What’s the key to productivity? Good communication! How you communicate influences how your staff behaves and performs. Good communication leads to good work performance.
Bad communication can cost more than just time and money. Bad communication can create destructive chains of events. This can destroy entire projects if important information gets lost. Sometimes bad communication even causes employees to quit.
This is why you need good communication to be productive. Good communication is the lifeblood of productivity. But how do you communicate effectively? Here are some strategies from leading business managers.
Invest In a Good Communication Tool
The most effective communication happens face-to-face. That said, the modern work environment often does not allow for face-to-face communication. Most teams work remotely. Even if you work in a traditional office, meetings are hard to schedule and often result in wasted time.
This is where technology can make up the difference. A hangouts alternative like Spike is a great way to keep communication clear. Spike allows users to create groups. This way, teams can instant message each other or start video calls.
If you are managing a remote team, you need to invest in a good communication tool. Even if you are working in an office, things can get lost through clunky back-and-forth emails. Communication tools like Spike can keep communication lines open and free of clutter.
Have Clear Goals and Expectations
As a manager, do you set SMART goals? It’s not a question of intelligence, it’s a question of strategy. Goals set need to be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
For example, a goal of “make more money,” is not a good goal. It is incredibly vague. How much more money do you want to make? Do you need to make more money now or in ten years? How are you supposed to make the money?
A better goal could be to “increase revenue by 5% by the end next quarter by launching a social media campaign.” The goal is specific and measurable. There is a timeline and an action to take. A team can work with this goal.
Another thing you want to clarify is your expectations. What are the standards your company requires for projects? Do they vary by department? How frequently do you expect departments to communicate? By laying out clear expectations, you set your employees up for success.
Be Clear in Your Messages
When you are crafting messages, be sure to know your audience. Whom are you speaking to, and what do they best respond to?
For example, let’s say you are communicating with your analytics department. They’re probably fine working with raw numbers. Your marketing team might not understand numbers as well. They might need a graph or infographic to fully understand the data.
Don’t forget the visual aspect of communication. Especially if your team uses a lot of electronic communication, you’ll want to employ the aid of visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words, so save time by using visuals.
If you need to use a piece of jargon to properly describe something, that’s ok. However, too many long words and jargon can obscure your message. When writing emails, try to keep your writing at a sixth-grade level.
Practice Active Listening
We’ve talked a lot about delivering messages, but how do you encourage your team to talk to you? By receiving messages well.
Active listening encourages your employees to speak up. When a team member speaks to you, you need to engage positively. An easy strategy to show that you’re taking in information is to paraphrase what they said back to them.
For example, imagine a team member tells you a project will be completed late due to a technical issue. This might be very disappointing to you as a manager. However, it’s important to not let your emotions cloud communication. A good manager can respond with, “I understand we need to re-arrange the schedule due to a technical issue. What do you think is the best way to move forward?”
When you show your employees that you listen, they speak up more often. Trust your team, you hired them for a reason!
Keep Everyone in the Loop
Everyone needs to know what’s going on with your company. Ask for regular progress reports. Request routine project updates. Have a weekly newsletter, so everyone knows what’s going on with the company.
Employees feel confused and disempowered if they don’t know what’s going on. If you want them to communicate with you, lead by example. Model good communication for your team, and they will respond with good communication.
Poor communication is a productivity killer! Countless great projects have died at the hands of poor communication. Not only that, poor communication can kill team morale.
Do you want to build trust with employees and achieve your company goals? You will need to invest time and energy into creating clear lines of communication. Technology can also be a major help.
If you want your team to reach maximum productivity, you need to have good communication. By investing in some good tools and strategies, your business can thrive.