Sometimes identifying barriers that lead to misunderstandings in the workplace is not as difficult as we think. Misunderstanding occurs when there is no transparency in the workplace; Of course, sometimes it can happen unintentionally. However, if the misunderstanding remains unresolved, it may lead to workplace conflict or reduced productivity.
The fact is that having an education or work experience does not necessarily mean that we have the power to communicate effectively. Even the most educated and experienced people may find it difficult to get their message across properly. We know that ineffective communication leads to wasting time, time and resources. The main reason for this is that our conversations in the workplace are usually not constructive.
Personal characteristics, physical distance, the subject of the message, the specific terms we use, and culture are some of the factors that affect a clear, effective, and transparent communication in the workplace. In this article, we review 7 ways to communicate effectively in the workplace that lead to increased workplace productivity.
1. Recognize the audience
Knowing the audience is essential for effective communication in the workplace. Communication here refers to all verbal and written communications, lectures, daily emails, company announcements, or project status updates.
Whether or not we convey our message well to the audience depends on how well we understand them. Consider the following questions:
- Who is on my side?
- What is the purpose of the message I want to convey?
- What should my audience understand about this message?
- What do I ask him to do?
- What is the best way to convey a message to him?
- What might be the impression of this message?
- How will he feel or react after receiving the message?
In order to be able to answer these questions, we must first observe, analyze, and examine the audience’s behaviors. In a word, we need to know who we are on. For example, the approach we have to communicate with our group or colleagues should certainly be different from the type of communication with our boss, because these two groups have fundamental differences.
2. Understanding the situation and being explicit
Consideration and deliberate behavior play an essential role in effective communication. In order to institutionalize these two good qualities in ourselves, we must spend time on them. To communicate with others in the workplace, we need to be a little patient and understand the situation, speak clearly and empathetically, and at the same time be empathetic with others. Here are some important tips to help you communicate effectively in the workplace:
Curiosity in its good sense is very useful in understanding the audience. Using questions that begin with “what” and “how” we can leave the end of the question open so that the audience has to answer the question. In this way we can easily gather the information we need from their explanations. We can also get a better idea of the situation by asking exploratory questions. The more we understand the situation, the more likely it is that the message will be better conveyed to the audience.
Learn like children
Children usually have no background or prior knowledge of what they are learning. For this reason, when we learn, we can see a sense of humility in them. This approach is very effective. It is enough to put ourselves in the audience’s shoes to see the situation from their point of view. We will learn a lot from the audience if we show ourselves to be receptive, ready and eager for feedback.
Check your defaults
The breadth of our knowledge often overshadows our perceptions and judgments. For this reason, it is best to first examine the perceptions we already have of our audience. We need to know exactly who we need to talk to or what research we need to do to find out if our assumptions are correct. It is better to think well before any action.
Almost everyone likes to feel valued in the workplace and feel that their presence is important. We must listen to all the ideas and not miss any point of view. For example, if we are going to get information about a topic in a meeting, we should take enough time for everyone to express their views. If the meeting time is over, we will announce at the same meeting that we will talk to the others later.
3. Good listening
Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves. But when we are involved with a multitude of meetings, priorities, and important tasks, to what extent do we really come up with important principles that help to communicate effectively? Practicing the following practical tips can help give the right angle to the audience:
When we are talking to the audience, we can confirm what they are saying by repeating their words or repeating them in our own language. In this way, he makes sure that we understand what he means, and even better, if what we understand is not what he is saying, we can clarify the matter immediately.
Sometimes we may feel we need more information when talking to an audience. At this time, it is best to ask for more details.
When we do not fully understand something, it is better to ask more questions about it.
One of the most important exercises for effective communication is to strengthen the skill of remembering. If we try to remember what we know is important to our audience, we can remind them in the future. It shows the audience that we have listened well to them and cared about their professionalism.
These were the listening skills that are essential for effective communication in the workplace. We need to practice to strengthen these skills. Let’s not forget that:
- We must empathize with others;
- We should not just care about our feelings; We must also understand the feelings of others;
- We need to measure our own and others’ emotional behaviors and reactions;
- Be aware of our own and others’ values and beliefs;
- See and understand signs of nonverbal communication such as body language.
4. Check how to get feedback
How we receive feedback affects first the reaction we show and then how we communicate effectively with others. It is much easier said than done to say that we have to accept feedback and criticism. We are human beings and our nature demands that we be vulnerable at times. When we are disturbed by life events or when we feel pressured in the workplace, we become defensive with the slightest negative feedback. For this reason, it is important to know how to get feedback.
