Via Business.com : How To Improve Your Business Communication
Clear lines of communication are essential if your company is to ever attain financial success.
Clear lines of communication are essential in any sort of relationship and business is no different. If your company is to ever attain financial success, effective and clear communication is a must. Many businesses, however, struggle to get by precisely because the professionals who work there struggle to communicate clearly with one another.
Everybody seems to agree that getting business communication right is a key element to growth, achieving goals and overall long-term profitability. When it comes to understanding the means by which you can bolster your existing communication regime and simultaneously pioneer new forms of communication, many professionals unfortunately flounder.
Here’s how to get business communication right, and what mistakes you’ll need to avoid if you don’t want your signals to get lost in the noise.
Understand the signal and the types of noise
It’s impossible to understand the essentials of stellar business communication (or of any communication in general) without understanding the differences between the signal and the noise. Put simply, the signal is the message you’re trying to broadcast from one party to another. Maybe you’re trying to inform your boss that an important deal has just been struck, or perhaps you’re simply trying to tell another co-worker their email didn’t go through and you’re hoping they can resend it.
In other words, the signal is the pure message you’re trying to transmit undiluted to its recipient. The noise, on the other hand, is the irrelevant background information, useless trivia, unrelated data, external emotion and sound pollution which could prevent your signal from getting to where it needs to go. Pushing a message through this noise successfully is essential if the desired result is to ever be achieved.
If you don’t understand the signal and the noise, you’ll never be able to fully grasp what it means to be a stellar communicator. Business professionals with excellent communication skills thrive when it comes to transmitting their signals and bypassing noise at every available opportunity.
Sometimes, this means understanding “the signal and the noise” quite literally. For instance, you may need to turn down loud music (the noise) in order to understand what the person next to you is saying (the signal). Other times, it may entail something along the lines of keeping your inbox spam-free so that important emails from your co-workers or boss get through to you immediately upon arrival.
There’s little doubt about it that stellar communication services can go a long way towards helping you receive more signals while ignoring the useless noise around you. Sometimes, however, bolstering your ability to receive a signal while avoiding noise begins with a cultural change that must spread across your office if your business’ communication regime is going to be more effective. If the signals within your company are constantly being lost or misread, there are likely some changes that can be made that will immediately clean up the communication path.
Cut down on unnecessary noise
The best cultural change you can make in your office is to cut down on unnecessary noise. It may seem obvious to many professionals, but in some office environments, music and other loud sounds aren’t entirely banned or otherwise regulated.
Ensuring that your workspace is a tranquil environment where people can focus and clearly communicate with one another is a major step in ensuring you get business communication right. When it comes to fostering such change, your leaders are going to be responsible for informing their underlings what modifications are underway in the office’s culture.
If your office leaders aren’t thoroughly studying up on how to communicate cultural changes in the workplace, your efforts to bolster your communication regime will be doomed from the very start. The rank and file employees in your company take note of how their managers and bosses are behaving, so relying on lackluster communication protocols when it comes to your leaders will result in a communications breakdown across your business. When hiring managers and promoting current employees, always take into consideration their ability to understand and communicate clearly with others.
Sometimes, cutting down on unnecessary noise must be taken literally. If there’s a humming light, buzzing fan, or similar source of aggravating noise in your office, your workers and their communication will suffer. Those inhabiting open offices should pay particular attention to this, as one small sound in a distant corner can carry across everyone’s workspace and severely impede productivity and communication. Read up on stopping white noise from plaguing those hard at work in your office, and you’ll be doing much better when it comes to everyday business communication before you know it.
Semantic noise, or noise that results from differences in understanding, whether from using too much technical jargon or simply unclear instruction can quickly sideline a signal. So it’s always advised to ensure that good communication is in play by checking with the recipients that the signal was received.
A huge mistake that managers often make in communication is assuming that the message was clearly understood. When talking face-to-face with somebody, the speaker constantly looking for visual cues that the person is listening and the listener is giving cues back that they’re paying attention.
Those visual cues are, of course, absent when communicating through text or email. If we assume that the message was clearly received we run the risk of it getting lost in the noise or being misinterpreted. You would be surprised by how many managers fail to end a message with a call to action, such as “Do you have any questions?” or “Please reply back that you understand.”
