To encourage your team to perform at their best, it’s vital to develop effective communication strategies in the workplace. It takes more than good intentions to create an environment where employees feel seen and heard. Here are eight ways to encourage better communication among your team.
1. Use Effective Communication Tools
Because remote working is so pervasive, it’s more important than ever to incorporate technology in your internal communication strategy. The communication tools you choose will depend on the complexity of the messages and ideas you need to convey.
- Email is the unrivaled king of informal, written communication between people. It is effective both for complex questions and simple back-and-forth within a team.
- Instant messaging apps distill that kind of quick interchange even further to rapid, real-time conversation.
- Video conferencing and collaboration software are excellent tools for communication between large groups of people or about detailed topics.
- Internal chat tools give team members a virtual place to let down their hair, interact informally, and create good relationships.
Audio/visual gear and complicated equipment is no longer necessary to create professional quality video content that can be shared asynchronously and used as a resource.
See how CloudApp integrates with Lucid to enable teams to bring clarity and speed to their visual work. Learn more.
2. Be Open to Feedback
It is important to be open to your team’s feedback so you can adjust your communication strategy to match their needs. No one likes criticism, but constructive criticism is an important part of effective communication.
Pay careful attention to the speaker and note nonverbal cues, such as nodding. Encourage the speaker to be comfortable enough to communicate concerns. If the feedback is negative it can lead to difficult conversations, so be receptive and non-defensive. However, even harsh criticism can improve the relationship If presented respectfully and discussed without rancor.
Conversely, sometimes it’s necessary for you to provide constructive criticism to your team. There are strategies that will prevent this from hurting a worker’s drive to improve. Be specific and include some positive comments with the criticism. Give the worker a map to better performance. Be careful to keep these conversations private, so your colleague can receive your feedback in a dignified way.
3. Use Visuals
Visual communication uses graphics and diagrams to share and illustrate thoughts and ideas to the recipients. Visual communication can enhance the delivery of a verbal message. It provides something people can see and act on, improving productivity.
Visual communication software helps you create this kind of communication in a simple and reliable format. It’s also a dependable way to share images and content asynchronously, which is important in the new remote-work landscape.
4. Make Time for One-on-Ones
One-on-one meetings can help you make sure each member of your team feels engaged and connected. One of the most effective ways to foster face-to-face interaction among remote workers is to schedule — and consistently keep — appointments for video calls and check-ins.
5. Create an Open Environment
The culture of the company has a lot to do with the way team members communicate with leaders and each other. A formal, tightly-controlled atmosphere does not encourage people to be open and share their progress or challenges. Meetings should be egalitarian. Make sure everyone feels welcome to speak.
Humor is also a great tool to break down barriers between people. A flash of appropriate humor can disarm employees and create an atmosphere of teamwork. Adding a little fun helps, too. Engage the audience with contests that people want to participate in or games that give teammates the opportunity to wind down together.
None of this is possible if the people at the top don’t buy in. Avoid sending inconsistent messages. A culture where some leaders are friendly and informal and others discourage free communication will halt any nascent attempts at good communication. Train your management to lead their teams in ways that will foster effective communication.
6. Meet with Employees In Person
Meeting in person helps to build genuine connections with your team. It can also reduce misunderstandings because you have more opportunities to observe someone’s nonverbal cues, body language is harder to interpret when connecting with someone over the phone. Experts say that nonverbal signals make up 70-93% of all communication. No matter how skillfully crafted your words are, they can’t overcome the negative signals your body language is sending.
Nonverbal communication includes facial expressions, body language, and even tone of voice. It’s important to be mindful of your own non-verbal communication and body language, even when connecting with someone on a video call. Be careful about fidgeting or doodling in meetings because that indicates you’re not really listening to the speaker. Avoid letting your attention wander or checking your phone, because these are obvious signs that you’re not paying attention.
7. Give Clear Instructions
People communicate in different ways and it’s important to make sure you’re getting through to your employees. If you’ve cultivated an open environment, it will feel natural for your team to ask follow-up questions and seek guidance when needed.
8. Recognize Achievement
When your team achieves a goal or does something good, it’s important to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments as a group. This creates more opportunities for bonding and shared experiences, which supports a culture of good employee communication. Providing positive feedback boosts workers’ confidence in their abilities and motivates them to continue to work hard and improve their performance.
Creating an atmosphere of open interaction and support results in highly engaged employees who will work harder to perform and achieve more for the company.