As an employee, the road to becoming a successful communicator begins your first day on the job. As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide your employees with the proper tools in order for them to thrive in all aspects of the job. Unsure of where to begin? No matter which end of the spectrum you land on, a great place to start facilitating a working relationship is through communication.
Communication can be broken down by being either one-way or two-way. One-way communication means that the delivered information is meant to only be digested. In other words, the recipient is only meant to read the message is not required to respond immediately if at all. Two-way communication is the exact opposite. A message is delivered and should be met with an immediate discussion. Utilizing both types of communication facilitates a strong overall organization for more reasons than one:
- Unites the Team(s): Good communication practices allow all members of the organization to communicate in a productive manner. This aids in setting clear goals and expectations for all of those working toward a common goal.
- Reduces Miscommunication: Frequent communication means that there are numerous opportunities for messages to be discussed and elaborated on. Not only does this leave room for questions to be asked, but it also means that opinions and constructive criticism can be given to further benefit a given conversation or topic.
- Improves Efficiency: Being able to communicate effectively using both the written word and verbal communication is vital. The more opportunities there are to communicate, the more clear and concise messages will become.
So how do you come to enjoy the communication benefits listed above?
Utilize the Internet
Strong workplace communication starts when employees are given multiple channels of communication to accomplish day-to-day tasks. There should be avenues that support both one and two-way communication. In this digital era, we have set the standard for instant and constant communication. This is much in part due to the internet and its capabilities.
Utilizing the internet to better connect employees and customers is the most direct avenue businesses can take. Communication methods such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing are the first things that come to mind. However, as of late, standard phone services can also be attained through an internet connection. Employers can utilize VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol to enable employees to utilize typical phone functionality through a simple internet connection. This is a benefit for many reasons. Perhaps the most important being that all employees really need to communicate with each other is a computer and an internet connection.
Set the Standard
Each workplace has likely established multiple channels of communication that are available to employees. It is important to standardize which channels are appropriate for different types of messages. This may vary by department or even team, but in order to obtain a streamlined communication process, here are some things to keep in mind:
As stated previously, we live in a digital age where we have the resources to communicate using different messaging platforms and apps. However, there is a unique level of clarity and understanding that is achieved when you are able to interact with a person face-to-face in real time. In-person communication creates strong working relationships among coworkers because you are able to digest more than just the written word.
Body language and tone of voice allow recipients to have a deeper understanding of the message that is being communicated. Not only that, they are able to ask questions and provide commentary instantly that can change the directory of a conversation. Person-to-person communication:
- Sets the foundation of all working relationships
- Demonstrates importance
- Personalizes messages through nonverbal cues
- Allows for immediate response and commentary on the receiving end
Once a familiarity between coworkers and teams has been established, communication becomes much more clear and concise.
Email is typically used as a form of one-way communication. It is a great tool to use when recapping previously discussed or agreed upon objectives. With that said, email is most effective when used to:
- Provide brief updates regarding team and project initiatives
- Send attachments including relevant and detailed information
- Be a source of reference
- Serve as a record of communication
It is not effective when used to:
- Share new information that has not been previously discussed
- Share high-level instruction
- Share messages that require a direct and immediate response
- Instant Messaging
Instant messaging, much like its name describes, is used for instant communication. It can almost be viewed as a hybrid for face-to-face and email messages. Users have the ability to communicate with the written word, but also have the concept of instantaneous responses through chat. This is a great channel to adopt when you have established an understanding of your team’s personality and the tone of the messages that are being transmitted. Instant messaging provides the benefit of:
- Real-time communication no matter where your team is located
- Hosting one-on-one or group conversations
- The ability to multi-task and not have to halt work on a project to be immersed in a conversation elsewhere