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The power of communication in the workplace

Communication plays a vital role in all facets of our life, whether in a personal or professional setting. It helps us build relationships, establish trust, and resolve conflict.

For some of us, communication comes with ease, but for others, these skills can be challenging to develop and implement, especially with the increased reliance on hybrid and remote work environments.

In today’s blog, we’ll review why effective communication is important and how you can improve it at your place of work.

Why is communication important in the workplace?

Communication is essential to a business’s overall success. Clear communication increases employee engagement, productivity, morale, and satisfaction.

Effective communication also reduces turnover and absenteeism by up to 25 percent, according to research by the University of Cologne and ECONtribute.

At a leadership level, communication skills are transformative, as a communicative manager is able to motivate their team towards success with better results and fewer misunderstandings.

Before we discuss how to improve communication in the workplace, let’s spend some time reviewing the different types: verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is the sending and receiving of information through the spoken word. Conversations, meetings, and presentations all require the use of verbal communication.

With strong verbal communication, you can show your team that you are confident and knowledgeable about the subject you are discussing.

Nonverbal communication

Have you ever heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words?” Sometimes we say the most without speaking a single word…

Body language and facial expressions can be extremely telling. For example, if you are having a conversation with a colleague and are standing with your arms crossed and feet pointed in the opposite direction, they may feel that you are not engaged in the conversation. Keeping eye contact, nodding your head, and providing facial feedback are all ways you can show them that you are actively listening without using verbal communication.

Written communication

Written communication includes anything you write or type, from an e-mail to a proposal. When it comes to written communication it’s best to keep it simple and consider the audience for which you are writing.

Visual communication

Visual communication includes the use of visual media to send a message. Examples of common visual communication include photographs, videos, and graphs.

Visual communication is best used to transfer data that may otherwise be difficult to divulge in a written or verbal format. For example, if you are presenting the data from a research project, it may be best to communicate the findings with graphs or a slideshow presentation.  

How to improve communication in the workplace

Now that you understand the several ways communication can manifest itself in the workplace, let’s discuss how you can work to develop these skills.

Understand different communication styles

We all have our own way of communicating. Some of us are direct and bold, while others are indirect and timid. It’s important to be mindful of this while communicating with members of your team. It is the communicator’s responsibility to ensure that the person on the receiving end understands the message.

Meet regularly with your team

For members of your team to feel comfortable communicating openly outside of scheduled meetings, you must first establish the environment with scheduled meetings. Good communication fosters more good communication.

Actively Listen

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt that they weren’t really listening? This is the opposite of active listening.

Active listening is where you hear not only the words someone is speaking but also what their tone of voice and body language convey as well as what they may be implying but not saying outright.

To practice active listening, consider asking questions for clarification and give the speaker your undivided attention. Tom Chopp is Managing Partner at SWS Warning Lights Inc. He can be reached at 905-357-0222 or tom@warninglightsinc.com

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