Aside from physical and semantics noise, managers should take into account the potential for psychological noise breaking down communication. Our attitudes, internal thoughts and preconceived notions can all play into how we communicate and receive signals.
Negative emotions often lead to less effective communication. For example, if an employee is fearful of their supervisor’s criticism and in a constant state of worry about being reprimanded for their performance, that’s going to create a communication barrier. When people are in a state of worry it has an adverse effect on their concentration.
The same can also be said though for strong positive emotions of excitement. For example, if a manager is extremely happy about something going on in their life – perhaps a new baby – they may have a difficult time concentrating and be more likely to omit key pieces of information when sending out an email.
Psychological noise is obviously going to play a role at different points in a person’s job – that’s simply life. By considering our own emotional state and that of others, though, we can more effectively mold our signal so that it’s clearly sent and received.
Finally, managers should familiarize themselves with common communication mistakes worth avoiding; knowing to speak less and listen more, for instance, will often save you from communications-induced headaches. Understanding that digital and otherwise intermediated communication lacks a human element and thus must be very clear and precise is another basic step towards good communication that too many professionals ignore.
Remember that these changes must be championed by your company’s leaders, as everyday employees can’t be expected to know these things by themselves. Focus on tapping into the signal while avoiding ugly noise, and your business will be communicating more clearly and effectively in no time.
Via SMARP : Leadership Communication: How to Build Trust in the Workplace
Effective leadership communication is one of the biggest drivers of company success. Leaders are the ones responsible for building trust within organizations and, therefore, improving employee engagement and experience.
What Is Leadership Communication?
Leadership communication is transfer of information, data and knowledge by which leaders are influencing their colleagues, teams or entire organization.
Good leadership communication involves understanding people and their styles, understanding culture, being well informed, holding meetings and driving organizational alignment.
The Importance of Leadership Communication
Communication is one of the most important skills a leader can have. If a leader is incapable of communicating with his or her peers, company’s overall strategy, mission and goals may never be achieved.
Great leaders need to be good communicators because they have the responsibility to drive efficient communication among all the members of the organization.
For someone to become a good leader it takes constant improvement of many communication forms, such as: non-verbal communication, listening, counselling, speaking, writing, etc.
Barriers to Effective Leadership Communication
It is not easy to achieve effective leadership communication. That is especially true within large corporations with employees across the world.
Here are some of the main barriers to effective leadership communication.
Lack of trust
Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, both personal and professional, and when it’s broken, it is extremely hard to repair.
Therefore, one of the main goals of corporate leaders is to build trust within their organizations.
One the other side, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer showed in a survey of 33,000 individuals in 28 countries that almost 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers.
Effective leadership communication is the best way for leaders to build trust with employees.
Lack of clarity
Being too ambiguous is one of the biggest barriers to effective leadership communication. Leaders who are unable to express themselves with clarity and precision, struggle to motivate their teams and keep them engaged.
Lack of transparency
50% of employees say that a lack of transparency holds their company back. Therefore, effective leadership communication should strive towards embedding workplace transparency into the corporate culture.
They should share company news including milestones, events, personnel changes, innovations and even challenges. However, this is not easy to do while avoiding overload of irrelevant information.
Overload of irrelevant communication
Not every employee should get all the information about the company. Some information is simply not relevant to certain employees.
Too much irrelevant information often leads to employee frustration and decrease in productivity.
On the other side, being able to filter information and communicate it efficiently is not easy without the right tools.
Wrong communication technology
Some businesses are still using outdated communication tools. In addition, many organizations use multiple internal communication and document sharing tools.
Today, leaders need modern internal communications solutions that enable both leaders and employees to communicate efficiently and have an easy access to all important information.
Most emails that employees receive don’t deserve their immediate attention. For that reason, it is common for employees to miss out on important information.
9 Ways to Build Trust with Effective Leadership Communication
Poor leadership communication is often the biggest reason for lack of trust within organizations.
Here is what you can do to make your company and leadership communications more trustworthy.
