Effective communication in the workplace has become increasingly important as technology and innovation continue to evolve. Since the global pandemic, organisations have had to adapt their communication strategies to keep up with the ever-changing environment of the modern workplace. With Covid-19 having disrupted working conditions worldwide, businesses are now looking for novel ways of communicating effectively within their teams.
As the world of work continues to transform, it is essential that companies invest in developing effective strategies for internal communication. This means that all employees are engaged, informed, and comfortable with how information is being shared throughout the organisation. When applied correctly, effective communication leads to improved collaboration, problem solving capabilities, and team morale – all which can be critical factors for success in any type of organisation.
Effective communication is the conveyance of information from one person to another in a way that is understood and accepted by both parties. It requires an understanding of the needs of each individual involved in the conversation, as well as the ability to adjust communication style according to those needs. When we think of communication we often think of verbal communication, however this is just one aspect of effective communication skills.
In this post we explore each type of communication found in the modern workplace and follow up with tips to improve communication within your team.
Verbal communication can be defined as the exchange of information between two or more people using spoken language. It is an essential part of human interaction and collaboration, whether it be for business, educational, or social purposes. This type of communication helps build relationships, create trust among colleagues, and foster a sense of belonging in the workplace.
In the pre-Covid world, verbal communication was primarily done face-to-face through meetings, workshops and team gatherings. However, since Covid-19, many workplaces have had to adapt their modes of verbal communication to maintain effective collaboration while keeping employees safe.
This has included moving meetings online via video conferences such as Zoom and Skype or by phone. Although these forms of communication are not ideal, they have allowed for companies to stay connected and communicate effectively even when teams can’t be in the same physical space.
Nonverbal communication in the workplace is just as important as verbal communication, and can often be even more powerful. It involves body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact and other gestures that can convey a range of emotions without any words being said. Nonverbal communication also helps to fill in gaps when communicating complex information or ideas.
Since Covid-19, nonverbal communication has seen some changes due to remote work becoming the norm. For example, when Zoom meetings replace face-to-face conversations, it becomes harder to read certain physical cues such as body language or facial expressions – which are key aspects of nonverbal communication.
A 2018 study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that nonverbal communication plays a crucial role in creating successful business relationships. The study surveyed over 200 participants and revealed that nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and gestures, can convey far more information than words alone.
7% of communication is verbal, 38% is the tone and inflection, and a staggering 55% is body language (Haiilo)
Written communication involves the exchange of information between two or more people using written words, symbols and images. Written communication can be used for a variety of purposes such as memos, reports, emails and other documents.
Due to Covid-19, the use of written communication has increased significantly in many workplaces. Teams have been relying heavily on emails and chat tools such as Slack to stay connected while working remotely. This shift to digital has enabled teams to communicate quickly and easily whilst being remote.
A 2017 study published in The Harvard Business Review found that effective written communication leads to improved collaboration amongst colleagues, faster decision making processes within organizations, and better customer service.
Visual communication is the use of visuals such as diagrams, charts, photos, illustrations and other graphics to convey information. This type of communication has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Research suggests that visuals can help people understand complex concepts more easily and quickly than words alone.
The rise of Covid-19 has also accelerated the trend towards visual communication. Many teams are now turning to tools such as video conferencing and screen sharing to effectively communicate with colleagues who may be working remotely or in different locations.
Active listening is an important communication skill that involves paying close attention to what someone is saying, asking questions in order to gain a better understanding and providing meaningful feedback. Lets break that down a bit more; active listening involves going beyond simply hearing the words that another person speaks but also seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them.
Due to Covid-19, many workplaces have had to adapt their active listening techniques in order to effectively communicate with remote teams or those in different locations. This includes making sure conversations are clear and concise so that everyone on the call can understand each other’s points of view. It also involves taking the time to ask relevant follow up questions when necessary and actively engaging with coworkers during group discussions.
A 2020 study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that active listening can help build trust and strong relationships between coworkers, resulting in improved collaboration, better decision-making processes, and higher morale.
With so many changes to how we effectively communicate within the workplace since the onset of Covid- 19 it is no wonder that many workplace teams may be looking for ways to improve their communication skills. Infact a 2021 Gallup study found that only 17% of employees strongly agree that “there is open communication throughout all levels of the organisation.”
Here are 5 tips to improve effective communication within your workplace team:
Communicate- simply, clearly and frequently
Aim for clarity when conveying messages by using plain language and avoiding jargon. Make sure you are providing enough information so that everyone involved in a discussion understands the topic at hand. Remember most importantly to communicate regularly with your team – whether via email, chat or video and be sure to repeat, repeat, repeat!
Practice Listening with Be There
Life is full of distractions. They pull our focus away from the person who needs us now. Based on one of the four key practices from the Fish! workshop; Being There is a choice to be present and engaged. Being present when listening is a powerful tool to effective communication and can help build trust and understanding with your coworkers.
Establish trust and rapport
Trust is a fundamental building block in any relationship. When communication depends on trust, it will be honest and open. Establishing trust and rapport with those you work with can help to create an atmosphere that encourages effective communication. Team building activities are a great way to foster trust, understanding and communication between coworkers. From virtual bingo to charity team events there are plenty of fun team-building activities that can help create a sense of unity and boost workplace morale.
Understand Strengths and weaknesses
Sometimes, it can be hard to admit that there’s more than one way to do things. But it’s worth learning what your team members are strong at and where they need a little help. We recommend Belbin Team roles. A Belbin behavioural profile is a simple yet very clear explanation of what a person’s strengths are within a team and what others within the team value in that person. It will give you deep insight into how your team prefer to communicate and deal with conflict. It’s based on solid science yet simple enough to enable people to immediately understand and apply it to everyday tasks.
Finally, be authentic. Authentic communication means that we are honest and open in our discussion and say what we really mean. We express ourselves with clarity and openly share the facts. Being authentic helps to create an atmosphere of trust, respect, understanding and empathy – all key components for successful communication within any workplace environment.
When teams put these tips into practice, they’ll begin to see positive changes in how effectively they communicate within their workplace, leading to improved collaboration amongst colleagues, faster decision making processes within organisations, and better customer service.