4 tips on overcoming poor communication in the workplace

Business leaders always value ‘soft skills’— this includes the ability to communicate to a wide variety of stakeholders. As a manager, you set the standard for your team. When it comes to communication, there are a number of ways employers can lead by example to improve channels in the workplace.



1. Try more face-to-face talk

Meeting in person can be time consuming, but it avoids miscommunication that can occur when we use electronic channels like email or phone. In addition, not everyone has strong writing skills, and plenty of employees may be multitasking when viewing emails or text messages. The reality is that there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, especially when a critical issue or complex matter is being addressed. So take the time to get up and speak to your team. It’s a habit that will also give you a better chance to know what makes each employee tick.

2. Keep the message clear

Make sure your employees understand what you are saying. It may sound obvious, but if your speech is laden with jargon or technical terms, your staff members may not understand what you’re asking of them, and they may be uncomfortable seeking further clarification. It makes sense to think about the message you want to convey, and say it in the simplest way possible. If necessary, ask your staff if anything needs to be clarified or repeated – while still remaining respectful of their needs.

3. Consider your body language

Non-verbal communication can send mixed messages.  If you think about it, in face-to-face conversations having your arms crossed can make you appear defensive. Failing to make eye contact with employees may make you appear uninterested in what they have to say. Aim to give employees your full attention. Be an active listener who takes in their message – and convey your interest through your body language. Nod or provide small verbal cues to show you understand. Avoid interrupting or second-guessing what your staff members are about to say.

4. Set the benchmark

Some of your employees may have a lot to learn about interpersonal and communication skills, but as a leader in your firm it is up to you to set a benchmark. The way you speak with your staff – calmly, clearly and politely, will set an example for others to follow while reinforcing your credentials as a leader who communicates clearly and effectively. How do you interact with employees? What has worked in your firm to improve workplace communications?

This article originally appeared as The secret to overcoming poor communication in the workplace — you! on The Robert Half blog.

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