Communication is an inseparable part of our lives. It is how we express ourselves, how we understand each other and how we convey opinions. Communication forms the crux of the smooth working at all workplaces and can really boost morale. When members are able to communicate effectively with each other, the experience at the workplace is better. It is one of the most important factors for success at an individual level as well as for success of a project. Hence, developing effective communication strategies has become a major part of having a good workplace environment.
Good communication skills are perceived as an inherent quality. But, with the right attitude to learn and a little bit of practice, this skill can be acquired by anybody who wishes so.
Types of communication strategies:
- Verbal – This includes both spoken and written communication using words.
- Non-verbal– This refers to the body language, gestures, tone of the voice, etc.
- Visual – This type of communication means visual cues such signs, graphs, pictorial representation, etc.
Below, we will discuss some of the effective communication strategies:
1. Active listening
This is an often overlooked part of communication skills. But in recent times, organizations have acknowledged the importance of listening in effective communication. Active listening means not just hearing what is being said but really understanding the message being given. As a part of active listening, it is important to convey to the speaker that you are understanding what they are saying by nodding your head or saying the appropriate things. These also help you in actually paying more attention to the conversion.
2. Asking the correct questions
It is important to ask the right questions during a conversation. It promotes better understanding. It helps a healthy exchange of information where all members in a conversation contribute to the discussion.
3. Team building exercises
Team building exercises are a great way to improve communication. It also helps to make the members understand how important effective communication is. The importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills can be highlighted during strategically planned team building activities. Coworkers get to know each other which is a great way to improve healthy communication.
4. Trainings or Knowledge sharing sessions
Trainings can be organized wherein the members learn something by two-way interactive method. Team members can be encouraged to contribute to knowledge sharing sessions. This is true especially for technical know-how. However, it can be used to learn other things too.
5. Visual representation of information
Sometimes seeing is more effective than listening, and showing is more powerful than just telling. Visual representation of important information is a good way to help people get the gist of the matter well. Complex information represented using graphs and pie charts or other visual cues stays in the mind for a longer time.
6. Open discussions
A briefing session where one person talks and others listen is not as effective as an open meeting where everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions and ask questions. Have a clear agenda and make sure everyone invited for the meeting is aware of it. Encourage everyone to speak out, but try to stick to the agenda as much as possible for a successful discussion with a positive outcome.
7. Strategically planned communication
Business communication should be planned well to get the desired results. As an organization and as an individual, the communication should be seamless. Individuals within an organization need to be given clear information as to what needs to be done to achieve the required results. It takes some amount of careful planning and classification of information so that people at different levels are exposed to the appropriate information to help them work better.
8. Transparent communication
It is very important to have transparent communication in order to build trust among the members of an organization. Leaders need to be vocal about the expectations from members and also about commending good efforts. People who work in organizations that encourage transparent communication are generally happier and work more efficiently.
Appreciate the audience. If you are a leader in an organization, make sure you recognize their efforts. Appreciate the contribution of others in the small and big successes of a project.
10. Develop emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence forms the basis of a thorough understanding and evaluating the emotional responses to situations. It also refers to monitoring and controlling your own feelings in an emotionally charged situation. With increased ability to understand emotions, communication becomes better. People with good emotional intelligence have the ability to respond better to others’ emotions.
11. Email communication
Do not underestimate the role of emails in communication. Emails are extensively used at workplaces today. But with the ‘tone’ missing, unlike spoken words, emails can often be misunderstood. Hence, it is important to learn the technique of writing emails that are unambiguous, clear, concise, and polite.
12. One-on-one communication
There are situations when communication is better done between two people (from the same level in the hierarchy or from different levels). Examples of situations which need this are complaints, misunderstanding, negative feedback, etc. Even though, these are not pleasant situations, this type of communication is important to ensure that people talk about the conflicts and resolve them instead of bottling it up.
13. Have a schedule for meetings
It helps immensely to have a schedule for meetings, except when a situation demands unplanned meetings. When people know when the discussion is going to happen, they are better prepared with what they want to say. They have enough time to know about the things that will be discussed, so they are better able to understand and follow the discussion.
14. Sense of humor
A good sense of humor helps one to sustain good relationships, both in the society and also at the workplace. It serves as a remedy for worries. Work life is complex. Humor relieves stress and helps in keeping an optimistic attitude in life. A little humor in communication at the right time can help loosen a tense moment, can keep the motivation of the team up during difficult times, and can also help building lasting relationships.
Effective communication strategies can bring about a positive change at a workplace. People enjoy working at a place where they feel that they have a say in matters. With the strategies given above, it os possible to have a friendly, workplace with a healthy communication at all levels.