As humans we’re constantly communicating; verbally and nonverbally, digitally and in real-time. Like many of you, it’s not uncommon for me to be in the same room with a person, and also be involved in correspondence via Slack, email, project management, and social platforms. With all of the overcommunication, how on earth can we still miss the mark? How is it possible that we both convey and interpret messages improperly?
Without intending to miscommunication happens more often than not and oddly, most describe themselves as solid communicators. Our Kicks team is hiring for a Marketing Coordinator role and the single most important skill set for this role is their innate ability to demonstrate clear communication. In this and in many other functions of our team, failure to communicate adequately can result in breakdowns in product, production, team synergy and client satisfaction. In other words, it can cost a company money and momentum when any member of the team isn’t communicating effectively.
Important considerations for how you communicate:
- Relationship proximity.
- How and how well do you know and, or understand the person you’re communicating with?
- Do you understand the role you play in the relationship?
- What’s the history of the relationship?
- When in doubt, over communicate and ask for feedback to confirm understanding.
- Conversational medium.
- Is this conversation happening remotely through a platform? Example: Task management platforms are very helpful, but without true conversation, many assumptions can be made. Task structure and providing additional context go a long way to inform the other person.
- Is this conversation happening in person? If it’s face to face you’ll need to appreciate the importance of nonverbal communication. If you’re saying one thing, but your face and body are communicating alternatively, you’ll run the risk of being misunderstood.
- What’s the nature of the conversation? Professional? Casual? Social?
Here are 5 steps to strengthen communication in the workplace:
1. Be clear.
We, particularly millennials, prefer to be concise. Being crisp is important, but understanding is paramount. If it takes a more robust sentence or process to accomplish an optimal result, so be it. Plan out your communication. Be intentional. Avoid emails, writing tasks or replies written out of haste.
2. Be personable.
We are very remote. Technology empowers us to execute on the go. However, it’s best to be face to face whenever you can be. Being face to face can help team members feel more connected and instead of misconstruing text, tonality is less likely to be misinterpreted. Even if you have remote team members you can turn the camera on for meetings to be more inclusive. This also allows you to combine verbal and nonverbal communication. Be aware that your verbal and nonverbals should be aligned. Say and do the same thing. If you agree a head nod is appropriate.
Communication is a two-way street. Be aware of the role that you play. Acknowledge when it is your turn to speak, but most importantly when it is your turn to listen. People need to be heard, but also feel understood, appreciated and respected. Your ability to share the floor will reduce the likelihood of conflict and may provide insight and understanding that can dramatically improve the relationship, product or process. Be present when the other person is speaking and try to retain the important points they make.
4. Seek clarity.
Asking great questions tells the other person that not only have you been listening, but that you understood what they were saying.
The golden rule rings true. If there is conflict, address it as you’d like to be addressed. If someone performs a task well, tell that person they did well. People need praise- professionally and personally. Don’t be stingy and help others keep their mental cups full.