But how can we improve our critical thinking skills and ability to absorb feedback? The general method is to practice drawing out useful lessons from the feedback and learning from them. On the other hand, we have to get rid of the parts that are not constructive and stop thinking about them. The following strategies can help strengthen this skill:
- Knowing, understanding and managing reactions, as well as anything that motivates us after receiving feedback;
- Get the main message from the feedback no matter who gave the feedback;
- Consider feedback as advice: we should not think that they are judging us;
- Break down feedback into smaller, more understandable sections;
- Get feedback only for a specific topic (whenever we want feedback, we only have to ask about a specific topic and this topic should not be general);
- Test the suggested methods in the feedback step by step and in small steps (we should not immediately dive into the full implementation of any suggestion they give us);
Feedback can teach us many lessons and play an important role in our progress and growth. Breaking the feedback into small sections can be helpful in reviewing messages and showing appropriate response.
5. Provide unbiased and tangible feedback (visible)
This is one of the hardest parts of practicing effective communication. Giving feedback to others is not an easy task. We are afraid to hurt anyone, we want to prevent conflicts, but we do not know how to do it. Many times we are not emotionally ready or our assumptions prevent us from understanding reality.
One of the most effective ways to provide explicit feedback is to use the Position, Behavior, Effect (SBI) model:
- Position: First we prepare the ground. We ask ourselves what happened, where and when it happened.
- Behavior: We explain behavior. This is the hardest part, because we have to look at our assumptions. We need to explain the audience’s behavior in a way that is visible. For example, the tone of the feedback changes by saying “you acted rudely” instead of “you interrupted me” because knowing rudeness is a personal perception, while interrupting our speech is a behavior that everyone could see and observe.
- Effect: To describe the consequences of behavior, we must use phrases that are first-person; In this way we tell the audience that these statements are from us.
After that, we have to continue the conversation. We ask them to get a better understanding of the issue based on their answers. We ask:
- what do you think?
- What happened to you?
- What did you learn from this?
- What are your plans for improving the situation in the future?
The first example
“In yesterday’s meeting when you were presenting (the situation), unfortunately you were talking about two of the slides a little uncertainly and your sales calculations went wrong (behavior). Honestly, I was somewhat embarrassed, because all the members of the board were present at the meeting. “I’m worried that this will have a negative effect on our team ‘s reputation.”
The second example
“Today’s meeting with customers was great. You held the meeting on time, and you already had all the brochures on the table (position). All your research was done correctly and you answered all the customer questions (behavior). I’m proud of you and I can confidently say that with this extraordinary work our organization can be in a special position. “I can see that we are achieving all our goals, and I thank everyone for working hard.”
Knowing how to provide clear, accurate, and observable feedback is an essential skill for effective communication in the workplace.
6. Follow-up, approval, accountability
Establishing effective communication in the workplace is a constant process and requires follow-up, approval and responsibility. We must constantly monitor progress and continuously support others. In this regard, we must confirm the progress of our colleagues, groups or even our superiors.
The following questions are useful for evaluating and ensuring the effectiveness of communication in the workplace:
- What opportunities can we see?
- How can we adapt to them?
- What decisions should we make?
- How can we play a supportive role?
- How do we know that they are receiving our message correctly?
7. Use seven key words in effective communication
For any kind of communication in the workplace, we can use these seven important words and apply them:
- Transparency: What is the purpose of our message? Is it easy for the audience to understand?
- Summary: What parts can we omit in our speech? Does what we want to say really matter?
- Tangibility: What facts do we want to convey? Are these facts tangible and visible?
- True: Is the message we want to convey completely true and there is nothing wrong with it? Is it suitable for our audience at all?
- Coherence: Is there a logical flow in our conversations? Or are there any contradictions in it?
- Completeness: Is the relevant information fully provided? Does the audience know exactly what we want from them?
- Principles of etiquette: What is the tone of our message?
Effective communication techniques in the workplace require practice and time. The 7 methods mentioned in this article can help you to communicate effectively in the workplace. You can use them to improve your communication skills.
Which of the above methods do you use in your work environment? Which of the above can you do in your workplace this coming month? Do you have experience in communicating effectively in your work environment?
We are happy for you to share your experience with us and your friends.