We've all been in the situation when we've left a meeting with no idea what to do next. You might have thought you were the only one who felt this way. But hang in there because, studies say that most employees don't get clear orders, while some managers say they're uncomfortable speaking with their employees in general. Improper communication can even lead to problems like delay in completion of tasks or can sometimes even lead to losing out when it comes to achieving the perfect outcome.
Table of contents
- What is workplace communication
- Types of communication in the workplace
- Importance of maintaining good workplace communication
- Challenges in workplace communication
- Ways to improve communication at work
- Benefits of having effective workplace communication
What is workplace communication?
Workplace communication is the verbal and nonverbal exchange of information and ideas between one person/group and another inside an organization. It includes emails, text messages, notes, and phone conversations, among other things. Effective communication is essential for getting the task done, as well as for developing trust and enhancing staff productivity.
Workers come from a variety of cultures and origins, and they may be accustomed to different norms.
Effective communication is essential for increasing employee cooperation and avoiding missed deadlines or activities that could harm the organization. Communication gaps result from ineffective communication, which generates confusion, loses time, and diminishes productivity. For example, an employee will not be able to complete his/her task if not the required task is not communicated in the right manner. To achieve certain development goals, managers and lower-level employees must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with one another through verbal and nonverbal communication.
Information is absorbed in various ways by different people and so, in order to ensure that everyone understands what is being said, the communication approach must be simple, clear, and precise. Using visuals to illustrate important information can help people understand it better.
The presence of trust in an organization will also make communication easier to employ. To build a tension-free workplace, coworkers must establish relationships. Messages should be delivered and received in their original format. Bullying, taking credit for someone else's work, and free-riding should all be avoided in the workplace if you want to have healthy relationships.
Types of communication in the workplace
Each category that comes under the various types of communication, plays a crucial role in exchanging information with your coworkers and consumers. Furthermore, when you prioritize effective communication in your company, the natural result will be a positive, efficient, and productive working culture.
Understanding the major benefits and cons of each style of workplace communication can help you discover the appropriate balance of successful communication in your company.
Here are the main types of communication at workplaces:
Oral Communication / Verbal Communication
The use of words to communicate information is known as verbal communication. Written and spoken words are both included in verbal communication. Oral communication, on the other hand, refers to the act of speaking words.
However, these days, words are frequently used interchangeably, and you'll see verbal in many job adverts when referring to spoken communication. If you've worked for any length of time, you'll probably agree that talking to people is usually the greatest option, at least in the beginning if it's available. For example, if your boss needs you to create alterations in a given project, communicating where exactly the alterations are required verbally, could save time and bring out better results. Aside from being the quickest and most efficient means to convey your message, there are other advantages.
When communicating, it's impossible to avoid using nonverbal clues. You will be offering them whether you intend to or not. The important thing is to make sure that the cues you give off are appropriate and consistent with your message.
To make your message obvious, all of your non-verbal communication must be consistent with your verbal communication, just as you wouldn't shake your head and say yes. When used effectively, good nonverbal communication leads to improved overall communication, reduced confusion, and improved rapport.
You can speak the right words in the wrong way and receive a completely different response. One specific word can have different meanings to it, which is why clarifying what exactly you mean to your fellow employees is very important. For example, if you require no changes in the beginning of a document but you do require changes at the end, specifying exactly where you need those changes will eliminate chances of misunderstandings. And chatting to someone without making eye contact makes them seem as if you aren't paying attention.
Horizontal or Lateral Communication
Communication between individuals, teams, groups, or departments at the same hierarchical level in an organization is known as lateral communication, sometimes known as horizontal communication.
More open discussion, better collaboration, and idea-sharing are all advantages of lateral communication, which can lead to improved creativity and reduced miscommunication, confusion, and duplication of effort between teams where roles overlap or both teams are working on the same project. For example, create more room for brainstorming more often so that all your team members feel included and valued and at the same time you get more ideas to make that will help you make better decisions.
