Effective communication keeps professional and personal relationships going. With excellent communication skills, one gets to know another person’s feelings and thoughts. They get to agree on a few aspects since they exchange thoughts with each other.
It is also one of the concerns in the workplace. A 2016 study finds that more than two-thirds (69%) of managers in the poll find it uncomfortable to speak with their employees. Meanwhile, half of their employees do not get clear procedures in working.
It is even a different case with remote workers. According to studies, remote workers still feel left out from their company, the cost of flexible remote working.
Over the years, poor communication skills have cost businesses a lot. This is why establishing good communication is important, especially when handling a remote workforce.
Definition of effective communication
The term “communication” has a lot of definitions. All of these involve the exchange of thoughts and information from one vessel to another. Meanwhile, “effectiveness” means being able to produce a desired result or output from something.
Effective communication, therefore, is the exchange of information while delivering and understanding its message successfully. It uses different mediums such as speaking, hearing, and writing and involves different channels like telephone, text messages, emails, letters, social media chats, etc.
This involves more than just sharing messages. Other aspects are also observed, such as:
- Tone and intonation
- Body language
- Hidden meaning
Why is it important?
Good communication impacts the relationship between the sender and their audience. It can strengthen or weaken the connection between friends, family members, or colleagues. Whatever the situation, we express our feelings and insights through a different approach.
The proper delivery of our message keeps the audience from misinterpreting us. It also avoids having conflicts and tension in every argument we face.
It also helps us get to know our audience through their words, expression, and actions.
Categories of communication
Communication has different categories as a form of delivery. Those are:
- Verbal. This involves speaking to a person physically or virtually, such as through phone calls, physical talks, radio, television, and virtual conferences.
- Non-verbal. Movements such as body language, gestures, posture, mannerisms, and physical contact with another person.
- Written. Letters, email, chats, social media, books, magazines, and other media that involve writing.
- Visuals. This refers to graphs, charts, paintings, maps, and other visual imageries.
Methods for ensuring successful communication
Improving communication in the workplace is essential for improving employee engagement. A deep understanding of everyone’s thoughts and ideas ensures that the organization and the employee underneath them are on the same page.
When a message is transmitted and received correctly, the communication is said to be effective. But a successful exchange inside your workplace does not only work as simple as sharing ideas and information.
Here are some methods to ensure good communication in the company:
Make a speech plan
Before you say something, consider it. If you’ve planned ahead of time, thoroughly thought out, and established what you want to say and get out of the conversation, it will be more effective.
Set up a meeting
Meetings are still one of the most efficient ways to communicate with a group. During the session, the entire team gets the opportunity to convene and discuss current concerns. Each team member has the opportunity to share their thoughts and discuss their accomplishments.
Take responsibility, and don’t hesitate to begin talking right away. Face-to-face conversations are preferable to avoid any unnecessary misconceptions. Ensure that your message is clear and understandable to your target audience.
Pay attention to feedback
The ability to listen to each other is one of the most challenging aspects of good communication. Always listen and pay attention to what the other person is saying and ask if you don’t understand.
Before you respond, double-check that you’ve heard and understood everything accurately.
Avoid excessive repetition
Don’t get carried away with your language if you want your colleagues to understand your views. Tell your coworkers and customers what you want them to know quickly and precisely, and then ask if everything is clear.
The five C’s of effective communication
To communicate effectively, we must know and understand the principles of communication, such as:
The sender must deliver the message to the recipient. They should use short sentences in an active voice. Lessen using fluff and buzzwords. Delivering a concrete message helps the recipient to act on it appropriately.
The message should be easily understandable. Avoid using complex sentences and language. To avoid confusion, focus on a single objective instead of cramming a few ones in a single idea. This helps the recipient get the message fully and clearly.
The message should go directly to the point and in the least possible words. Simplify the language to make it more understandable. This helps keep the recipient’s attention at bay and retain the message in their head.
Deliver the message completely. Provide all the information necessary that the receiver needs to know. State facts and back it up with adequate data to make it more effective. An incomplete message can add confusion to the recipient and might get misinterpreted.
Consider the recipient in delivering the message. It should not be disrespectful or offensive on their part. Instead, this should have a positive impact on them. Avoid biases and include terms that show respect, such as preferred designation and greetings.
Skills for effective communication
Talking with the team or the company’s customers efficiently comes from continuous practice and cultivation. An effective communicator usually possesses skills such as:
First, good communication comes from active listening. Focus on what the speaker says and take note of all the details. Do not just speak without fully understanding the context of the message. This approach minimizes misunderstandings and makes a better connection within the company, as well as the brand’s customers.
Aside from speaking, good communication also involves gestures and body language. An active listener also observes the facial expression, postures, tone, and eye contact of the speaker. Practice acting naturally when speaking with another person. A more relaxed gesture and tone indicate that the listener is interested in what the speaker says.
Questions and feedback
The listener must ask questions to the speaker whenever something needs to be clarified. The speaker, meanwhile, should be open to constructive criticisms and suggestions whether through email, calls, or personal talk. This helps increase engagement and tells the speaker that their contribution is valid.
Both parties should be aware of and show empathy when communicating. Active listening gives an understanding of what the speaker is going through. Awareness, meanwhile, tells the speaker to be sensitive about what they say and how they say it. Show empathy by understanding and respecting each other’s points of view.
