Good communication is the key to a successful and productive team. Without it, it’s unlikely you’ll have harmony in your workplace.
It’s the difference between providing excellent leadership or stumbling along blindly. You’ll find it tough to deal with the stresses that routinely come your way.
This applies just as much to an organization as it does to an individual.
Look at the early years of America and the Founding Fathers. Their success was not the work of one man. It was a successful collaboration. Making anything of real consequence requires not just good communication, but great interaction on a human level. This is what makes the difference between a winner and an also-ran.
You need a team to get large projects underway. And that team must be a strong crew who can execute plans and get targets done, all while thinking on the fly. That means they must be in excellent communication with one another, or they won’t be able to adjust, as life or clients throw them curveballs. And curveballs are a certainty.
According to one study, communication is one of the primary concerns in the workplace. 57 percent of employees report not being given clear directions and 69 percent of managers are not comfortable communicating with the employees in general. Imagine the increase in productivity alone if this issue were resolved.
The only constant is change and without excellent communication skills you won’t be able to build a reliable team or achieve what you and your team set out to accomplish.
It goes both ways
Even if you are a solo entrepreneur or self-employed, your communication skills must be exceptional. Dealing with people on a day-to-day basis requires that you speak calmly and politely, while getting all the info across and at the same time understanding what is being said to you.
This applies to executive with team members, either at the same level or higher and those on the shop floor. It applies to a hairdresser or barber. And it’s also essential for someone working at a checkout counter.
The person who is communicating on the front line of your business can be the most valuable employee of all.
That is one of the first touchpoints for a prospective or current customer. They represent your business and your brand. How they communicate represents the brand that you have painstakingly built. And poor communication can dismantle your hard work in an instant.
The basics of communication don’t really change, no matter what line of work you do or what level of the organization you are at. The rules still apply.
Breaking communication down to its basic parts helps illustrate the point.
In its simplest form, communication is the transferring of an idea from one person to another, with an understanding of that exact idea arriving at its intended receipt point.
This would apply to a conversation between a customer and a service representative, as well as an email to a fellow professional or colleague, and a million other versions and examples of communication taking place.
The bottom line is that one person has something to convey, and it is effectively and accurately sent to its intended recipient where an understanding of that which is conveyed is achieved.
Communication is not just talking, it’s also listening
Take for example an executive of an advertising company. Not only do they have to understand what the client requires when they are briefed, but they have to pass the correct ideas to the team who will create the campaign and pitch for the account. Without excellent listening skills, the communication breaks down and the “Broken Telephone“ effect comes into play.
The “Broken Telephone” is when a message gets passed along and diluted or changed along the way so that by the time it gets to the person it’s intended for the message has been corrupted so much it is unrecognizable.
The same principle applies to large and small businesses. This is why when a patient goes into surgery for an amputation, they physically mark the limb with a permanent marker pen, so that the wrong limb isn’t accidentally lopped off.
At some point some surgeon somewhere said, “The left leg needs to be taken off” but by the time it got to the operating theater, the message had changed so much that either a left arm was removed, or the wrong leg was amputated.
Running a team can be a high-stress situation and communication skills are the only way to get through it without being dragged down into the mire of arguments and disagreements. Actively listening is a huge part of communicating.
Being Clear and Being Understood
The flip side of this coin is to make sure that you are heard and understood. If your message has not been understood, you’re likely to run into trouble. When workers don’t have good lines of communication with each other and management, and don’t feel like they’re being heard, their loyalty and commitment to the organization may suffer. Which has a direct effect on your bottom line.
Good communication skills are vital in all interactions. During a confrontational communication you need to be present in the moment and listen to what concepts are being considered and what they mean.
Working with people all over the United States means you are dealing with multiple time zones and sometimes multiple languages and cultures. Being able to understand the folks you are talking to, not just on a language basis but on a cultural one as well, is the most important thing you can learn these days.
Communication brings about understanding and understanding what someone is trying to get across, and delivering what they require, means you and your business will continue to thrive rather than get bogged down in complaints, queries, and questions.
If you want to know what your customers want, the only way to do that is with effective and clear communication — by asking, and truly understanding, and then providing them with the best version of what they need.
This is great communication. It helps you and it helps the business and your fellow professionals, and the community you are building with your brand. Without it, you are dead in the water. With it the world is your oyster.