Formal communication is another example of the various sorts of workplace communication, and it means exactly what it says. When you communicate in a formal manner, you are communicating in a formal manner. Formal communication's goal is to convey information in a professional, business-like manner. This isn't to say that you can't be professional when chatting casually, but it does indicate that you shouldn't use slang or communicate in a way that's too familiar or casual. With time, you should be able to form positive relationships with your coworkers, manager, and anyone else with whom you do business on a daily basis.
Communication from top to down
Vertical communication is the communication between people, teams, or departments in an organization at different organizational levels. It is the polar opposite of horizontal communication. Consider the relationship between you and your supervisor.
Communication in Writing
Written communication exists in addition to email. Anything that involves putting pen to paper or typing is considered a written communication. Emails, chat, Slack, text, PowerPoint presentations, or even simply taking notes that may be utilized or referenced later are all examples of this. Anything in which the words are written down.
Communication through images
If you've ever had to give a presentation, you've almost certainly employed visual communication. Visual communication includes more than simply words; it also includes images, graphs, and other visual displays.
Because people absorb information in different ways, employ visuals if you're giving a presentation to a group of people. This will ensure that everyone's attention is captured. When you're trying to convey a hard topic or have a lot of facts to give, visual communication is also useful. You'll be able to explain the complexity in a concise and straightforward manner by using visuals, tables, graphs, and photos.
Listening is the last but certainly not the least of the various types of professional communication. Which may come as a surprise. While listening is included in nonverbal communication, it is such an important aspect of communication that it demands special attention.
When it comes to workplace communication, ignoring listening or not giving it the credit it deserves is the best way to stay stressed. When people don't listen, they make mistakes, lose time, duplicate work, and even break up relationships. Despite this, it isn't usually regarded as one of the most important forms of communication in the workplace.
Why should you maintain good workplace communication?
Communication is essential for the smooth running of the workplace, and the quality of communication has a substantial impact on job outcomes.
Improving communication can be accomplished by using signs or symbols that are familiar to all participants in the communication process, which may include not only words but also imagery, gestures, and other elements derived from the company's shared culture and experience. To better communicate the information to the employee, gestures or drawings can be employed. Because quality communication is the foundation for work success, successful communication is carefully thought out and purposefully given.
Effective communication in the workplace can help to eliminate difficulties and boost productivity. This means, there will be fewer complications when it comes to task completion, leading to a higher level of productivity. The ability to communicate effectively at work can boost overall productivity and help to build a strong team.
Employees will be more interested in cooperating and finding the best answer jointly if they consult with each other and consider the opinions of others. Managers can better understand their employees' talents and skills by establishing strong communication, and then giving clear directions to the people who are best suited to the task, boosting the overall efficacy of each project. It's not only about how well you collaborate with others in the office when it comes to communication. It's all about forming connections, reducing errors, and, most importantly, functioning as efficiently as possible. As a leader, one of the most important things you can do is encourage effective communication patterns in the workplace. Because numbers aren't deceiving.
7c’s of effective communication
The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly.
Conciseness means wordiness, i.e, communicating what you want to convey in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication.
Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the audience’s view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in the message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete.
Concrete communication implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens confidence.
Correctness in communication implies that there are no grammatical errors in communication
Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic.
Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time, rather than trying to achieve too much at once.
Here’s what can go wrong
As our company grows and we begin to interact with additional people, we establish different relationships and communication channels. A sender, a message, and a recipient are all part of every communication.
This may appear to be a simple concept, but communication is a really complicated issue. When all communication is multiplied by the number of possible communication routes, we obtain a complex network of possibilities and options with a number of common communication problems and obstacles. Here are a few challenges that can come in the way:
Using technology to spread information
Email and intranet communication are faceless conduits. Stepping out and speaking to people face-to-face is one of the most challenging hurdles to successful communication in the workplace, especially when you have a difficult message to deliver.