Choosing the right medium
Lastly, some conversations should be done in an appropriate medium. For instance, serious conversations should be in person or through email, when one or both of them are busy. Short personal conversations, meanwhile, are through text or chat messages. Choosing the right medium indicates courtesy and thoughtfulness to the person speaking.
Effective communication in a remote workplace
The increasing manpower demand of SMEs and technology advancement gave way to the rise of business process outsourcing and remote workers. However, with these advancements, the challenges in talking with each other have also increased.
In a study by Harvard Business Review, remote employees feel more left out with their company since they work away from the office. This is why more people are pointing out the importance of good communication in BPO companies.
Communicating our thoughts, insights, and feelings improves business connections. It also creates a good working environment. An employee who can share their insights in the workplace can feel that they matter in improving the company’s operation.
With this, they engage more in meetings, brainstorming, etc. This is important, especially when working with a remote team since the employees rarely see their coworkers.
Otherwise, they tend to disconnect from their team. This disconnection might turn to dissatisfaction, which can make them leave the company. Worse, this might create a negative work environment for everyone, which affects the overall team performance.
In a call center or business process outsourcing firm, especially those who are fielding customer calls, good communication skills are important to resolve customer concerns. Call center agents should fully understand the situation of their customers to help them resolve their issues.
Call center agents who are listening attentively and giving knowledgeable answers help establish a good relationship between the customer and the company, which helps in retaining their loyalty.
Barriers to communicating effectively
Employees in an office setting may face different hindrances in communicating. This includes the following instances:
- Loss of attention. Checking out social media, chatting away with another person, or looking away while someone is talking are indications that a person does not pay attention to the speaker.
- Judging the person. The audience does not listen effectively to the speaker when they criticize, demean, or judge them. This goes the same when the speaker does this to the audience.
- Too much technical jargon. Unless the speaker is talking to a leveled audience, using too many technical terms in their message can confuse them. Simplify the language to deliver the message.
- Avoiding feedback and concerns. A conversation is a two-way process. When the speaker avoids listening to their audiences, they don’t address the feelings and insights of their audiences.
A remote team works the same as a physical team in the office. However, additional hindrances like time zone and language and cultural differences apply to them.
Necessary skills for online communication
Virtual and faceless communication requires skills to effectively communicate with the audience. These are:
- Proper netiquette. When communicating online, everyone must follow proper internet etiquette, or “netiquette.” Respect their online privacy, respond to email when needed, and don’t share unreliable facts online.
- Simple language. Use simple language when communicating online. Do not use too many technical terms in an email. Also, avoid using colloquial ones. Learn to sound formal when reaching out to employees.
- Active listening. This should also apply when doing video conferences. Wait for the person in the line to finish before replying. There might be delays in the call due to the connection, so wait for a few seconds to avoid overlapping.
- Building an online persona. Establish a favorable online persona by communicating with employees properly.
Areas where communication is vital to your company
Effective exchange of ideas within a company fosters a sense of common purpose among team members, allowing them to achieve their objectives. Here are four compelling reasons to give importance:
Effective communication in a group setting is critical because these sessions allow employees to discuss strategies, develop ideas, celebrate accomplishments, and analyze failures. If business meetings were mismanaged, it could be a waste of time for a company.
The success of workplace conversations is related to understanding the essential principles of having good corporate communication skills.
Presentation and communication skills that are well-developed will improve your positive identity, increase your capacity to influence others, allow you to advance your career more quickly, and take the opportunity to communicate effectively.
A sales pitch is between sales agents and prospective customers. Customers must be able to comprehend your items to believe in them and eventually purchase them. Keep your sales pitch brief and direct to the point.
Team building activities
Employees must communicate in ways that foster team cohesion to function effectively as a team. Companies can use team building to examine and recognize their own and their coworkers’ behaviors.
Frequent friendly contact can aid in the development of a sense of belonging and the strengthening of connections among team members.
Best practices in communicating effectively
Build a communication process
Build an excellent conversation strategy with the team. Streamline where they can inquire and express concerns, how they will reach out through email and messaging platforms, and what times they can reach the person out.
Use proper communication tools
Agree on what tools are needed to speak to the rest of your team. Messaging platforms such as Skype can hold video calls and conferences. Collaboration tools like Slack can streamline conversations based on topics, projects, etc. Other conference platforms such as GoToMeeting enable screen sharing.
One of the important things in communicating with a remote team is building trust. For assurance, use screen monitoring tools to periodically track their work and productivity. However, let them do their work and do not control them too much.
Open time for sharing feedback
Open a time where they can share feedback from everyone’s outputs. Hold a video conference or have a thread where they can post constructive comments. Or, open a GSuite account to let them comment directly on the document.
Let employees engage with each other
Let employees have a casual talk away from work. Set aside a time where they can engage with each other through chat. Let them discuss anything freely, from sports to fashion to politics. Give them time to bond after work.
Maintain proper netiquette when communicating
Set standard rules to maintain respect for each other. Impose a penalty or a warning to an employee that violates the rules. Let them build their online persona to fully get to know them.
Hold online meetings at a specific time
Considering the time zone differences for remote employees is necessary. Agree on a specific time to hold monthly meetings for their progress. Ask them if they have any difficulties in doing a task. Let this be a time to hear each other, even virtually.
Organize virtual team building activities
Lastly, nothing can make their bond stronger but team building. Set a mini-game where they can interact and have fun with each other. Organize activities to boost their confidence and camaraderie.