The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw
A business is essentially a large-scale team, and every successful team needs good communication. There are many different ways to encourage healthy communication habits in employees, but below are some of our top suggestions to inspire workplace communication that results in efficient work and well-informed employees.
Prioritize your teams. Communicate the most often with your immediate team members and be sure about where you stand as a team before reporting facts to any other department. For example, if you need to get marketing materials created for your department, make sure you finalize the copy before sending it to the marketing department to design.
Consider time-management obligations. Communication is about sharing information, and sometimes that communication is made with a tangible goal in mind. If you need your team member to finish a 2-day project, don’t let them know 2 hours before the deadline. Make work requests and give “fyi’s” in advance and follow-up to make sure communication was successful.
Confirm email receipt. It’s hard to keep track of which team members have understood a message–or read an email. To make it easier for all parties, when you receive an important email, send a quick reply to let the sender know you got the message.
Keep it short but efficient. Make sure your grammar and spelling (on written communications) is correct, and your message is what you want it to be.
Schedule regular touch points. Having an open door policy is great, but regular meetings ensure communication happens and that bad news gets delivered instead of being pushed back—often creating bigger problems. Try holding open meetings, where any team member can share ideas about a particular project or strategy.
Know the communication habits of who you’re talking to. Understand both the problem and the person you’re addressing. Some people communicate better by speaking, and some prefer emails. Figure out the best way to communicate with your team and figure out if they are listeners, readers, or experiential learners.
Finally, be yourself. Don’t write a sentence in an email that you wouldn’t say in real life. Keep in mind that you are talking to your team members, not taking an oral exam on your professional speaking skills.