Clear and concise communications lead to a more productive workplace and happier employees who work well together. Messages are not open to interpretation when you deliver specific instructions. By eliminating indirect communications, you are creating a more pleasant work environment and making better use of your time and that of your employees
Present your directions clearly, leaving no room for interpretation. Provide specific times and dates if you’re under a deadline. Detail your instructions precisely, leaving out extra words or nonessential information.
Monitor your body language diligently when communicating with co-workers or subordinates. For example, if you are delivering specific directions take your hands out of your pockets and look employees in the eyes to illustrate the seriousness of your message. If you are trying to convey a new idea to a manager, stand erect and let your enthusiasm show in your facial expressions and your hand motions.
Ask open-ended questions when you don’t understand what your manager or co-workers are saying. Tell them you don’t understand and need an example of what they’re talking about. Explain that you are unclear about a request and need clarification. Maintain your questioning until you are certain you understand the directions.
Approach your co-workers and subordinates in a manner that is suited to their personalities. In a diverse workforce, you can’t always use the same tone or language with every employee. For example, quiet, reserved staffers may require additional one-on-one time if they become embarrassed when addressed in a meeting. It will pay off, since the employee’s embarrassment will block any information you have to impart. Some workers need to receive constant affirmation that they are valued, so instructions and reprimands must be tempered with positive words for the person to hear the important message.
- Survey your workforce to identify those employees who cannot write clearly or have repeated problems with customers and co-workers misunderstanding their written and oral communications. Hold training sessions that teach the standard use of English. Include training in speaking and writing. According to HR Professionals of Memphis, if employees are not willing or able to master clear communication skills, it may behoove you to let them go because they are affecting your profit margin.
- Be careful about gossiping in the workplace. You may think you are building relationships and earning the confidence of your co-workers or employees, but in actuality, you’re painting yourself as untrustworthy and unprofessional.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."