Good managers understand the benefits of effective communication with their employees. They appreciate that it is not simply the benefits of passing on information that adds value, but the rapport that is built when people feel fully involved.
To ensure that communication is effective, there are some simple actions a manager can take, the benefits of which will far outweigh the effort required.
Here are 7 simple ideas that will help:
1. Use Listening as Your First Priority
Before you even think of what you want to say, in one-to-one situations be prepared to listen. Think of it like this – you have two ears and one mouth, so use them in that proportion!
2. Be Clear
Appreciating that the message you are trying to get across is not always what others hear is very valuable. It’s vital that you use language that is plain and simple enough for everyone to understand and, where you can, avoid jargon.
3. Embrace Everyone
Every one of your audience is different. Each of them will hear what you say in a slightly different way and sometimes, this can create some challenging consequences. So, by tailoring your messages so they are understood by everyone, you will bring more people along with you.
4. Check for Understanding
By ensuring that you check that what you say is what is heard – really heard – you will not only get your message across, but you will also build the relationship with others too. By asking each one of your team what they heard – and ensuring it’s what you wanted them to hear – you will be more likely to get buy-in and support for the message.
5. Support General Communications with Personal
Often, it will be necessary to provide general communication to a group of people. This may need to be personalised with individuals one-to-one, because everyone interprets what they hear through their own mental filters, leaving it open to misunderstanding.
6. Ask for Input
Sometimes, communication will benefit from the input of others as well as from you, so ask for it! Accepting their contributions as well as providing your own builds relationships; develops confidence and, at the end of the day, introduces new ideas too.
7. Be Focused and Flexible
Getting the message across needs concentration and focus. If you get distracted, it will only serve to confuse any message you are giving. That said, the ability to use varied ways to communicate is quite an asset, enabling you to reach more people with a compelling message in more ways.
Communication may be better received by some in verbal form, by others in hard-copy writing or by email, so despite your own preferences, appreciate those of your audience as individuals too.
Just trying to offer alternatives is a great way to show you understand the importance of engaging with others in a medium that suits them, and not just you.
Believing that the recipient is at fault if the message is misunderstood simply will not work. To ensure effective communication a manager needs to fully appreciate that responsibility lies with them.
Then the improvements in communication, in all directions, really will add value to your team, improving effectiveness, morale and relationships across the board.