Words are only a small portion of how we communicate with one another. Yet the value of other forms of communication is often overlooked. Learn more about four different types of communication, and how using them effectively can improve performance, morale, teamwork and success in your business.
Communication Types and How to Improve Each One
- Verbal (In-Person) Communication. Whenever possible, use face-to-face communication in the workplace to eliminate many of the misunderstandings that can occur. Speaking directly with someone in person allows both of you to see and hear the bigger picture. As you or your team member speak, you can see each other's facial expressions and body language. The emphasis on focusing on one another and the conversation promotes a feeling of value and credibility. You may think it will take longer for you to leave your office and walk to the other end of the building to speak face-to-face with someone. But having one quick conversation rather than a multitude of emails can actually make it more efficient in the end.
- Body Language & Facial Expressions. As mentioned above, your body language and facial expressions play a vital role in how effective or ineffective you are at communicating with staff members. Eye contact makes people feel acknowledged as they talk and listen. A relaxed stance with your arms by your sides encourages employees to feel comfortable in a meeting. If you rehearse what you're going to say before a meeting, do so in front of a full-length mirror so you can see if what your body language says matches up with your words. Employees will receive your words more positively if your facial expressions and body language don't put them on edge or the defensive.
- Phone Conversations. Use of the phone is a common part of most every business day. Some people enjoy talking to team members by phone. Others dislike it so much that they put it off until the last minute. If the staff you lead is remote and spread out throughout the state, country or world, the phone will be a vital communication tool. You can positively impact the effectiveness of your phone communication by doing three simple things. Smile while you talk (in an appropriate conversation, of course); it sounds silly, but it gives your voice a friendlier tone. Take notes before the conversation and use them to ensure you cover all points. Finally, speak clearly and slowly so your words are understood.
- Written Communication. Emails, memos and notes are common forms of written communication. Of all four communication styles, this is the one that can lead to the most misunderstandings. People often read between the lines or feel that there are implied messages or emotions in written forms of communication. In a workplace situation, this should and can be avoided. Before you send an email to your employees, distribute a memo or post an important notice on the staff bulletin board, have an objective pair of eyes read it first. A business coach or mentor can look over your written communication and and provide constructive criticism and helpful suggestions.
Communication between you and your team will always be a work in progress. The tips in this blog post can assist you in becoming more mindful about your written communication while providing you with strategies for improvement. If communication between you and your staff has been problematic, you can zone in on the trouble spots and learn how to change them by working with a business trainer or coach.