Communication is how we build and maintain relationships, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace with coworkers, partners and customers. And especially in times of a pandemic, communication is key.
For companies to run efficiently and thrive, they need to implement clear communication strategies. In addition, having the right communication tools in place is also essential. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of communication in the workplace, plus provide tips for developing an effective communication strategy for your organization.
What Are Communication Strategies?
Communication strategies are action plans for improving communication within an organization. In addition to establishing goals for a successful plan, a communication strategy typically involves the selection of tools to enable a strategic mix of verbal and nonverbal communication styles. Using communication strategies in the workplace increases company knowledge, eases cross-department communication and ultimately makes business processes more streamlined and efficient.
3 Benefits of Effective Communication Strategies
Communication plays an important role in how companies work, collaborate and even socialize. Poor communication can lead to a range of issues within an organization.
One study found that 45% of US workers are unhappy with the way senior management communicates. This results in employees feeling out of the loop, disconnected and unheard.
By contrast, when employees feel like they are being heard, it creates a positive work environment, increases productivity and fosters innovation in the workplace.
1. A Positive Workplace
A positive work environment begins with a collaborative foundation. Encouraging team members to ask questions and voice their opinions helps them feel empowered, increases team collaboration and gives them a sense of community that will contribute to the group’s success. Ultimately, this results in a stronger team that is happy and eager to work together.
2. Increased Productivity
By communicating effectively, you can better understand your employees’ skills, experience and talents. This makes it easier to provide clear directions and assign tasks to team members with the most appropriate skills. In addition, implementing effective communication strategies helps teams collaborate better, experience fewer mistakes and increase productivity. In a recent survey of Lifesize users, an overwhelming 99% of respondents agreed with the sentiment that improved communication and collaboration have led to improved productivity for their teams.
3. Greater Innovation
When employees feel that they can communicate their ideas and opinions openly without fear of ridicule, they are far more likely to bring new ideas to the table. By sharing ideas and opening up channels of communication, you can increase innovation within your organization.
8 Tips for Effective Communication in the Workplace
Effective communication helps team members build strong relationships and positively contribute to the overall growth of the company. Here are eight tips to help you implement an effective communication strategy within your organization:
1. Use Great Communication Tools
There are many tools out there that you can use to make communication within your team more effective, including:
- Lifesize – Lifesize offers an easy-to-use, cloud-based video conferencing solution that you can use on your personal devices or integrate into conference rooms to enable instant face-to-face communication with remote team members. The true-to-life 4K image quality makes it feel like you’re meeting in the same room, and the ultra-high-definition content sharing ensures that the quality and details of your work are maintained during important presentations.
- Monday – Monday is a project management tool that enables managers to plan, organize and track their team’s tasks and progress in one visual, collaborative space. Monday makes it easy to keep on top of your team’s workflow as well as your own.
- Slack or Teams – Both Slack and Microsoft Teams offer quick and effective instant messaging for your team (including the all-important .GIF integrations).
2. Meet with Employees Regularly
Meeting with your team regularly helps improve communication and collaboration. For teams with remote employees, a video conference call is a perfect solution for everyone to be able to meet face to face. Unlike audio calls, video conference calls let you actually see facial expressions and body language so everyone is able to fully understand how something is being communicated. You can also record your meeting for team members who were not able to attend the conference call to review later.
3. Recognize Achievements
As a manager or team leader, it is important to keep morale high and motivation strong. By recognizing individual and team achievements publicly, you’ll show that you notice and care about your team and how they perform. Recognition for achievements can have a positive impact on performance and boost productivity.
4. Give Clear Instructions
One area where communication tends to fail is in how team leaders communicate instructions. Unclear communication can cause delays or completely stop a project. Make sure you include detailed instructions for every task or project. You can deliver these instructions via email, a project management tool, video chat or all of the above. Clear instructions make it easy for your team to get things right the first time.
5. Create an Open Environment
To open up the flow of communication, you need to ensure that your team members feel comfortable enough coming to you when they have a problem, made a mistake or have a question. We’ve all heard the phrase “My door is always open,” but that’s not exactly easy to do when your team is spread out all over the world. By making it clear to your team that they can reach out to you for anything, whether in person or over a video call, you’ll make them feel comfortable and create an open environment of communication.
6. Make Time for One-on-Ones
In keeping with creating an open environment, it’s important to set up one-on-one meetings with each team member to give them the opportunity to come to you with questions, problems or suggestions. One-on-ones are great opportunities to talk to team members about their performance, what they are struggling with and how you can better support them. They may bring some things to light that they may not have felt comfortable sharing in a group environment. One-on-one meetings can also help them feel valued as individuals.
7. Use Visuals
Don’t be afraid to utilize different methods of communication to help get your point across. People often miss details if they don’t have a visual reference to go back to — especially if they aren’t great at retaining auditory information. Whiteboards promote creativity and make content visually appealing and easier to absorb and retain. Kaptivo with Lifesize Share™ lets you capture and share whiteboard content in real time during video conference calls. After the meeting, be sure to send out any slide decks or Kaptivo sessions that were shared during the meeting as a visual reminder of what was discussed during your meeting.
8. Be Open to Feedback
Managers need to realize that two-way communication is also important. You have to be open to receiving feedback from your team members in order to improve your own communication and leadership/management style. Have a system where team members can easily send you feedback, perhaps via email, face to face or anonymously. Encourage team members to give you suggestions on what could be improved, how the team can communicate better and ideas for the future of the company.
How the MLB Improved Communication and Increased Meeting Attendance by Using Lifesize
Major League Baseball is the most historic professional sports league in the United States, bringing 73 million people to ballparks across North America with events like the World Baseball Classic and the All-Star Game. These events require months of preparation and coordination with more than 50 people dispersed across multiple locations.
Having previously used only audio conferencing call software for their global meetings, they saw that engagement was low and people would often multitask during calls.
In preparation for the World Baseball Classic in 2017, Major League Baseball decided they needed to make their meetings more efficient, effective and engaging by partnering with Lifesize. Through Lifesize video conferencing software and fully integrated conference room systems, they completely transformed the way they communicate and collaborate.
During a trial run, MLB noticed that people were more engaged and that there were fewer miscommunications. This success encouraged more people around the world to join the meetings via Lifesize.
Major League Baseball’s meeting attendance grew by 42% compared to their previous tournament in 2013.
“From an IT perspective, it was straightforward to implement, flexible to our needs and just as easy for our remote employees.” — Daniel Gainey, Manager of IT Operations at MLB
Lifesize has now become a permanent fixture in Major League Baseball’s events technology portfolio and will be used for all future events.
Overall productivity increases when companies have an effective communication strategy in place. Through regular one-on-one and team meetings, you can improve how you communicate in the workplace. However, for global companies with team members located in different cities, communication across the entire organization can be a bit more challenging. Lifesize’s cloud-based platform makes connecting face to face effortless and helps organizations improve their communication strategy. And by signing up for your free account, you can easily connect with up to 25 participants on a fully encrypted high-quality call.