1. Be transparent
Strong leaders are transparent in their communications. Employees need for CEOs to improve trust by behaving in a transparent manner, treating employees well, and taking responsible actions to address issues or crises.
Luckily, organizations can easily get access to new internal communication technologies that can be used to increase transparency across organizations, locations and systems.
2. Be specific
Being clear and specific is crucial for effective leadership communication. Make sure you are as specific and as clear as possible. Leaders who are able to communicate with clarity and conciseness are much better in avoiding confusion or misunderstanding in the future.
Moreover, 71% of employees believe that their leaders do not spend enough time communicating goals and plans.
3. Listen and support two-way communication
The imperative of every strong leadership communication is the ability for leaders to create a safe space for open dialogue. When employees are talking to you, make sure you are listening. This type of engagement establishes a meaningful trust and respect between leaders and employees.
Listening means nothing if you are not encouraging two-way communication. Millennials and younger generations want to be able to express themselves and share their ideas with others.
4. Give feedback
Leaders should strive towards giving meaningful feedback to their employees and feedback is essential for building trust in the workplace.
For example, if you are expecting your employees to adopt certain new behaviors related to culture transformation, they you get feedback and recognition for embedding the new behaviors.
This approach will help employees to develop a trusting and authentic workplace relationship.
Consider introducing communication tools that encourage feedback and employee communication in an instant way.
Asking for feedback, on the other side, can be tricky. The damage happens when a leader asks for feedback and then either does nothing to improve him or herself or attempts to identify the source of criticism and punish it.
5. Make important information easily accessible
Today’s workforce expects information to be easily accessible and found. Whatever leadership communicates, this information should be at employees’ fingertips whenever they need it.
Many organizations today use numerous tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Jive Sharepoint, Facebook Workplace, intranets, Social Media platforms and many other tools to share and deliver important information.
Now, the focus should be to have the content from all these platforms in a single place.
If information can not be easily found, it will get lost. In order to make sure that employees stay engaged and informed, leaders need to make sure to provide efficient communication tools.
6. Choose the right communication technology
Modern communication tools like Smarp enable leaders to deliver relevant information to their employees. On the other side, they enable employees to easily access important information from anywhere.
When choosing a communication tool to improve leadership communication, have your employees in mind. Millennials in the workplace and used to accessing everything on their phones, so should your communication solution be mobile-first.
Employers that don’t understand how social enterprise tools work, fall behind in efficient internal communications. Leaders must be aware of how these tools are transforming cultures, employee behaviors and supporting teamwork and collaboration.
7. Be personal
The most effective leadership communications are those that connect with the audience. The more personal and engaging your conversation with employees is, the better.
Communicating on a deeper level helps displaying a strong level of authenticity and transparency that establishes a sense of trust between a leader and an employee.
8. Measure trustworthiness
Leaders, with the help of HR professionals can create a greater awareness of trust issues. In the near future, we may see organizations measure trustworthiness as they now assess engagement. Such a metric would give companies an advance warning system for problems.
9. Measure engagement
Can you measure the performance of your internal communications messages? Can you measure what type of content triggers employee interest?
Internal communications play a big role in driving employee engagement. However, they need to be able to measure what drives engagement.
Sending internal newsletter that no one reads makes no sense. Therefore, you should measure and test both the content and channels that employees prefer to communicate internally.
8 Consequences of Poor Leadership Communication
Poor leadership communication and lack of trust within organizations have a very negative impact on employee engagement, and therefore, business performance.
Below are just a few consequences of poor leadership communication:
1. Decrease in employee engagement
Engagement starts at the top, where the culture of the organization is formed. Since lack of communication is one of the main reasons why employees are disengaged, leaders now must build a solid foundation where employee engagement can thrive.
Remember, leadership engagement equals employee engagement.
2. Decrease in employee motivation
85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management and leadership offer regular updates on company news. Employee awareness of company goals and challenges accompanied by a clear definition of their role, leads to increase in employee motivation.
3. Lower employee productivity
Employee engagement is one of the top drivers of business growth. In fact, companies that have highly effective internal leadership communications had 47% higher total returns to stakeholders.
