I used to be the worst person to teach someone about communication. You know those introverts who steer away from crowds and stay in the corner of the room during a party? Yup, that was me. I realized I had to change my approach to communication when I absolutely needed to support a team-spirit environment in my offices.
First of all, let’s get a myth busted. People think that you either have or don’t have communication skills. Introverts, in particular, don’t even bother working on this aspect of their personality because they don’t expect to get better. We can all get better.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s go through few tips. Through a lot of trial and error, I discovered approaches that worked for my workspace.
1. Start by Assessing the Current Communication Vibe
You can’t improve something before you figure out what its status is at the moment. What are the main communication means in the office? Is it email? Is it effective? Are the important messages getting suffocated under the pile of other messages?
How is the verbal communication between the employees going? Is it impossible for two people to have a private conversation without someone else overhearing? Is the good vibe present only during breaks?
Most importantly, you need to assess your own communication skills. What aspects can you improve?
Once you understand the flaws, you’ll be able to work on their improvement. If the communication is too dependent on one particular method, such as email for example, maybe it’s time to introduce a new tool.
2. Celebrate the Achievements
The positive vibes in your office will resonate much higher when the team completes a project with success. At that point, you should celebrate. Organize a cocktail party. During such a celebration, you give employees an opportunity to develop a bond, which they will bring into the office environment.
3. Ask How They Would Like to Communicate
What type of communication do your employees prefer? Should you call them in your office when you have something to say, or should you just send an email? Why don’t you just ask?
The feedback you get can help you develop a more effective communication system. If you prefer one method while most of the employees prefer another, try to meet them halfway.
4. Let Them Share Anonymous Feedback
Sometimes the employees are afraid to tell the boss what they think. Maybe they all think you should pay them more, but they don’t get the courage to ask for a raise. You should encourage them to come with any suggestions that would improve the way they work. If you notice that no one is speaking up with bold suggestions, it means they are not relaxed.
Create a suggestion box, where they can drop in anonymous messages. You don’t have to make every single one of their wishes come true. You just need to consider their point of view.
5. If You’re Dealing with Remote Employees, Start Video Conferencing
Building a relationship with remote workers can be hard. Written communication can come across as dry and confusing. Sometimes you just need to give instructions and feedback in person. Video conferencing gives you that opportunity even with remote workers.
Keep in mind that some people don’t like Skyping. A freelancer would have to dress up, do their hair, and put some makeup on in order to look presentable to the employer. If you notice that someone is uncomfortable with video conferencing, maintain the written communication and try to do it more in the form of a chat, so it will be more relaxed. However, you should definitely encourage video conferencing whenever possible. That method helps you develop a better bond with remote workers.
6. Implement Intranet Software
We’re getting so used to social media that we want to make it part of our work, too. These networks make communication easy, and that’s the main reason why people like them. You can translate the effectiveness of communication via social media into the working environment. Have you ever considered social intranet software?
It’s a private virtual environment that connects all employees. They can share ideas, have relevant discussions, share useful links, or do whatever they would do in a Facebook group. This method will definitely make the workspace communication more effective.
When you want to improve anything in your workplace, you start by assessing the current situation. From there on, you’ll be ready to change things for the better. When it comes to boosting the communication levels, the above-listed tips will help. However, don’t forget that your office has its unique culture. What works for others may not be the right thing to do for you. You’ll have to experiment with different methods and evaluate their efficiency. Eventually, you’ll find out what works for your workplace.
Robert Morris, Freelance Writer
Robert Morris is an experienced freelance writer and by that he’s a professional communicator. He’s written on topics from marketing to content. His work has appeared in LifeHack.org, AskAaronLee.com, and others.