Connecting with your employees, both as an owner and a manager, is crucial to the success of your company. Communication is the key to move your company forward and connect with your employees. Here are some tips to help you become a better workplace communicator:
1.) Know your audience before you speak. One-on-one or the entire company determines how you present yourself and your topic. Also, know your audience’s generational category; are they a Baby Boomer, GenX, GenY, Millennial? Their generation determines how they take in messages and how they like to receive them. Take this opportunity to truly think before you speak and understand your audience for optimum message delivery and reception.
2.) LISTEN. It cannot be stressed enough. There are words that are said, and then there are words that aren’t. Take notes if you find it helpful to use as reference throughout the conversation or for future reference. If necessary, recap in the end to ensure you got the message that was delivered. Ask yourself questions like: what are they really saying, what do they really mean, what has lead to this conversation etc.
3.) Disagreements don’t have to be negative. Your employees may have suggestions on how they want things done; however, it may not be in the best interest of the company. See it as an opportunity to have a conversation with them. They initially felt comfortable bringing the idea to you, listen to why they feel this suggestion was made, find another solution or help them to understand why this won’t work. Be sure you let them know that you appreciate and welcome their ideas and suggestions, always.
4.) Availability is key. You can leave your door open for Baby Boomer’s and GenX’s but are you truly available for GenY’s and Millennial’s? The latter groups will rely heavily upon technology to communicate with you, emails, chats, texts etc. respond to them as they have contacted you. This goes back to knowing your audience and making yourself all kinds of available.
5.) Don’t forget the variety of communication. There is personal communication, public communication as well as written communication and body language. Written communication is so important, even if it is just a few sentences. Things can be mistaken, you can be perceived as unintelligent if your sentence is riddled with typos or you can “sound” insensitive, which was not your intention.
How you listen to your employees and have conversations with them is important in how they feel their words are perceived. They will feel their message is received if you are making eye contact, your arms are relaxed, and you avoid using a big desk as a barrier between you and your audience.
Communication is not a quick fix nor will you read this and become a better communicator. It is something that you will constantly need to correct, improve upon and research on how you can do better, be better. It’s a learning lesson for us all; the most important lesson there is in the workplace.