Schedule Time to Talk

Think Tank

What Did You Say to Me?

What Did You Say to Me?

Workplace communication isn’t easy. Communication. Everything, from personal to business relationships hinges on it. Communicate too little, too much, or incorrectly and everything you’ve worked for can fall apart. When people communicate properly, in a way that makes all parties feel heard, even conflict and criticism can be constructive and lead to positive results. Humans are social creatures by nature. We work together, play together, and live together. Introverted or extroverted, we need to communicate on a daily basis with those around us. Verbal and non-verbal, quietly or loudly, we communicate at work with our co-workers, employees, and leaders. We communicate at home with our families and friends. We’ve been communicating our whole lives. And we’re going to keep on communicating.

So why is it often so difficult?

In business, a lack of workplace communication is sometimes inexplicable yet almost always detrimental. People are hired for jobs that they are knowledgeable about, that they have the skills to perform. But if they can't interact with those around them in a productive manner - then not much benefit is really achieved. Whenever we speak to someone, we run the risk of not being able to get our point across without sending our message through numerous filters, like personal biases, difficult mediums, and external distractions. When everything is combined:

            “What we've got here is failure to communicate” - Cool Hand Luke, 1967

A lack of effective communication can lead to decreased innovation and negatively impact the bottom line. The failure to communicate, so to speak, is one of the number one reasons for poor organizational culture, inefficiencies, lost productivity, decreased engagement, and reduced employee experience and customer experience

Enhance Your Communication

So what can we do to increase positive communication?

Provide Feedback: Feedback is critical, both positive and negative. The balance between constructive and harmful criticism is a precarious one and a one size fits all approach will not succeed. Say the wrong thing, and it can lower engagement, reduce trust and impact performance. But don’t forget the positive feedback as well. Whether it's creating a reward for outstanding work or just a simple “well done”, people need positive reinforcement just as much as critique. Not all people are the same. There’s no one key for universal success when it comes to constructive criticism. It comes down to having an understanding of what motivates individuals and knowing how they respond best to feedback. Understand Differences: Diversity factors such as cultural and generational differences can have an impact. Working with a 20-something is a different kind of challenge than working with a baby-boomer. Understanding how an individual’s diversity of background and thought impacts the way they see and hear things in the world around them has a bearing on communication style and approach. Adapting style may be necessary for success. Be respectful of the different ways people communicate. And respond in kind within reason. It all comes back to getting to know the people you’re communicating with and then being able to flex your communication style and approach for a given audience. Really Listen: To put it simply - listening is critical. Whether you are the office intern and need to understand exactly what your boss wants in their coffee or the executive listening to employee or shareholder comments, it’s critical to listen and seek to understand. Some even suggest that with every office conversation, listen like there’s going to be a pop quiz at the end, and this skill can make or break your grade. Once you really listen, don’t neglect to also take action and follow up as appropriate.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said." 

- Peter Drucker  

Communication Offerings

These few suggestions may seem obvious, but when put into practice, often it’s easier said than done. Just remember, good communication leads to improved employee experience and customer experience. Tha leads to increased employee engagement and retention, increased performance, and a high performance culture. And all of those things lead to increased profits and long term growth. So developing good communication skills and a good personal and organizational communication strategy is definitely worth the work in the long run! About Scott Span, MSOD, CSM: is CEO at Tolero Solutions. His focus is – people.  He is a Leadership Coach & People Strategist, Communications and Change Management. He supports leaders, teams, and individuals to survive and thrive through personal and professional change and transition. He supports organizations to engage and retain talent and wow customers, achieving success through people, creating places where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook *All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of any and all of this content is prohibited without authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.