Yesterday’s Advisor referenced a pivotal study by Sirota Survey Intelligence of what demotivated initially enthusiastic employees in as little as 6 months after joining their organizations.
A key factor was communication. “Worker’s frustration with an absence of adequate communication,” the study’s authors wrote, “is one of the most negative findings we see expressed on employee attitude surveys,” a fact confirmed by BLR’s own National Employee Attitude Survey, which showed company performance at communicating lagging far behind any other facet of organizational performance.
It’s a serious shortcoming. Without communication, there is no organization. Teams can’t work together. Customers are misunderstood. Leaders may try to lead, but few know how to follow.
Improving communication needn’t be difficult. Learn simple, but effective ways to do so in BLR’s DVD + book program, Communication Skills: What Everyone Needs to Know. Read more.
That’s why we were happy to discover one of the best training programs on effective communication we’ve seen, called Communication Skills: What Everyone Needs to Know. It’s a 30-minute DVD based on a well-known book by Deborah S. Roberts, a copy of which is included. More important are the basic communication strategies detailed in the program. Here’s a sampling:
--Communication begins before conversation. As the program’s authors note, studies show some 40 percent of what’s communicated comes through body language and tone of voice. Both must match the message being imparted. When you tell a subordinate that a mistake he or she has made is “no big deal,” don’t roll your eyes and wince. On the phone, voice tone is paramount; never compete with the conversation by eating or allowing loud background noise as you talk.
--Name your counterpart. Nothing establishes rapport better than acknowledging others by name. But in today’s transient world, names are easy to forget or confuse. “Connect the person’s name with someone famous,” the program advises. “If you meet George, mentally connect him to George Washington.”
--Start with small talk. Chatting amiably opens the door to more substantial messages, but, advise the authors, gauge your counterpart’s reaction so as not go on too long … and never chat about workplace confidences or gossip.
--Tailor your conversation to your audience. Talks with a boss, co-worker, or customer each require a different style. With bosses, pick the right time and ask honestly for what you need and what they can reasonably deliver. For colleagues, be humble, reliable, and discreet. And if customers call with problems, listen, apologize, and offer a solution. However, a natural smile when appropriate, even on the phone, applies in all cases.
You may talk, but how are you being heard? Clarify everyone’s messages with BLR’s Communication Skills: What Everyone Needs to Know. Click for details.
--In writing, match your format to your audience. A short e-mail is fine for inviting a colleague to lunch, but use a more formal letter to ask an important customer to dinner. Also, remember that others beyond your intended recipient and far into the future may read your written words. Never write what you wouldn’t want openly read.
--Meet when it makes sense to meet. Nothing irritates colleagues so much as useless meetings, the authors say. Their advice: Meet only when you need to, only with whom you need, and always with a formal agenda. End the meeting by thanking and praising participants. That sends everyone off on a positive note.
The program goes on to address the communications aspects of negotiation, reporting bad news, and resolving conflicts, all of which build on the strategies above, and all of which are evidence that good communication skills can be learned when the training program is right.
If you think communication at your organization could stand improvement, we recommend you consider this program.
Talk Is Not Cheap!Especially when it’s conducted in the workplace. Bad communication can disrupt work teams and anger customers. But training for better communication doesn’t have to be expensive when you use BLR’s 30-minute DVD program, Communication Skills: What Everyone Needs to Know. Read more.
If you have comments about this tip and want to post them on this page to share your thoughts with other HR Daily Advisor readers, simply enter your comments below. NOTE: Your name will appear on any comments posted.
Copyright © 2013 BLR Business & Legal Reports Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.