Being an effective communicator is a skill successful entrepreneurs have mastered. It carries a lot of weight in business relationships and companies that demonstrate effective communication have a 50 percent lower employee turnover rate.
Companies that put efforts into ensuring effective and positive communication not only avoid these costs but put those digits in the plus column by stimulating motivation and productivity. Actually, companies whose managers are effective communicators see a 47 percent higher return to shareholders than companies with poor communication skills.
So, what constitutes good communication and how can you become better at it? Here are some tips:
Deliver Clear, Univocal Messages
Clarity is essential in communication. Don’t use overly complicated or jargon-y language when passing on information. Make your message short and to the point. Don’t try to stuff one message or meeting full of too many ideas. Instead, think about one central point that you want to communicate.
A good way to make sure your message is clear is to think about your goal. What is the takeaway from your message? Is it clearly stated? Could there be room for confusion? If so, rethink your wording.
Have Productive Meetings by Following these Three Tips
Everyone has been to bad meetings before. The kind that drags on unnecessarily, turn into whine sessions or have no clear or stated goals. These kinds of meetings are a waste of time and can actually lead to conflict and frustration among the staff rather than fostering productive communication to help meet upcoming goals.
Have better meetings by:
- Making them short. An hour is too long for most meetings. Try cutting back to half an hour or even twenty minutes. This allows you to tackle a specific issue efficiently rather than trying to address several different issues inefficiently.
- Using visuals. Visual elements such as photos, videos, charts, and graphs can help drive home a point. Telling your team that the competition is ahead in sales by $200,000 has an impact, but showing them what that comparison looks like on a chart can make them understand the size of the gap that has to be addressed.
- Use metrics. Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy says “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” Sharing relevant metrics helps employees understand the context of their work and the worth of their efforts. It also helps in motivation and goal-setting.
Use the Right Communication Tools
Communication can be enhanced by introducing different tools into the everyday flow. Just make sure you identified your requirements to communication processes and find the appropriate solutions, those addressing your needs perfectly. For example:
- Need to share mockups, flowcharts, mind maps etc. with your team and allow them access to the same information no matter their location? Then try a collaborative tool which allows you to create diagrams that you can share with anyone.
Creately can be a great option – Their comments and discussion thread features promote team-building and aid in the development of group projects.
- You have remote team members or can’t have face-to-face meetings regularly for some reason. Possible solution: The virtual meeting software that offers features such as email or instant-messengers, giving the staff more choices about when and where they can attend meetings.
Take a look at GoToMeeting – It also allows you to launch the meeting from Microsoft Office and send out recordings of the meeting afterwards, so everyone can have it as a reference.
- Need to immediately share documents and files stored in different places? Want to have both group chats and one-to-one private conversations? Want to be able to pull any file out from archive instantly?
I suppose the answer to all those questions is yes. Then go ahead with Slack, a digital workplace solution for both small businesses and large enterprises. This tool allows you to bring together all your conversations, systemize tasks and streamline team communication.
- Whether you have field workers or may need to reach your team within minutes in emergency cases, consider SMS messaging option. Text messaging doesn’t require Internet connection and is ideal for delivering instant alerts.
Encourage Your Team
A great leader who is an effective communicator provides encouragement for their team to grow and learn. Poor leaders berate their team for not meeting their expectations. Make your criticism constructive by providing guidance on how to improve performance.
This approach promotes a more positive environment and helps stimulate productivity rather than causing stress and negativity which can stall productivity and have an overall negative impact.
Give Specific, to-the-Point Feedback
Let your employees know how they’re doing by providing specific feedback. If you have advice on how to improve, make it actionable instead of general.
An example of general feedback:
“You could do better work on your reports.”
An example of actionable feedback:
“I would like to see the data in your reports broken down into daily instead of weekly numbers because…”
Improve Your Written Communication Skills
We are living in the age of written communication. Texts are more popular than voice calls. Connecting on social media is more common than seeing people face to face. The prevalence of remote work makes it necessary for team leaders to master the art of written communication in order to be effective.
In written communication, you want to:
- Give clear instructions. Make sure people can follow your instructions, otherwise, you run the risk of wasting valuable time and resources because you weren’t clear enough.
- Be positive. Always try to put a positive spin on your communication even if it’s just saying “Thank you” or telling the employee that they’re doing a great job.
- Give the message that it’s okay to ask questions. Leave the door open for the team members to communicate with you if they have any doubts. A simple line like “Let me know if you have any questions” can take care of that.
- Be concise. Don’t overload your employees with too much information. Figure out what’s most essential and relevant for them to focus on
By enhancing your communication skills, you improve your leadership abilities and ultimately, your business. Use these tips to help you reach your communication potential!
Alexa Lemzy is the customer service manager and blog editor at business SMS service TextMagic. She is passionate about internal communication, work productivity, and customer relationships. You can follow her on Twitter.