A sales manager emailed his assistant a sales brochure for an upcoming meeting and asked her to print ten copies. The assistant got the job ready in time for the meeting. When the manager leafed through the brochures, he blew his top. It was the wrong version! The assistant was mortified because she was always on top of things. How was she to know what version he wanted, if not the one in the email?
This is a clear example of communication failure. Effective internal and external communication is essential to avoid misunderstandings, confusion, and even animosity at work. If the sales manager had clearly stated what he needed and double-checked the version of the brochure he emailed, the assistant would have had a clear sense of what was expected from her, and both would have been satisfied with the result.
The Importance of Effective Communication in the Workplace
The first and most obvious advantage of communicating effectively is that you will interact more successfully with colleagues and customers. You may even improve your chances of gaining promotion. On the other hand, poor communication reduces job satisfaction and productivity, which, in turn, impacts the business.
In times of uncertainty or change, employees can feel insecure if they are ill-informed about the impact of those changes on their roles and their morale will also be affected. As a result, they will experience a lack of trust and lower engagement and productivity levels, and absenteeism will increase.
25% saw an increase in their productivity thanks to effective communication (Pumble.com, 2021).
23% of the time engaged in business communication is spent on in-person interactions.
80% of US employees feel workplace anxiety caused by ineffective communication.
60% of workers experienced increased burnout caused by digital communication.
Barriers to Effective Communication
Some of our attitudes can act as barriers to effective communication. We should be mindful of them and try to correct them to communicate effectively. Inattention during a conversation is very common, especially when we have ten things going on at once. The lack of feedback can lead to a failure to communicate as well. Relying excessively on emails can hinder communication, sometimes a quick chat is more effective. Last, effective communication comes from the top. An organization needs role models at the top of the hierarchy that demonstrate good communication.
The 7 Cs of Effective Communication
To boost your productivity, you must deliver engaging and effective messages, whether email, calls, memos, etc. Therefore, your communication should be:
CLEAR: Let the purpose of your message stand out.
CONCISE: Keep it brief and avoid repetition and unnecessary words.
CONCRETE: Focus on your main message to give your audience a clear picture.
CORRECT: Double-check for factual errors and typos to give a polished and professional impression.
COHERENT: The message flows in a logical manner and all the key points are relevant to the key topic.
COMPLETE: Provide all the necessary information for your audience to make a decision or take action.
COURTEOUS: Keep it friendly and open and show empathy.
Listening is crucial in interpersonal communication and implies a conscious decision to understand the message. Similarly, active listening means focusing fully on the speaker without interruptions, showing interest, and providing feedback.
Asking effective questions, like open, probing, leading, or hypothetical questions, is a skill that can be acquired through conscious practice. Also, self-awareness helps you be more open to feedback and to communicate more honestly. Similarly, having empathy helps you consider your interlocutor’s perspective and show that you care.
Adaptability allows you to suit your communication style to the situation. Finally, the ability to build trust and relationships is crucial at work and in life.
Help Your Team Hone their Communication Skills in Another Language
Effective communication is key, especially when dealing with international clients and even team members from different countries. English Services provides corporate language training in the form of blended lessons, double-impact expert programs, workshops, and conversation clubs in Business English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Get in touch to find out more.