What does it actually mean to communicate? Is it just about sharing the right messages – or is there more to it than that?
Effective communication results in being able to understand the dynamics, skills and obstacles that your team may be facing. It will boost your team's productivity, by cutting out the time and energy spent in misunderstanding things. It can also bolster your role as a leader, helping you to assert your authority more effectively, and developing a role seen with trust and respect by others.
Here are three ways that you can work on developing more effective communication.
#1 Use language skilfully
Recognise that what you say and how you say it, matters.
Depending on your tone of voice, language and your audience, your message could be interpreted in a number of ways.
Modulating your voice so that you speak at a calm and consistent level will create reassurance and confidence, which is especially important when communicating in difficult situations.
Also, when you want your team to become enthusiastic about a new project, this should come through in your voice. If you sound excited about the project, then they are more likely to become excited too.
#2 Choose the best method of communication
It is important to consider the mode of communication that you use, as this will impact how well your message is received.
Emails are often a succinct and straightforward way of communicating directly with team members, without disrupting the day. However, in certain cases, it is more effective to use in-person communication.
A one-on-one meeting is a good way of developing greater rapport with someone and ensuring that a point is fully understood. A group meeting, by contrast, is helpful in allowing you to share with the whole group and it also gives you the valuable opportunity to gauge their responses – both verbally and non-verbally.
Remember that communication is about more than the art of phrasing the right message – it is equally important to be able to listen well to your team members too.
Listen to what is being said around you. Be attentive and avoid judgement – your team members may have criticisms or complaints, and these can provide invaluable insights for you. Avoid interrupting and imposing your own message. It is useful to remember that you are having a conversation and not giving a speech.
Pay attention to body language – both your own and that of the person with whom you are speaking. Non-verbal communication can express a great deal of information that may contradict what is being said. Does the other person appear relaxed and comfortable or are they fidgeting, restless or distracted?
What are your tips for communicating effectively with your team?