“Communication Breakdown, It’s always the same; I’m having a nervous breakdown, Drive me insane!” – Led Zeppelin
Successful communication is an integral part of any group or team – whether it’s a school class or a FTSE 100 company – and yet it is so easy to get wrong. Here are a few tips for effective communication. (and keeping your sanity!)
When people think of communication, often the first thing they will think of is talking. Listening however, is key to so many work situations such as interviewing candidates, and solving employee problems, so it pays to remember that communication is much more a dialogue than a transmission, a two way process – not an opportunity for employees to unleash incoherent diatribes on unsuspecting colleagues!
By making listening a priority during communication, both parties benefit equally from the exchange of information. An active listener stops talking, makes eye contact with the speaker, listens openly, asks for opinions and more detail where appropriate, checks they have understood correctly and responds in an interested way.
communication is much more a dialogue than a transmission, a two way process
Attending to non-verbal communication
It’s estimated that at least 80% of all communication is non verbal. This means that the verbal part of the message we receive in fact means less than the non-verbal part. From an early age, we all learn that a person can say one thing and communicate something entirely different through their tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and use of body language, and it is these non-verbal aspects that the receiver generally picks up on. If people communicate calmly and with gestures that correspond to the message, they can avoid sending mixed signals, which can create tension and distrust.
Sending clear messages
Being clear is key to successful communication, both in terms of passing on and receiving information. A good way to ensure clarity is for both parties to repeat messages back to each other, either verbally or perhaps by email in a work environment. This allows misunderstandings to be acknowledged and addressed at an early stage before any work is undertaken and potential problems arise. Another way in which to promote clear exchange of information is to encourage open communication amongst employees. An open approach to talking, listening and emailing will help to clear up any misunderstandings.
Respecting the value of communication is of course important, but respecting others is perhaps the most important part of communication; appreciating the value of colleagues is essential to earning respect for yourself, and an environment in which people are mutually respectful is conducive to fluent communication.
Each and every one of us relies on effective communication in every aspect of our lives – how good a communicator are you?