Effective Communication in Business: 5 Essential Tips
Did you know that developing effective communication skills can help your business succeed?
Good communication methods can make your workplace run in a smoother fashion. If your employees communicate well, they’ll have fewer issues collaborating. They’ll also reduce their miscommunications. As such, you won’t see as many errors in their work.
But knowing how to implement good communication can get difficult. Below, we’ll go into our top 5 tips for improving office communication styles. Keep reading to learn more and start communicating better in your office!
1. Effective Communication Is Specific
Many great writers have a golden rule: don’t assume the audience knows what you’re talking about.
If you do, you might not communicate your message in as clear a manner as possible. So, you should make your communications as specific as you can. If you have any idea that the person receiving your message may not understand everything, you should explain yourself well.
This is especially crucial when you’re asking someone to perform a multi-step project. If people don’t understand a certain step, they may make mistakes, prompting delays. Taking the time to explain at the beginning may save you time in the long run.
Written communication is easier to make specific than verbal communication. This is because you can read over what you’ve written and make edits if needed. So, if you’re speaking, ask the person if they have any questions. Then, ask them to repeat what they’ve heard in their own words.
2. Repeat What Other People Tell You
Whenever someone approaches you with instructions or a suggestion, it’s best to repeat what you heard them say.
You can phrase this in the form of a question. For example, you might say, “So, if I’m understanding, you want me to send an email to Jan regarding the company banquet next month?”
Then, the other person will have the opportunity to confirm that you’ve understood them. If you haven’t, they’ll have the opportunity to correct you.
If someone has emailed you, read over the email and ask any clarifying questions you may have. Even if you think you’ve understood the other person, sending an email will allow you to confirm that you have.
3. Watch Your Personal Demeanor
Humans communicate in both verbal and non-verbal ways.
Verbal communication includes spoken and written speech. It includes tone, grammar usage, and other factors that can change the meaning of a sentence.
Non-verbal communication refers to how we act when we communicate. When we speak, we use our body language and other physical factors. Sometimes, our body language betrays the emotions we try to hide. For instance, if we’re trying to be professional when frustrated, we might make frustrated facial expressions.
As such, you should try to watch your personal demeanor when you communicate. If you have an important speech or conversation coming up, practice in front of the mirror. Make sure your physical actions match and enhance what you’re trying to say.
4. Become a Good Listener
Communicating well comes down to much more than talking to other people. Instead, you need to learn to listen, too.
A good listener remains concentrated on the speaker while they’re speaking. They do their best to reduce or ignore distractions until the other person is finished. They also resist the urge to interrupt.
Then, once the other person has finished speaking, they ask questions. First, they clarify any potential misunderstandings. Then, they add their input to the conversation.
It’s also helpful to communicate to the other person that you’re listening. You can do this with your body language. Maintain eye contact with them as much as possible. If you’re sitting, you can also lean in, making yourself appear more engaged. This reassures the other person and encourages them to keep engaging.
5. Become Culturally Competent
Effective communication styles differ across cultures. In fact, the amount of meaning a person attributes to gestures and body language actually depends on where they grew up.
Cultural experts call this the difference between high-context and low-context cultures. People from high-context cultures need a lot of context when communicating. They may use their physical gestures and body language to fill in this context. Low-context cultures don’t need as much context. Instead, they focus mostly on the words being said.
High-context cultures often emphasize indirect communication, while low-context ones appreciate directness.
In other cultures, different gestures and body language can mean something different than they do for the majority of the U.S. For instance, people from many Indigenous cultures may avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. Employees from Asian cultures may be hesitant to assert themselves in as direct a manner as those from the United States do.
So, when communicating with your employees, take their cultural backgrounds into consideration. Don’t assume that an employee who is communicating in an indirect fashion is unengaged or has nothing to say. Instead, focus on increasing cultural competence in your office. Learn how each person prefers to communicate, and tailor your communication style to them.
Want to Learn More?
Effective communication is essential to the success of every workplace.
To start communicating better, you should host training sessions for your employees on the art of communication. Make sure these trainings focus on the importance of listening to one another and taking culture into consideration. In addition, it’s worth remembering that women often communicate in a different way than men.
Being aware of all this will help you establish more effective communication in your office.
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