Most people don’t realise that poor communication is often the reason why change management projects fail. The reason is because communication, as said by Geraldine Kilbride, is the ‘’lifeblood’’ of every organisation and it's projects. I couldn’t agree more with her statement, yet it’s one of the things that organisations, leaders, teams and colleagues seem to struggle with or overlook.
So how can we become consistent effective communicators and measure our effectiveness in the workplace?
Michael Langley (2004) suggests that it is measured by "How well the listener is heard." Meaning how the listener understands, responds, acts and provides feedback to the idea being communicated.
I love communicating with people, but I know I could be better. So I conducted some research to find the top tips on being an effective communicator in the workplace and here are my top 3 tips:
a) It’s important to understand your audience and what you are trying to share with them. Communicate in your own words, not the ‘’corporate voice’’, as it sounds more personal and real. People want real not fake!
b) In the digital age, simplicity is more important than ever as we are hounded 24 hours a day with technology; keep it short, personal and simple. This saves you time and it helps your audience know what’s important, making it easier for them to reply.
Every time you communicate to the same audience, ensure that you are reinforcing your previous core messages and using the same tone. The worst thing you can do is say you are going right, then suddenly you are going left. This will result in your words having less meaning.
Actively listen with your ears but also with your eyes. Communication is a two-way street, if not it won't be effective or productive. Create an environment which allows people to ask questions and understand your message. Listen to what people have to say before reacting and don’t get too fixated on persuading or the delivery of your message - especially when you are senior, as it is more likely that you will need to read between the lines. Listen, watch and ask for feedback, as this is a great way to know how you are truly are doing.
Here's a little something to leave you with, Mark Twain sums up communication as, "The Difference between a good word and the right word is the same as the difference between a lightening bug and lightning."