One of the most important factors of running a smooth operation is the communication between the parts. Just like inside a clock, every part has its function, but at the same time, it’s dependant on another one. If one of them breaks, the watch stops. It’s the same when it comes to the workplace. If the co-workers aren’t cooperating because they aren’t communicating well enough, chances of the whole organization running like a well-oiled machine aren’t that great.
Communication is the key to success. Whether you’re communicating with your consumers or between one another inside the organization it’s important to stay on the right course. We’re communicating all of the time. From conversation to body language, we inform people of our feelings and thoughts, both intentionally and unintentionally, meaning sometimes we don’t even know we’re giving feedback. That is where it gets tricky. Not knowing how to effectively communicate with your co-workers, or not knowing you’re doing it at all, can cause confusion or even problems at work, which will ultimately lead to a job not-well done or worse.
When in a regular social setting, a mishap in communication can lead to a disagreement or argument. In the work setting – it can get a little bit messier. In a competitive place, any lack of proper communication can lead to a problem. Problems can range from non-motivated employees to potential lawsuits. To make sure none of these ever happen, a workplace should be a place of mutual respect and free-flowing information so everyone benefits. How can you achieve that? Well, we’ve thought about it and have come up with a few tips on how to keep workplace communication at the highest level.
1. Make the workplace a fun environment
Most of us, when we think of a fun workplace environment, think of an office setting from the TV show The Office. Although that place seems like an endless pool of laughter, it’s a recipe for a disaster and a lawsuit. So, don’t go overboard when making a workplace a fun-zone. It is a workplace after all. There are a lot of things you could to make sure morale’s boosted. From a foosball table in a lounge area or a new vending machine, possibilities are endless. You could even hire an outside company or a consultant that specializes in these kinds of things. By making a workplace a fun place to be, you’re preventing people from having bad days and mood swings and that’ll keep the communication light and effective.
2. Don’t just talk – Listen
One of the most common problems when it comes to effective workplace communication is that people tend to forget that a conversation is a two-way street. We often get preoccupied with our tasks, we forget to listen to other people when they’re talking to us. What also happens is, when we’re in a meeting, it’s easy to get involved in your idea and dismiss everyone else’s. That is a one-way ticket to a disaster town. Everyone in the office needs to be heard and everyone in the office needs to listen as well. You could even set up something like an idea board or a chat room for employees with the help of indigoworkplace.com and keep everyone heard and well-spoken.
3. Handle conflicts immediately and diplomatically
In a case of a conflict caused by miscommunication or something else, it’s important to act right away. Conflicts are like a boiling pot of milk – if left unattended for long, it’ll boil over and create a mess. It’s easy to create a big problem out of nothing. We tend to blow things out of proportion and take things personally (which we will touch on in just a few moments), which is by no means a good thing. In case of a misunderstanding or any other problem, what you need to do is handle it right away, with a proper conversation. Ask the right question to determine the problem, talk about it in a calm, professional manner, listen to what is being told and try and reach a solution. It is often that you will find that a problem was insignificant to begin with and therefore it was easy to deal with.
4. Don’t take things personally
For a lot of us, our work is our life or at the very least – a very important part of life. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how one might take criticism of their work personally and get offended. In the workplace, it’s essential to know the difference between a work problem and a personal one. Personal problems should not exist in the workplace and vice versa. If you’re being critiqued on something you did, a mistake you made on a project – understand that it is not an attack at you and don’t take it personally. Also, do not attack the people personally because of their work performance, it’s not related to one another, not it is professional. Once you understand the difference, it’ll be much easier to communicate.
5. Don’t gossip
Even though gossiping is fun and all of us enjoy it from time to time, it’s best to refrain from it in the workplace. Like we’ve said, the workplace can be a competitive environment and a harmless gossip can feel like a personal attack or an attempt at sabotage. We do understand a juicy gossip is good for your mood and it’ll put a smile on your face, however, there’s a time and a place for it and it isn’t at work.
6. Hold meetings regularly
At this time, it might not be easy or possible to hold a sit-down meeting in a conference room, but you can still hold a team meeting via Zoom or Skype. Meetings like this are important, not only to discuss the business at hand but also because they allow people to voice their ideas or concerns. If you manage to create an environment in which everyone’s listening with an open mind, meeting like this will be the heart and soul of the successful communication and progress in your workplace.
One thing to mention is, it takes a group effort to create a pleasant working environment and efficient communication. As long as everyone is respectful to one another and willing to make an effort, everything should run smoothly.