Communication Tips for a More Productive Workforce
From mastering email etiquette to holding effective meetings, communicating well affects productivity, your personal success, and the ability to achieve wider company goals and visions. Lack of communication is one of the most significant complaints that employees have against their employers. So it’s imperative for businesses to become successful communicators in order to beat out competition and become leaders in their industries.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working in upper management or starting on your first day. Equipping yourself with the right communication tools and skills will make you a more impressive leader, team member and contributor to the company. Get started on your path to effective communication with help from these tips.
And take a moment to check out more of our productivity advice to help teams and their leaders become Productivity Ninjas.
Encourage cross-departmental conversations
Even if you know how to perform your own job well, a solid understanding of other departments and the company as a whole is an asset. You need great communication skills to participate effectively in projects, or fix problems that sit outside your area. In fact, this article by HBR argues that horizontal, or interdisciplinary, interactions among personnel are crucial. Without them you can’t create products that your customers want by tapping into talent and innovation within your company.
So what are some simple solutions?
Company-wide conferences are an ideal environment for developing or presenting big-picture goals and celebrating achievements. These meetings can include an internal performance review, outline a change programme, introduce a universal training program, such as a productivity seminar, or HR sessions on new employee benefits or tools. Showcasing different departments and talents is also a great opportunity for team members to develop and practice their facilitation skills.
Depending on the needs of your teams, open floor office spaces or lounge areas are another solution to facilitate natural and diverse conversations between members of the company. As an additional benefit, providing these spaces for employees has been known to encourage communication regardless of seniority or status. It can also encourage greater creativity and productivity during work hours.
Harness the power of communication technology
Business technology has rapidly changed the business landscape and made work more productive for many. But using the wrong or ineffective communication technology can actually contribute to confusion and wasted time. We all know the headaches, that come along with technical difficulties, confusing features and poorly constructed user-interfaces.
Many if not all businesses rely on communication through phone lines. Voice over IP can bring more efficient dialogue management between both internal staff and customers, leaving your team members with more time to actually focus on their work. This technology, when paired with call center management and call-routing capabilities, can be very effective. It also gives your team the ability to make on-the-fly calls through tablets or cellphones while away from their desks.
Project management software is another technology that can streamline communication and enhance output. It offers automated planning for deadlines and important dates, team collaboration, time tracking and internal reporting. These tools ensure that you and your teammates stay on the same page during every step of your project.
Learn how to effectively email
The right tone is essential in email. Using a tone that is amicable and concise, without appearing unprofessional or curt is essential. The tone or emails to customers is critical and your team should spend time perfecting its business email etiquette. Studies have revealed that 93% of the methods we use to communicate are nonverbal, so it’s unsurprising that so many of our work-related emails are misinterpreted. Avoid the need to apologize for your email by checking for these common mistakes before you send:
- Think about the relationship you already have with the recipient. If they don’t know you well how might they react to what you’re sending?
- Consider if your language is too brief or too wordy, as either can be a cause of confusion;
- Double check who you’ve decided to CC or BCC in the email. Copying senior people or others in private or contentious emails can embarrass the receiver and be seen as passive aggressive;
- Don’t overuse punctuation, especially exclamation marks. Are you using them too much (and appearing unprofessional or over emotional)?
It’s important to remember that no single tone or voice will be right for all emails. Much will depend on the recipient, the content and the priority. The age, personality and background context may also effect how your reader reacts to what you’ve sent them. One easy rule of thumb is to match the tone, punctuation style and word usage used by the sender. This can help them feel more comfortable during your conversation and help ideas become more easily understood and shared. The notable exception to this is when they have been inexplicably rude or hostile! At that point maybe a conversation is the right way to avert a crisis?
How does communication affect your job? How could it be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
By Michayla Reston
Michayla is a business communications online content specialist who writes on business technology and trends.