Ease of communication
When it comes to professional communication difficulties, the belief that everyone can communicate well is possibly the most destructive. Some managers are unable to communicate and are unable to assist others in expressing themselves.
Expectations and prejudices.
This might lead to stereotypes and incorrect assumptions. People frequently hear what they expect to hear rather than what is spoken, and as a result, they make incorrect judgments.
People's social interactions, as well as how they express their emotions, differ drastically among countries. For example, the concept of private space varies widely depending on culture and social circumstances.
Smart tips to improve communication at work
Laying a solid foundation
When an employee has faith in you, they are more inclined to come forward and discuss when an issue arises. Establishing a rapport with your staff is a terrific method to start laying that foundation.
Schedule 1:1s on a weekly or monthly basis
Setting a time to communicate can often be all that is required to establish channels of contact. If you're busy and your employee wants to share recent struggles, concerns, or even accomplishments, she could feel that she's bothering you during the day. You'll learn more about the inner workings of what's going on at the office and have a better understanding of how to iron out the wrinkles if you schedule a recurring meeting to touch base.
Get outside the office
Spending hours and weeks at a time in the workplace can have a negative impact on our mental health, particularly during the winter months. A change of location might often be all it takes to wake individuals up and revitalize their vitality. Leaving the office does not imply squandering productive time. Introduce periodic work-from-home Fridays or suggest a local coffee shop where your team can meet. You can bring the office wherever you want if you have the correct equipment.
People frequently associate communication with conveying one's own message, yet effective communication is truly a two-way street. It's tough to get on the same page if you're not actively listening to what the other person is saying. Ask clarifying questions and give the conversation your whole attention. Avoid multitasking or formulating an answer before the other person has finished speaking. Active listening is difficult, but it is worthwhile.
Your company's culture should include communication. It enables teams to connect with one another and aligns them with the aims of your company. This can be accomplished by incorporating employee engagement strategies into the workplace. Also, brand your intranet, office design, business documentation, and other locations where you may symbolize what your company stands for to promote your fundamental values.
Some folks are bashful no matter how you slice it. Introversion is not a medical condition. Introverts are equally as useful and skilled at their jobs as aggressive workers. Reach out to introverted personnel and engage in interactions with them in which they feel free to offer their thoughts. If a group of employees is absent from the workplace, it is impossible to improve communication at the workplace.
Benefits of having effective workplace communication
Better employee engagement
In today's workplace, employee engagement is a constant problem. And, while some companies use all sorts of strange and amazing strategies to increase engagement, they frequently forget the basics. All other tactics or ideas should be built on the foundation of open, day-to-day communication. Employees have a clear grasp of their function and how it fits into the business in a climate of transparency and trust, which is a vital step in ensuring they are engaged with their work and their management.
When employees are encouraged to share their ideas and perspectives, a conducive climate for innovation can be created. Workers who are free to provide feedback and fine-tune ideas are more likely to think outside the box and express such ideas and methods to their coworkers and management.
Maintains a positive work environment.
Maintaining the status quo in the workplace relies heavily on open communication. People of various races, cultures, religions, and personalities are commonly seen in the workplace. With so many variances, it's only natural that there will be some friction.
It helps in crisis management.
Any company coping with a crisis, whether internally or publicly, needs to communicate clearly and transparently. In reality, without communication, a crisis can spread and affect other divisions as well as a company's brand. Internally, proactive communication will ensure that employees respond in a coordinated manner, reducing the impact of the event.
Creates a better impression
A corporation that is known for its ability to communicate effectively both internally and with clients has a positive public image. These businesses are demonstrating that they have nothing to hide and are open and transparent in every element of their operations. This can have a favorable impact on hiring, investment, and corporate expansion.
The earlier you try to get rid of factors that give rise to Improper communication, the better you can grow both, as an organization and as a team. All it takes is going a step further to pave the way to achieve goals faster, and this can only be possible with proper communication at your workplace.