Effective communication takes time and practice – but it is also key to retaining top talent in your organization. Good communicators build rapport with their teams, help them function more efficiently, and hold them accountable when necessary. Although learning the art and science of communication requires effort, its payoffs are great, especially when rapid turnover threatens the productivity of an organization.
To communicate well with your employees and co-workers, employ these great tips.
1. Engage employees frequently.
Frequent communication offers two benefits: it creates more points of contact for information to be shared, and it fosters a sense of trust among team members that you and their co-workers will be available when they encounter difficulties. This sense of trust in turn encourages more frequent communication, creating a positive feedback loop. “Checking in” informally with team members several times a day, as well as continuing more formal communication sessions like meetings, can all encourage communication.
2. Use your words.
Verbal communication is most effective when it is clear, to the point, and focused on the issue. It’s especially important to be clear and focused when providing constructive criticism or negative feedback – “sandwiching” criticisms between two compliments typically leaves employees wondering what the point of the conversation was. State clearly what you want to communicate, provide the main points, and ask for a response that indicates the employee understood what you said.
3. Use non-verbal communication.
What you say matters, but so does the context in which you say it. Non-verbal cues like making eye contact, using facial expressions and gestures, and focusing solely on listening and speaking all help convey your message more effectively. They also drive home the point that communication is important – encouraging employees to communicate with you and with one another.
4. Know your style.
Every experienced manager has developed a management style, and every manager has a specific communication style as well. Understanding how you communicate and how it works – or doesn’t – is key to improving your own communication with your employees. In addition, understanding your team members’ communication styles can help increase the effectiveness of communication.