In today’s high tech world, communication (or lack thereof) remains high on the list of common complaints and inefficiencies. Personal communication in the workplace affects how people interact and has a direct result on everyone's overall job satisfaction. Individuals may misinterpret communication signals, resulting in avoidance, increased sick calls, or gossiping about others.
Few organizations put communications forward as one of their strengths or core competencies. It's a perennial challenge and not to be underestimated.
Are computers, email, cell phones, or text messages the “Silver Bullet”? NO! They are simply additional tools to have in one’s toolbox and to use when appropriate.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Regular Communication -- When there is a lack of communication, one’s imagination easily fills the gap, typically with the worst-case scenario! Stay in touch as often as possible. Most people want to be on the team.
- KISS: Keep It Simple (Silly) and Short -- Everyone is busy, so do not become a pest. But you also do not only want to be known for your three page monthly status report, especially if there is bad news to be delivered.
- Oral vs. Written -- Email and other forms of written communication are great for conveying lots of data and facts with precision, but emoticons will never make up for the inflections in speech or the tone of your voice or conversation. Multiple modes of communications (written, verbal, face-to-face) are best.
- Balance -- All work and no play makes Johnnie & Jane dull people. No one likes to feel like a number or a robot. When possible, invest a minute to check to see how your teammates are feeling or how things are going outside of work.
Build your team and enhance its performance. Frequent communication does both by engaging the team in the process and by eliminating surprises.