When the employees buy into the company’s goals and consider them their own, they are more likely to achieve their own goals.
4. Increased employee turnover
Lack of trust and poor communication are some of the biggest reasons why employees leave their companies.
Moreover, 81% of employees say that they would rather choose a company that encourages open communication than a company that has good perks such as health plans, free food and gym memberships.
5. Harder employee attraction
An Atlassian survey demonstrated that 87% of people want to work for transparent companies. The more trust and transparency leaders manage to embed into company values and culture, the easier it gets to attract and retain talent within companies.
6. Poor reputation as employer
In addition to lack of engagement, morale and employee retention, John Blakey, the author of The Trusted Executive, says that the lack of trust within organizations can harm the overall company’s long-term reputation.
7. Inefficient change management
According to research, two thirds of employees don’t receive sufficient information during corporate change. On the other side, effective change management is crucial for business success and employee engagement during the change processes.
Communicating changes within organization is leaders’ homework, and the only way to be successful in doing so by improving leadership communication.
According to research, companies with effective change and communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.
8. Higher financial losses
Poor leadership communication also results in higher efficiencies and financial loss.
A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.
In addition, a business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communication, translating to an annual cost of $528,443.
Via Thrive Global : 5 Tips for Fostering Effective Communication in the Workplace
Effective communication is necessary to get the job done and keep employees happy. How does one go about it?
For a workplace to be comfortable and productive, effective communication needs to be a priority.
But this is one aspect of corporate life that can often fall through the cracks—if work is getting done, why does HR or higher management have to concern themselves with how people are communicating with each other?
This attitude is erroneous, to say the least. If this is part of your strategy, your business plan template needs to be updated.
In the current climate, when there are so many companies outsourcing work to other countries, or liaising with remote teams, communication is more necessary than ever.
How can companies ensure that their communication techniques are top notch at all times? Here are five tips that should help.
Clearly Communicated Goals
Goal-setting is crucial in any organisation—this would have been studied when an entrepreneur learned how to start an SEO agency and during the process of setting up the company.
And these goals need to be communicated to all teams and employees. Because, if there is one thing that can cause strife and disharmony in an organisation, it is a lack of defined goals.
This is something that can create a great deal of animosity between co-workers, leading people to accidentally overlap in their operations, and feel like due credit is being taken away from them.
Communicating goals needs to start from the top. C-level executives need to determine their goals and share it with the managerial level.
Managers then need to share these goals with their teams. It is important not to be overly broad with the goals, nor too specific.
Remember that not all goals effect all employees—overburdening people with information that has nothing to do with them will make the work environment less productive.
Undertake sessions in link building training or landing page optimization so your employees are all aligned with the team and company goals.
It is up to the manager to understand what goals need to be defined for their team and how to ensure that everyone is clear about what they need to do.
The importance of two-way communication cannot be stressed enough. Whether it is with regard to goal-setting or understanding the project life cycle, communication cannot be one way.
As much as managers want to tell their teams what to do and how to do it—either because they have more information or more experience in the matter—listening to team members is essential for a healthy and productive work environment.
Managers should aim to hold one-on-one meetings with each team member—but one doesn’t need to hold them too often.
Conduct such meetings often enough so that the team knows that you are involved but not intrusive. Listen to what your team members have to say—get their feedback whenever possible.
It is important to note that employees are on the ground, dealing directly with certain matters such as finding the finding a WordPress backup service or how to optimize your Google My Business.
Their perspective is necessary to understand what is and isn’t working—especially because, as a manager, you may be more removed from a subject.
Talk to your team on a regular basis and learn from their experiences. Keep an open mind and ensure that you aren’t the only one talking. This will not foster a healthy work environment, and will lead to diminished productivity.
While one-on-one meetings are important to understand what your team members are working on as individuals, you should also hold team meetings.
Team meetings are good for fostering a sense of community with your team—with people working separately, and sometimes remotely, teammates don’t always get to interact.
A team meeting is a great place for people to meet, or at least hear each other, so they can build a sense of camaraderie.
