May 29, 2024
Joel Gomes

The Communication Habit

May 29, 2024
Joel Gomes

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

-Peter Drucker.

So, why is a GOOD communication habit so important?

For one, it is ingrained into us since childhood, to cultivate GOOD habits, and developing a GOOD communication habit is paramount to get us, not just through work, but life as well! Most will agree that communication in any office, team environment, or even life, needs to be HOT! — Honest, Open and Two-way. This is fundamental to doing good work. Growing your business leads to hiring and working with other people. A team is an organization, it needs to be organized to work efficiently. Collaboration is based on communication, especially in modern knowledge-based work.

We must therefore (learn to) express ourselves clearly. We must translate ideas into action. We need to coordinate our work.

The major part of our work-related communication happens in writing — and if it doesn’t, you’ll soon have an issue with accountability. Writing skills must be adequate to the task; not necessarily great, but clear and concise writing is what we’re looking for. Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are key inwritten communications. The reader will form an opinion of you, the author, based on both the content and presentation, and errors or ambiguity are likely to lead them to form a negative impression.

We’ll explore a couple of key points — What are the ingredients of good team communication? And what are the hallmarks of great team communication?

Appropriate channel

Today, we have a plethora of communication tools or “channels” at our disposal (email, phone, text, conference calls, team chat, and many more). Therefore, a central aspect of communicating effectively is using the appropriate channel for the job at hand.

To decide which channel is in fact most appropriate is key, as that everyone on the team needs to understand and make the following distinction. Some people get this intuitively in some cases, but seeing the following criteria at least once should evoke some nodding in agreement and the occasional aha-moment.

What are you doing? For this I differentiate three categories of communication or messages:

You provide information. You collect information. You delegate work.

Either you’re informing people, you’re asking questions, or you’re assigning work (and responsibility). Simple, right? While this distinction is rather obvious, the trick is to keep these things separate and, to choose the appropriate channel.

So decide on what you are doing first and keep the categories separate as much as possible. Sometimes, a mix of all three, and at the same time results in not doing a good job at either providing information, asking a question, or delegating work. The final goal of work team communication is to get things done with as little friction as possible.

In this sense, quality is measured by how close we are getting to

· Communicating without ambiguity (= no misunderstandings),

· Providing complete information (= no missing information), and

· Providing context (= coherency).

A combination of these factors inevitably leads to accountability, short(er) communication cycles, and focus.

Businesses have many different components ranging from senior Leaders, middle managers, contractor partners and employees. In many cases they’re not even in the same building or work area, sometimes not even on the same continent. Keeping the lines of communication between these groups open and working properly is one challenge that all businesses face. Fostering a team atmosphere and a focus on nurturing a good communication habit among employees, and between employees and management can open the doors to success. Communication skills can be addressed through ongoing training and by active listening and responding to feedback from both workers and management. Active listening is key as we retain just 7% of words, 38% from sound (tone of voice, rhythm, accent, pauses) and 55% from body language.

Good Communication & Teamwork

Businesses are only as strong as the employees that make up the organization. A good communication habit encourages productive teamwork. Employees may come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse perspectives. Good communication within a team will keep employees on the same page and working to reach common goals despite personal differences. Each person must understand the role that they need to play. To this end, recognizing and defining good communication is the first step in developing teamwork and business. Good communication skills involve verbal, non-verbal, written and listening components. Ultimately, good communication is effective communication. It involves understanding what method of communication is best for a situation, clearly expressing your information, intent and goals and following up to make sure that it is understood. Practice good manners, make eye contact, take time to listen, answer follow up questions and prepare ahead of time for involved conversations. Be clear about the tasks at hand and let employees know who to talk to should any issues arise.

Pause & Think: “How will the other person(s) I am working with perceive my message?”

Problem Solving

Operating in business and for that matter in life, isn’t always smooth sailing. Obstacles can pop up. These may range from having to respond to a move by a competitor to dealing with confusion among team members about the direction of a project. Good communication within a team is key to keeping everyone on the right track. Many business owners maintain an open-door policy that encourages employees to approach with feedback or concerns. This can help head off issues with poor communication before they become serious problems. Employees that trust each other and feel open about communication habits are better prepared to tackle business problems. Use their diverse view points as a strength and bring them together to brainstorm solutions.

Employee Engagement & Satisfaction

Encouraging good team communication skills also creates employee satisfaction. Employees like to feel that their input is valued and that they have a role in steering the company forward. Strong team communication recognizes the efforts of the team members, acts on their suggestions and lets them build off of each other in pursuit of goals. Good communication and an open workplace environment foster a sense of loyalty and play to the strengths of each individual team member.

Communication & Team-Building Exercise

A Good team communication habit is often something that needs to be practiced over the course of time. It does not always happen naturally, especially when you are dealing with a diverse workforce. Team-building exercises create trust between team members and give them tools for communicating with each other. Team members feel a sense of accomplishment and will carry these communication skills over into their work together.

As most managers already know, team building exercises can have a great effect on productivity and overall teamwork at the office. These simple and quick exercises each take less than an hour of time to complete, and you’d probably be surprised by the many benefits they can bring to your office environment. And don’t forget that providing your teams with the tools they need to remain collaborative is essential to maintaining this focus.

Research shows that good communication, mixed with strong organizational support, competence among the group leaders and clear group objectives can lead to the highest level of success in teams. Among those factors, good communication has shown to be the most important for success. Taking steps early, to train employees to communicate and work as a team, and making this a habit, can change the working environment in a positive way, increasing productivity and revenue.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash


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