Whether you are a supervisor, manager or CEO, effective communication with employees is essential to business success. Your interaction with co-workers affects how they see you and how they react to organizational announcements. A recent study showed 85 percent of your financial success is due to your ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. A key issue for leaders is building trust within their team. One of the easiest ways to gain trust is having effective communication and openness in the workplace allowing for employees to voice their concerns. Listed are five tips to help improve your communication style.
1. Listen carefully
Leaders need to really listen and let others speak without interrupting them. A good way for others to know you are listening is to repeat back the question they asked before giving an answer. Repeating information can also help clarify issues if anything was misunderstood. Listening is the first step to making you an effective communicator and it helps show your employees that you truly care about their ideas and well-being.
2. Use positive eye contact and body language
Our non-written and nonverbal cues often tell people more than we realize. Are you trying to have an open discussion, but your arms are crossed? This body language tells employees you are closed to arguments and your arms are acting as a barrier. A genuine smile shows people you have a positive outlook and are creating a friendly work environment. Eye contact shows you have staff attention and maintaining eye contact shows you are listening.
3. Put away distractions
When having a meeting with a group or having a one-on-one with an employee turn your smartphone off and set it to the side. Ask staff to put away phones, turn off Wi-Fi devices and close laptops during non-technical meetings because distractions hinder an individual’s listening skills. Employees want your undivided attention, so don’t check emails when you are meeting with them. Physical distractions in the room such as bad lighting, poor sound from electronic presentations or uncomfortable seating can also hinder a meeting’s productivity.
4. Tailor your message to your audience
You made need to step into the audience’s shoes and modify your message depending on your audience’s educational background, mindset or viewpoint. You want to make sure the respect of the audience is maintained and emotions are not harmed. Forty-six percent of employees rarely leave a meeting knowing what they’re suppose to do next, so clear precise communication is important. If you are talking to hourly employees about a handbook rule change you would show more empathy towards the audience than if you were talking to the board about how the rule change is affecting staff. Your tone and word choice would also vary depending on the conversation.
5. Give encouragement
When staff is having a hard time, whether it’s personal or work related, give them encouragement. Encouragement will boost confidence and help employees surpass their problems and limitations. It will also reinforces the right thing to do when someone has to make a tough choice in a situation and shows they are on the right track. When an employee does a job well done, give them recognition using a employee recognition software. Giving praise will show your team that you are paying attention and that you appreciate their hard work. Encouragement will build team loyalty and help employee retention.
Breakdowns in communication happen everyday and can cause anger, hurt feelings and project failure which is why leaders need to improve their communication skills. Leaders have to bridge the gap between words and completion of projects as well as solve disgruntled employee issues. Effective communication is the key to making your workplace a positive and friendly environment.