Clear communication in the workplace almost sounds like an oxymoron since it sounds logical and easy, but really is not and doesn’t happen. If you think about how many actual relationships there are in your workplace the thought of having anything being communicated clearly to everyone is quite a feat. In our office there are six of us, this means that each person has 5 relationships (one with each of the other five) going on under one roof daily, that is a total of 30 relationships interacting each day! No wonder we have a hard time with clear communication, especially when some of our interactions are brief or hurried. At times it seems as we play the telephone game, where one person will tell one person something and then they pass it on to the next person and so on and when it finally gets to the last person, what was told to them totally different from what was originally said. With so many relationships and so much communication there are a few easy rules we can follow to make what we say clearer so that it is more easily understood.
1. When speaking to one person use their name so they know it is just them that you are speaking to, and make sure you have their attention.
2. When speaking to more than one person make sure that you have everyone’s complete attention and they are ready to listen. Don’t make a habit of repeating yourself.
3. Do not speak in vague descriptions,i.e., “Do your best today.” What does this really mean? To you one thing and to the person you are speaking to something totally different.
4. Be clear and specific with your words, make what you say concrete and solid, no room for guessing.
5. Use follow-up questions to make sure that you were not only heard, but that what you said was understood correctly. Never assume that just because you said it, that it was understood.
Communication is an ongoing challenge that we must face on a daily basis in our workplace. Look at it as a positive challenge that each person on the team should take part in creating better skills for making a better environment to work in.
Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. ~ Freeman Teague Jr.