Plus, at team meetings, employees can share what they have been doing over the week or last two weeks—this helps people understand that they aren’t the only ones working. Everyone is busy!
Such meetings are also a great way to share new ideas, brainstorm, and to teach each other new tips and tricks regarding work-related tasks such as Facebook ad optimization.
And you will find that team meetings encourage employees to interact beyond the meeting room—you might just see them taking a short break later to talk about how to book cheap flights or the free courses they are undertaking.
All of which is necessary to foster a good work environment that will see more effective communication methods being undertaken.
We have mentioned the popularity of remote teams which is what makes effective communication even more of a challenge now.
But there are ways to inculcate productive communication processes even when your team members aren’t all geographically located in the same place.
There are now a number of great communication tools—such as these Intercom alternatives or Slack competitors—that make it easier to message and chat with your team.
Though some tools may require a certain amount of monetary investment, it is well worth it if you can make communication in your workplace better and easier.
Target Your Audience
Target audiences have usually always been associated with marketing and advertising. But even within internal workplace communications one does have to keep the audience in mind.
We have mentioned how not all goals have to be shared with all teammates, and that goes for most internal communications.
Some of your team members may need to know about the new exit interview system, while others have nothing to do with it.
When you communicate with your team, it is important to remember who is involved in what activity and how it will affect them to know more or less.
Make Effective Communication a Priority
Communication within a workplace and a team will make all the difference between how an employee feels about their job and their team.
Effective communication methods can make the workplace a better place to function and improve productivity.
Via CXM : Top Tips for Managing Your Digital Communications
Technology is constantly delivering new methods of communication to the workplace in abundance.
There are so many different communication channels available, we often question which one is best to use and what for. Sometimes, issues occur when we don’t question, and then use the inappropriate tools to communicate something. This can lead to misinterpretation, people may get offended or misconstrue what’s been said, or left feeling they haven’t received sufficient information.
We can all feel like we are drowning in digital communications and are consumed by the 24/7 digital noise. The norm is to respond to everything the instant we receive it and to check all social media updates and sink with FOMO if we weren’t invited to a party or even a meeting!
The objective of technology is make us more effective and productive and not hinder us. It is time to stop manic multi-tasking and thinking that everything has to be now and instant – take a step back, breath, focus, and learn to how to manage your digital communications so you become empowered by technology and not enslaved by it.
Phone: the Power of Voice
By speaking on the phone we can develop a personal connection with a person, understand their tone of voice, and talk in more depth therefore strengthening the connection. There is less margin for error or misinterpretation, and of course the advantage is also there are more opportunities for conversations on a personal level and for humour. Another benefit is trust and authenticity can be built more quickly in comparison to an email or text.
When to use it:
- To resolve something urgently that is complex. It is often easier to get results face to over the phone as you can talk around the issues
- When you are chasing someone – if a client or employee has been ignoring your emails and messages then pick up the phone and talk to them about it. It will be much quicker
- There are times when you must deliver bad news or discuss something personal and empathy is required. This can only be achieved in a face to face meeting or on a phone call
- A catch up – you have a business issue to chat through and also it’s been a while since you spoke to the person so you want to catch up with them
Email or ‘snail mail’
Email is still very much the most used communications tool in business. The issue is that you end up with a full inbox and people still copy you in on irrelevant emails. We send roughly 281.1 billion emails a day, a figure that is estimated to increase to 333.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista.
Therefore, we would expect that emails often get ignored, deleted, or end up in the junk box. Emails are not the most effective way to communicate and it is much easier to use other tools such as picking up the phone.
When to use it:
- Sitting at your desk or on move from smartphones or tablets
- To document conversations and activities
- To send files
Video and audio conference calls
These tools are great when you want to speak with a group of people in another location without having to travel. With video you can read people’s body language and easily gage reactions to what you are saying.
When to use it:
- For a team meeting to discuss a project or proposal
- If there is an issue you can have a collective discussion
- To screen share a document and go through it together
Conferencing and collaboration solutions contain instant messaging tools and you can see your colleagues’ presence, when they are available and when they aren’t. However, people expect an instant response and tend to ignore the ‘busy’ and ‘do not disturb’ signs.
