You’ve heard it a million times. The key to any successful relationship is (drum roll, please) communication!
Married couples say this. Even lifelong friends say this.
And it’s absolutely true. But it’s safe to say that there are several different types of communication that you engage with everyday.
Unless you walk into the office yelling, “Whazzup homies?!” Seems a little casual for the workplace, no?
But workplace communication is perhaps one of the most important types of communication you need to master. It’s not just about your job.
It’s about your job satisfaction and engagement at work. And when it boils down to it, wouldn’t you rather be happy at work than neutral or even hating it?
Effective communication in the workplace
Poor workplace communication is unfortunately common. This might come from senior management who lack the proper communication skills.
Or maybe internal communication tools just aren’t being taken advantage of. The communication process also requires a two-way give and take, AKA a dialogue.
So ineffective communication could also be due to one party choosing not to engage. We could keep going down the list of why effective communication doesn’t get used in the workplace.
But that seems kind of silly. After all, we’re trying to communicate why effective workplace communication is important.
(See what we did there?) Despite what you may think, there is a better way to communicate effectively at work.
No, it’s not a hopeless cause. And no, slight nods and thumbs up cannot be called workplace communication.
Well, they are technically communicating in some way. But they’re not the type of upward communication you’re probably looking for.
Types of workplace communication
What’s the first step to improve workplace communication? Breaking down the different types of workplace communications that exist.
Okay, here’s an easy one. You walk into the office and Bob from HR says, “Good morning.”
You reply back, “How ya doing?” and he says, “Good/great/fine, etc.” You could call that polite workplace communication.
But we’re talking about when good communication really counts. Good workplace communication happens when companies communicate goals daily.
It’s when employees exchange information and discuss ideas on how to improve company strategy. It’s when employees feel comfortable communicating with one another.
And each piece of knowledge they pass on is truthful and updated information. That’s good communication.
See how that’s different from your initial conversation with Bob? You could call that positive communication.
But we’re after strong communication networks that will offer constructive criticism. And increase productivity in the office.
Those slight nods and thumbs up we referred to earlier? That’s non-verbal communication.
Good communication also encompasses body language. But be careful.
This is where a communication gap can be made. You’ve tried talking to someone who had their arms crossed, right?
It’s kind of intimidating. After all, they’re literally closed off.
So when you are exchanging information with team members, make sure your body language matches what you want to get across. Stand up straight with an open demeanor.
Show your team members that excellent communication comes from verbal and non-verbal cues alike. Not only will this enhance your positive attitude.
It will also prevent poor communication from happening in the office. And it will also make downward communication feel less, well, downward.
When you’re on the phone, you probably don’t communicate the same way you would in person. Okay, maybe you would if you were video conferencing.
But phone calls often mean no visual communication. And that’s yet another communication tool you don’t have access to.
But good communication skills will allow your phone conversations to be seamless. As a communication medium, calls over the phone are meant to be direct and to the point.
And for some, it’s the right communication tool that they’re most comfortable with. You’ll find that communicating effectively also means taking into account the other person’s comfort level.
Because communication plays both ways. So whether you’re doing remote work or simply need to speak with team members, remember that proper phone etiquette is the key to effective communication.
It used to be letters and telegrams. Now, it’s text messages and exchanging an e-mail address or two.
Either way, written communication is perhaps the most common form of communication. Workplace communication, especially.
Emails are a great way of relaying ideas effectively. And numerous industries use written communication to make sure information flows upward.
But that doesn’t mean you can just write an email like you’re jotting down a note. There’s an etiquette to these things, right?
And that etiquette is the perfect way to improve communication while also demonstrating your respect. After all, you don’t want the respective owners of said email addresses to receive something along the lines of, “Smh I’m OOO today,” right?
Benefits of effective workplace communication
So what can effective workplace communication really do? Other than avoid awkward moments in the break room or hallway?
When internal communications flow smoothly, there’s a clear goal in mind. That goal likely gives every employee a job to do.
And knowing that everyone is doing their part is key to employee productivity. Communication is not just about relaying organizational goals.
But individuals goals as well. So when the work environment is productive, then employee morale gets a boost, and all because of the positive effect of communication in the workplace.
Employee job satisfaction
You may be one of the last surviving employees at a company. And if you think about it, do you know why?
It’s likely that employees left due to poor communication in the workplace. And thought they’d see what lies in greener pastures.
But that just goes to show just how important communication is not just for productivity. But for job satisfaction as well.
A simple way of boosting communication in the office is by bringing in a virtual MC to host a meeting. Not just to change it up, but maybe even moderate when things get a little stuck.
It gets tiring going into work everyday not knowing what will come next. But healthy workplace communication puts those doubts to rest and allows employees to enjoy the work they’re doing.
