Effective Communication in the Workplace

Effective Communication in the Workplace

You worked until 2 a.m. last night gathering and analyzing the data your boss wants to include in an important sales pitch meeting this morning. Now she is staring at your work in disbelief because the figures are all wrong. The data you worked on came from the 2013 fiscal year instead of the 2014 fiscal year.

Somebody messed up. But who? Where did the line of communication break down? More importantly, what do you do now, only minutes before the meeting? Furthermore, who needs to be held accountable for this miscommunication and how do we avert this problem in the future?

Four Key Areas Of Focus

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization. With it, things move smoothly and goals are accomplished. Without it, careers can suffer and entire businesses can go under.

To facilitate effective communication in the workplace, focus on the following four key areas.

  1. Training
    It is important to realize that as a leader, effective communication in the workplace is a skill that frequently must be learned. Take classes from an expert in the field or digest literature that specifically targets effective communication. This will help you to continually focus on what you should be doing to achieve your desired outcomes as well as that of your followers.
    Outside expertise can prove invaluable in the area of soliciting open and honest feedback. Especially if you are in a position to receive this feedback from leaders, peers, and subordinates. Ask them for input as to how you communicate, and where your skills have room for improvement. At first, this may feel like a daunting experience, but if you don’t take it personally, it can be a growth experience for you.
  2. Goal-setting
    It is important to write out clear and concise goals to achieve effective communication in the workplace. Once your goals are written down, share them with your co-workers. The benefits of this exercise is that you can ask for feedback, get it, and proceed. It is always easier to achieve your goals when everyone has a clear understanding of direction – where they are going and why.When your co-workers understand your goals and how they relate to the goals of the organization and to them personally, they can give you more accurate information necessary to achieve those goals.
  3. Strengths and Weaknesses
    Define and communicate your strengths and weaknesses. This will increase your confidence to operate in your strengths, and give you the opportunity to improve in your weak areas. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to circumvent your weaknesses. Let your people help you.This exercise is particularly appropriate when working in teams. It is useful to assess and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the whole team in order for people to support each other in those areas. As proven in sports, stage a regular ‘huddle’ with your team to check signals and make necessary adjustments in the game plan.
  4. Time Management or Event Management
    It is important to have a schedule and communicate that schedule to your co-workers. If you have your schedule available for co-workers to view, they will know when you have time available for them.Let people know ahead of time how much time you have for them. This will help both of you to effectively plan. Avoid someone expecting two hours of your time when all you have is twenty minutes.Clear and concise direction coupled with an understanding of the time constraints and challenges of your followers goes a long way to collaboration and performance improvement.

Given these key areas as a leader to focus on, you are now more capable of improving workplace communication and isn’t that what you were hired to do? The call to action here is: continually communicate effectively with those around you, and choose to be conscious of improving your communication skills. The health of your career could depend on them. More importantly, the value that you bring to your organization will be reflected by your leadership skills.

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