When to use it:
- When you need an instant answer to a question
- You may need to talk to someone and ask them to call you when you are free. Instant messages are more intrusive than emails and are harder to ignore
Companies may use Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc to communicate to customers or other stakeholders.
When to use it:
- To share photos or information
- To ask questions and generate a multitude of answers
- To answer customer complaints
- For customer reviews
Bringing it All Together
The key is to know how and when to use the different communication tools available. Therefore using them at different times and when appropriate to improve efficiencies and productivity.
Knowing when to switch off is vital, so if you need to focus on a piece of work or need some downtime, and don’t want to be disturbed then you could set your ‘Do Not Disturb’ or turn it all off.
Be guided by the experts
A Solutions Provider in communication solutions will advise and guide you on what communications technology you need for your business and its objectives. They will assist you with setting guidelines on how and when to use the tools, setting ‘etiquette’ rules and ‘duty of care’ policies on how to minimise interruptions utilising them to their potential.
Empower and set yourself free
Set yourself free from drowning in digital noise and instant gratification, and manage your portfolio of communication tools to empower you and not enslave you.
Via Strammer: Managing the Impact On Communication In the Company
Technology has greatly impacted the way people communicate in today’s digital workplace. It has offered broader reach and tools for employers and employees. According to Radicati, an estimated 269 billion e-mails were sent and received in 2017. However, along with the benefits of digital communication there are also downfalls which makes it important to implement a communication strategy within an organisation.
Problems with Digital communication in the workplace
A challenge with digital communication is that people are always “on”. Thanks to many platforms and devices for communication – internal workplace networks, Messenger, Twitter, email, LinkedIn and others, communication is constant.
However, finding a balance can be difficult. Digital communication is supposed to assist people instead of getting in the way of getting work done, especially when dealing with business partners or colleagues that work in different time zones. This makes it difficult for people to switch off.
Another challenge facing digital communication is how to manage the online workload. The number of digital platforms makes establishing what matters and what does not hard for employees and employers. It is crucial for companies to have a strong digital impact internally and externally, but many do not know how to do that and getting it wrong could have negative consequences.
Benefits of digital communication in the workplace
However, there are many benefits to digital communication in a company. It has enabled colleagues and associates from all over the world to collaborate and communicate faster therefore making them more efficient. With instant messaging solutions employees acquire an immediate response if necessary and knowledge is freely exchanged. They learn to adapt quickly their communication style according to their audience to reach colleagues or clients effectively. Understanding the person, you are communicating with is vital for internal communication. Not everyone interprets and receives information the same way.
Digital communication has also increased interaction by enabling to share results, best practices and other news. This type of sharing enhances employee engagement by making them care more about daily operations.
Strategies for strong communication in the workplace
For everyone to relate in the workplace, it is important to intently listen and engage with each other. Thus, internal communication strategies need to be implemented within a company by making clear and direct messages to be understood.
Companies need to encourage sharing information in a way that is of interest to the company by advocating face-to-face interactions. This can be done through inter-office, inter-department visits, secondments and placements internationally or nationally, and conducting objective meetings. Technology has been a way for businesses to do things cheaper and faster, nonetheless, relationship is an area you cannot skimp out of. The way we can “touch” someone is by building a relationship rather than just spending time with each other.
A way to promote strong communication is to have co-working spaces. This allows employees to exchange and bond with each other therefore, working closely together and learning new skills when trying to solve problems together.
It is also essential to modernise internal communication, especially in this digital age, to improve the organisational climate, change routines, shape new habits or to minimise misinterpretation.
Companies should find out what their communication needs are, and how it will help them meet their business objectives. To do that, employees are key. Leaders and managers should speak to them to find out what communication tools they are already using and which ones they would prefer to use to improve their work environment. Finally, guidelines need to be set up on how and where to use newly deployed communication tools. By understanding those needs, companies will improve the wellbeing of the company.
Opening a dialogue within the workplace and implementing internal communication strategies opens discussions and/or debates, allowing people to feel valued. Increased employee engagement and internal communication creates an organisation that knows about their workers and more importantly workers that know about their organisation and common objective.