Employee engagement has to do with employees’ relation to their work. And such relationships – even if not with other people – require solid communication as well.
This has to do with purpose. And when there’s little communication in the office to offer up what purpose the work is achieving, then employees are less engaged to do the work.
But effective communication reminds employees of why they are there. It gives them a task and a goal to accomplish.
So not only are they engaged. They’re passionate about getting the work done because they know the bigger consequences.
Workplace communication isn’t just about employees getting along. It’s mostly about getting management organized.
With so much to manage, workplace communication can sometimes get a little mixed up. But that’s just another road to disaster.
So when effective communication is prioritized, then a smooth operation will always follow. As a general rule, good communication skills need to start from the top.
Then, trickle down. After all, they’re the ones setting the expectations for everyone else.
Meaningful relationships inside and outside the company
Some people view a job as simply a job. But when workplace communication is strong, then there are a thousand opportunities for employees to take advantage of.
Those opportunities are most often relationships both inside and outside of the company. You might find a particular connection to another employee.
Or, your good communication with a boss prompts you to make connections outside of the office as well. Before you know it, you’ve made an external contact that can help achieve the company’s current goals.
And you might even have won yourself a promotion because of it! What?
Think that’s too much of a pipe dream? Then try it out for yourself.
Positive company culture
Company culture really sets the foundation for any type of workplace communication. So if you apply that logic the other way around, then workplace communication has just as much an effect on company culture.
Some companies like to treat their employees to lunch every now and then. Others like to hire a comedian to come in and change up the energy levels in the office.
You might not think of it this way, but this is a form of communication. No, really.
It’s a show of appreciation for employees’ hard work. So even if your company doesn’t pat you on the back every time you do something well, look for these nods of encouragement.
Remember: communication comes in all shapes and forms. So look for those various forms to see just how much workplace communication influences the company culture around you.
Verbal communication is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind when we say communication. And that is the very skill that will allow you to team build like no other team could!
Team-building is, above all, about trust. And honest and transparent communication is a great way to demonstrate that trust.
Not only are folks getting the job done. They’re getting the job done together.
And that’s a real show of teamwork and shared efforts. So if your team is in need of a little tough love, try looking at the communication skills of the group.
Maybe there’s some room for improvement. And that will get the team right where it wants to be.
There are days in the office that just feel like waiting. Waiting for more information.
Waiting for the next pot of coffee to heat up. Waiting for any kind of stimulation.
But what do you think the root of those issues are? Lack of communication.
Employees need to know what’s expected of them. And when those expectations are nowhere to be seen, things get a little too lax and no work actually gets accomplished.
But good communication gives employees the tools to get their job done. And that only leads to increased workplace efficiency.
Obstacles to effective workplace communication
It’d be naive to say that communication barriers won’t crop up. Unfortunately, that’s just a part of life.
But if you’re looking to improve communication in your workplace, look for these common barriers that might be posing a threat. Sometimes, they’re obvious.
Other times, they’re a little more subtle. So be sure to take a step back and see all the challenges you can when looking to improve workplace communication in your office.
In the past year and a half, remote work has become the new hot thing. But this might mean that folks are limited by physical barriers when it comes to communication.
Even if employees are back in the office, they may be social-distancing. And that, in and of itself, is yet another physical barrier!
But fret not. There are plenty of tools for you to use that will increase employee communication.
Video conferencing and phone meetings are a great way to engage with coworkers from afar. Not to mention that they’ll also help coworkers feel closer to each other.
Even try bringing in a virtual comedian for corporate events to boost everyone’s spirits! You’ll be surprised at just how much laughter can bring folks together as yet another form of communication.
Some office lingo might not be as universal as you might think. And this could lead to a kind of language barrier amongst staff.
But making a simple cheat sheet can help employees get right on board. And get rid of any awkward encounters of, “Wait, what did you say?”
Then, there’s the bigger language barrier as in employees simply don’t speak the same language. But once again, technology can come to the rescue!
Use a translating app or even organize training sessions to help improve workplace communication amongst employees. There are always creative ways to solve these obstacles.
This is more of a symptom of poor or limited communication. But it still deserves its place on the list.
When an office is not transparent with its workers, then workers will feel a little kept in the dark. So make sure your workplace is as transparent as possible to keep communication open and accessible.
Sometimes, employees feel that they can’t communicate due to something psychological. They may be particularly stressed or have a bad attitude at work.
In these cases, it’s important to address the core of their issues. And realize that lacking communication is merely a symptom.
The key to any successful relationship
Workplace communication is one of the most important forms of communication out there. It can lead to future job opportunities or unlikely networks.
And it can teach you how to respond and react in different social settings as well. Every relationship requires that same give and take that communication necessitates.
So take a look around. And communicate what you want to gain out of your position.
Keep Reading: What Is Employee Engagement?
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.