics that will be discussed.
4) You should have a flair for speaking extemporaneously
When lawyers present their cases in court, they generally speak extemporaneously. That means the lawyers take note of the series of topics they plan to touch upon, but they don’t memorize exactly what they would say. This method of communicating lets the lawyers presenting a particular case to cover all of the relevant points. This gives them flexibility over how to effectively convey their points depending on audience reaction or questions.
Business communicators should consider taking an extemporaneous style of speaking, like lawyers.
5) Adopt modern resources to boost your communication
Email and chat are great, up to a point. However, if going back and forth on the computer seems too complicated, you can consider bringing it face-to-face instead. It will probably simplify the task at hand, and prevent miscommunications, like perceived reluctance or sarcasm.
6) You must exude seriousness and confidence
You have to be confident and serious to ensure that your words are not taken for granted. If your team members notice a lack of seriousness or a hint of uncertainty, they are likely to treat the information you are conveying with disregard or disdain.
7) Don’t shy away from repeating
One rather usual communication mistake is what’s known as the “check-off-the-box” mentality. People perceive communication as a one-time thing. They say things like, “I already conveyed that” or “I sent out an e-mail”.
Sounds relatable, right? When you repeat the same message to the employees, they’re more likely to take note, believe it, and most importantly, act on it.
8) Initiate dialogue and check for understanding
Each time you communicate, there’s a scope to find out if your audience or employees get what you’re saying. You have to ensure the message is really heard and understood. Creating opportunities for dialogue and questions into your communication helps you measure in real time how well employees receive your messages.
9) Be concise with what you convey
Concise communication always helps to win over your employees. It works even in the technological context. As screens turn smaller, it’s important that we say more in fewer words. So, master the ability to stay focused to communicate the information across different mediums.
10) Seek honest feedback
Getting honest feedback from peers and members of your team is vital to becoming a better communicator. If you frequently solicit feedback, others will assist you in discovering areas that need improvement which you might have otherwise overlooked.
11) Set the context
Every employee comes into the workplace with his or her own context, a mixture of culture, memories, upbringing, and experiences. Part of the role of a manager is to create a shared vision for the entire team. Make sure employees understand the big picture and how they fit in.
Constantly communicate the “why” behind the business plan: why the plan is important, the role your team plays and the critical role individual employees play”, suggests Nick Mason, an assignment help expert.
12) Take note of the other person’s style of communication
Maybe some members of your team rarely use Slack, while others prefer responding to emails instantly. How do your teammates and employees communicate on projects best? Do they prefer Slack, email, or chats? You can always ask them about their preferences.
13) Carry out monthly or weekly one-on-one sessions
Sometimes, all it takes to maintain seamless communication is setting a proper time to do so. Your employees might want to share their recent concerns, challenges, or even triumphs. By conducting a one-on-one interaction, you’ll know more about what’s going on in the office and also have a clear idea of how to alleviate the issues.
14) Explain clearly why you’re asking your employees to do something
This one might sound silly, but at times, you need to explain why you need the employees to carry out a task. Without being condescending, you can share the importance of a task you assigned and frame it in an informative and positive way. By doing so, you’re providing vital information and the scope to ask questions they may have hesitated to convey otherwise.
15) Make people’s role in a project clear from the beginning
Communication in the workplace is ineffective when people don’t understand their roles. This is related to maintaining the transparency of the workflow. So, you need to determine the key stakeholders in the project. Let employees know from the start who gives the approval, and what channels the project needs to go through for completion.
16) Never make assumptions in haste
One of the most common hindrances to quality communication in the workplace is missed signals and quick assumptions. If your employee is falling short in an area, don’t quickly assume that they don’t have the ability to perform the task. Rather you should present a non-confrontational setting to delve into where the problems lie.
17) Maintain a receptive workplace atmosphere
To communicate effectively with your team, you must maintain a receptive workplace environment. Always ensure that the environment isn’t too tense. When you communicate in an overly intense way, the message you are trying to convey might not be retained or well understood.
18) Simple words are always more impactful
The fact is you can’t expect everybody to be on the same page when it comes to vocabulary. Hence, to appropriately communicate with your team members, use words that are simple to understand. When ambiguous words or phrases are used, your message can be misunderstood and/, or you’ll have to waste your precious time by explaining yourself.
19) Consider recording crucial presentations for posterity
It can take a great deal of time and energy to maintain communication effectively. In cases where you may have to deliver the same presentation on multiple occasions, consider recording it and sharing it in the future.
There are many platforms, which allow speakers to record themselves delivering a presentation. In fact, you can also edit the video to make it more engaging and helpful.
20) Maintain consistency with your follow-ups
It’s not easy to regularly monitor when work gets hectic, but it’s one of the most pertinent ways to establish smooth workplace communication. One of the most harrowing experiences as an employee is finishing a project and then finding out your manager wanted something completely different. Prevent that by being open to questions from the beginning.
21) Being humorous helps communicate better
Using friendly jokes when interacting with your team members will allow you to pass your message in a relaxed way. This form of communication has been proven incredibly beneficial in case of tense situations. However, try not to overdo it.
22) The right tone of voice matters
One word may convey a different meaning when said in a different tone. So, you have to ensure that you use the appropriate tone of voice to convey your particular message to your team. This way, you won’t be misunderstood, or discouraged and demotivated by members of your team.
23) Listen carefully
Communication isn’t only about getting your own message across. It’s a two-way street. If you’re not paying heed to what the other individual is saying, it becomes difficult to end up on the same page.
Ask questions to provide clarification, and extend your full attention to the conversation. Also, you must avoid thinking of fitting response before the other individual is done talking.
24) Ensure that internal knowledge and documents readily available
New employees can have a hard time learning the ropes of an organisation and how it truly operates. Since most businesses work from a particular set of internal knowledge, there’s already a built-in training program at your disposal.
Making internal knowledge readily accessible via documentation is another excellent way to keep effective communication flowing.
25) Be thoughtful while offering compliments
If you convey to an employee that they have done a great job, the compliment won’t be effective as you think. In fact, they may end up thinking, “But what was great about the task? How will I do it again if I don’t know?” So you need to be specific with your compliments.
For instance, you can tell them, “You did a good job elaborating how leads are converted into customers in that presentation. The visuals really helped the audience decipher the process.”
As a manager, you must always remember that trying to maintain effective workplace communication is a time-consuming process. That’s why, it’s best to employ the aforementioned practice tips. If you implement them successfully, you’re bound to witness positive results.