Poor communication can be the downfall of an otherwise successful business. This factor can derail productivity, cause tension among team members, and diminish job satisfaction.
Whether you work in a large business with numerous employees or a small remote team, communication is the key to success. Here are six simple tips for improving business communications and reaping the subsequent rewards.
Use The Right Tools
Having the right tools in place makes all the difference in the digital world. The internet has dramatically altered how we interact with one another and conduct business. It’s created a set of expectations surrounding accessibility and availability, particularly in the workplace.
With great tools at your disposal, you can streamline communications and ensure everyone is on the same page. In these unprecedented times, it’s integral to have the ability to stay in touch from anywhere.
Provide your team with everything they need to stay up-to-date on company happenings and client work. These tools could include anything from a fax app for iPhone to instant messaging software to cloud-based document storage and project management software.
Create Clear Policies
While having the right tools is a top priority, creating clear policies around how those tools are used is a close second. For example, someone may receive a Slack message after hours thanks to having constant connectivity, but they shouldn’t be expected to respond until working hours.
Drafting clear policies that help manage expectations surrounding when people will respond and how tools should be used is a must. This clarity prevents frustration and misunderstandings that make tools a hindrance rather than an asset.
It’s also integral to have policies about time off, setting online and offline notifications, and what factors may alter the baseline expectations (such as a project deadline).
Use The Seven Cs Of Communication
Once you’ve outlined the tools and expectations, it’s time to address the best practices when it comes to communication. A simple way to educate and remember communication etiquette is to learn the Seven Cs. When following the Seven Cs, communication should be:
What does this mean in real life? It means that an email shouldn’t be long-winded and verbose with inaccuracies and a demanding tone. It should be simple, brief, and polite, with care given to spell checking and ensuring everything is accurate.
Nourish A Collaborative Culture
Communication should be a core element of your company culture. The best way to accomplish strong communication within your organization is to nourish a collaborative culture.
Give your team opportunities to connect and learn more about one another. Help them understand each other’s roles and how they contribute to the organization.
As a leader, it’s important to see employees as individuals with their own motivations and aspirations, then help them actualize their goals. Creating a culture that prioritizes support and active listening will help your team communicate better out of a sense of mutual respect.
Limit Email Communication
It’s estimated that the average employee spends up to 28% of their workweek on email. For a progressive approach to improving communication, consider limiting email back and forth and having clear directives about how people should get in touch.
This effort ties back into having the right tools in place to foster clear communication. If you have an instant messaging platform, cloud storage, and project management software, there should be limited need for email. Consider setting email blockers that allow staff to check only once or twice per day.
Make Meetings Count
Meetings can be frustrating and disruptive if not executed properly. First, determine the validity of each meeting before putting it on the schedule. Sometimes it’s better to work face-to-face to sort out an issue. Other times, it can be a quick update email or message thread.
Create structure around meetings that give everyone a chance to speak and share their insights, setting limitations around those who tend to dominate the conversation. Every meeting should end with clear action items, the people responsible for completion, and a deadline.
Use these six tips to start improving communication in your team or business today.