When a team is communicating well, it functions smoothly. Projects are completed quicker and more professionally and the workplace becomes a calm and supportive environment. Here are ten tips to consider when you’re thinking about communication within your business.
1. Use The Right Channel
The method of communication should be fitting for what you’re trying to convey. A simple statement might work best in a meeting but if there’s a lot of information to get across, it’s better to write it down so the recipient has the time and space to absorb everything properly.
2. Know Your Audience
Everyone has their own particular position in the hierarchy of a business. Being aware of each person’s different role makes it easier to adapt your communications to ensure that you’re always delivering the right message to the right audience in the right way.
3. Get To The Point
Be direct and clear about what you’re saying, don’t bury the most vital part of your message inside a vast outpouring of secondary information. Think about what it is that your recipient needs to know and place it in the position of most prominence.
4. Be Engaged
If you’re in a team meeting, don’t spend all your time looking at your phone. If you’re delivering a presentation, don’t slouch or stand with your hands in your pockets. The written equivalent of this is an email that contains glaring typos and grammatical errors – they make it seem as though you don’t care enough to notice. If English isn’t your strong point, don’t forget to spell-check.
5. Avoid Industry Jargon
A certain amount of industry terminology can be useful shorthand but it can also alienate people who aren’t familiar with it. You don’t want to exclude anyone by being too exclusive. Before you use an insider term or acronym, make sure that everyone’s ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.
6. Avoid Corporate Speak
Steer clear of phrases like ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. They’re too vague and generally serve to obscure what it is you’re trying to say. For example, if you’re referring to a graphic designer then say: ‘graphic designer’ rather than a ‘content creation resource’. If your recipient has to decipher what you mean it adds an extra obstacle to them understanding what you’re trying to convey.
7. Make A Communications Plan
Putting together a firm set of guidelines for your communications will help keep everyone on track and avoid ambiguity. Setting parameters and defining objectives keeps everything consistent and will go a long way to creating a strong business identity.
8. Be Nice
Be considerate to the people around you. Respect their confidentiality and don’t put potentially sensitive information where everyone can see it. It’s good practice to be polite and well mannered too – things like sending an acknowledgment of receipt to an email can make all the difference in a close working environment.
There are lots of stories about people writing vitriolic messages about someone and then sending it to them by accident. Check what you’ve written – are you being nice? Does it fit with the company’s Communications Plan? Are you sending it to the right person? The best way to avoid the instant terror that comes when you press the send button is to check everything until you’re absolutely sure you’ve not made a mistake.
10. Encourage Feedback
This can act as a useful gauge to see whether your message is getting through. If someone has misunderstood or they need some extra direction, it’s a good indication that your method of communication isn’t as effective as it should be. Always listen to what people have to say and ask open-ended questions to get them involved. So…
Have you got any other golden rules or sure-fire techniques that have proved valuable to you in business? We’d love to hear about them.