Whether you have 5 employees or 5,000, ineffective communication generally leads to increased staff turnover, decreased morale, misunderstandings, hard feelings, and a perceived lack of importance. No business can survive these problems for long.
Your ability to communicate effectively can make the difference between success and simply “getting by,” but this doesn’t happen by accident. It requires time, study, and coordinated effort. Here are a few “be’s” of communication that I’ve learned over the years to get you thinking about how to improve yours.
Far too many of us use our business emails or texts as a substitute for personal interactio
n.. Make sure to set aside time to meet your coworkers and employees live and in person. People relate to one another better when they can read each other’s body language and hear tonal inflections. If personal contact is not possible, the next best way to connect is by talking on the phone or Skype.
A positive, upbeat attitude lets people know that you care. People like to communicate with other friendly and approachable people. The words “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” show that you appreciate a person’s effort. Consistently emphasize the good and reward achievements.
People need to know that you’re not sitting on a throne guarded by dragons. Be approachable as an individual. If your time is not to be interrupted, put a sign on the door stating when you’ll be available. Your employees should feel like they work with you, not for you.
Consistency builds trust. You can’t be nice one day and bite someone’s head off the next. You will be feared instead of admired, and no one will tell you anything.
When you give instructions or discuss a business situation, don’t assume that everyone understands you. Ask whether you’ve been clear or if further information or explanation is necessary. Remember: no one can read minds! Ask, “Did I explain this clearly enoug
Be Clear About Expectations
Clearly share your expectations with your employees. This ensures that there will be clarity on the work to be done. They will comprehend what you expect without misunderstandings.
Be All Ears
Perhaps the most difficult communication technique of all is effective listening. Don’t interrupt. Pause and make sure that the other person has stopped talking before you start talking. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listening to others shows you respect them. Make your conversation like a game of tennis and keep the ball going back and forth. If you both serve at the same time, the game will not go well.
If you hear something that confuses you, ask. Maybe you missed a detail or maybe you remembered something others forgot. Chances are if you’re confused, then others are, too.
I promise that if you try these tips, your communication will improve. Just sayin’.
About the Author
Sharon Dillard is the award-winning CEO and Co-founder of Get A Grip Inc., a national franchise kitchen and bathroom resurfacing company based in Albuquerque.