- Team having communication issues at work?
- Unsure of how to talk to management?
- Or are you struggling to implement an improved communication strategy that gets everyone on the same page?
You’re not the only one. Understanding how to interact with coworkers and analyzing different workplace situations is a challenge for us all.
When intent and understanding don’t align, this can spiral into greater workplace problems. Breakdown can also begin to occur with customers as well. To better avoid this, it is essential that we understand what effective business communication is and practice ways to improve things.
We’ve got a comprehensive guide to help you, your boss, and your coworkers with effective business communication skills in the workplace.
So let’s hop to a proper definition...
Click "READ MORE" to unveil the guide that will help you master the art of communication at work!
What is Business Communication? A Definition
Utilizing positive business communication practices will only benefit your company in the long run. The key is to ensure that communication methods are consistent at all levels of the company so that there are no dissemination or misinformation gaps.
22 Top Tips for Effective Business Communication Skills in the Workplace
No matter what your company hierarchy (authoritarian leadership or servant leadership, it is important to improve your communication skills. Whether you are at the top or bottom of the totem pole, how you practice communication will be adopted by others you are in contact with on a regular basis.
Additionally, honing communication skills in a uniformed manner will allow all employees to be on the same page, and minimize the chance of misalignment and miscommunication.
Browse through these 22 stellar tips to become a more effective communicator in the workplace.
Next, ensure that your call is taking place in an area that avoids picking up any distracting sounds; you don’t want background noise to be picked up on the receiving end of your call.
Once you are on the call, be sure to pay close attention to those you are communicating with; before you begin to speak, always make sure that the other people on the line have concluded their thoughts.
2. Setting Rules for Messaging Platforms
Informal communication can result in an array of misunderstandings between you and another employee if not done properly. This is why it’s best to maintain professionalism as much as possible in your messaging communications. Unlike verbal communication, your written messages are permanent.
So, take the time to ensure that they are crafted in an acceptable and professional manner. You never know when they will be referenced again.
Having an "open door" policy, where your employees feel comfortable bringing anything to your attention at any time, can be immensely beneficial to your business' internal communication. It is also a great way of motivating employees to be more involved in your organization.
4. Focus on Collaborating, Not Dominating Conversations
5. Identify & Reach out to Shy or Introverted Employees
Identifying and reaching out to shy employees can help break down the barriers of workplace communication they may have imposed on themselves.
Showing a genuine interest in this type of employee, and forming a better working relationship can allow for them to become more comfortable and open up. However, keep in mind that this can be a lengthy process, shyness doesn't dissipate overnight!
6. Importance of Follow Up Cannot be Underestimated
Effective communication requires follow-through to ensure both understanding and action. This can be done in a variety of ways, including follow-up meetings, polls, surveys, and tracking interactions through online project management tools.
7. Change Up Your Office Space
In more recent years, we have seen a shift in organizations adopting a more “open” concept design. An open floor plan eliminates nearly all physical barriers, and some argue that it encourages an increase in employee communication and collaboration. But in recent years, research has not supported the claims that open floor plans increase efficiency and communication, or lower working costs. Truthfully, it comes down to your specific organization and workforce preferences.
Not every office space is cohesive and can serve as a “one stop shop” for any organization.
- Does your the work you do require silence?
- Are opportunities for collaboration at a minimum intentionally? If so, an open work space is not likely going to help your people thrive. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are in constant communication with your team, eliminating physical barriers is probably in your best interest.
If you’re unsure about what avenue to take, go right to the source and take an employee poll. Asking your workforce what they want is the only foolproof way to get it right. Either way, employees often take pride in having a space that is their own. So no matter the layout of your office, be sure to allow for employees to customize it as they wish. That is the key to ensuring their personal space is a good fit.
8. Be Aware of Boundaries
Be polite and engaging, but avoid overstepping boundaries and involving yourself in personal drama.
9. Discourage One-Way Communication
10. Try Out New Tools/Software
While not every tool is guaranteed to work for your team, if you’re looking to boost your customer service capacity, a great tool to consider for your business is a virtual call center. Virtual call center tools, such as those from 8x8, provide inbound and outbound calling capabilities, support a large volume of simultaneous phone calls, and integrate a cloud-based call center with chat, text, and social media features.
11. Take Full Advantage of Social Media
12. Don't Reject Seemingly Mundane Mingling
You can’t expect your employees to have meaningful and productive relationships if they only discuss work topics.
13. Non-Verbal Communication Matters
Make a concerted effort to be mindful of your body language and build a positive rapport with verbal and nonverbal communication.
14. Address Sensitive Issues Sooner Than Later
Most of the time, a quick and direct discussion can resolve any interpersonal or professional issue without negatively affecting the relationship.
15. Address People by Their First Name
That subtle connection will make them more receptive to whatever you intend to communicate to them.
16. Avoid the Most Controversial Topics
Controversial topics, such as those can easily develop into heated discussions, can significantly impact the productivity of the team.
This, in and of itself, is a form of improved employee communication. Plus, employees can interact and comment on their coworkers’ posts, providing another effective tool for fostering a productive discussion.
18. Be Direct & to the Point
If you have even the slightest suspicion that something you’ve written could be lost in translation, rewrite it. Just be careful to be succinct, not verbose in trying to fully explain something.
19. Visual Communication Counts
For example, imagine trying to explain a company’s profit margins over the course of 12 months in an oral report without the use of charts and graphs. This would be difficult since the audience wouldn’t be able to visualize exactly how the company is performing. Supplementing this oral report with graphs and charts would allow the audience to actually see how the profit is trending and understand what that means for the company.
20. Give Employees the Opportunity to Recharge
Whether this means taking an extra hour for lunch, or simply asking for the occasional personal day, you'll get better results by granting your employees the time to reboot themselves.
21. Be Honest & Transparent
Your perception of the situation could change with more information. In any case, treat the other person with respect and move quickly to solutions and next steps. The goal of tough conversations should be a positive resolution.
22. Identify a Common Goal
Putting in the effort to ensure that everyone in the company is aligned with the same goal is an investment that will never stop paying off.
Remove the Business Communication Barriers
While there is no such thing as someone communicating perfectly, you can get pretty close removing as many barriers as possible.
If we’ve missed any business communication tips or you have something else we should correct or add, please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Here’s to your business communication success!