Keep It Simple: The Basics of Communicating Effectively

Strong communication can make a business; weak communication can break it. But what makes for communicating effectively? 

If you take a deep dive into research on this topic — even narrowed down to business communication — it would be easy to become overwhelmed. But good communication doesn’t have to be complicated.

In fact, it shouldn’t be.

Meaningful internal communication can be very simple. It’s all about creating a means for a steady flow of two-way interaction, putting leadership in a position to both listen and talk.

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Let’s break down a few of the basics that can make your internal communication strategy shine.

Communicating Effectively: Listening

We’re big believers in the benefits of listening to your employees, so we’ll start with the listening portion of the two-way communication strategy.

  • Don’t listen to answer; simply listen. When you’ve asked your employees to provide feedback, make sure you’re actually listening to what they say. That seems like common sense, but too often, we listen (or read) with the intention of solving the problem as we listen. Instead, take in the entire situation, consider the circumstances, and then come up with an action plan. 
  • Look for meaning between the words. If you are actively listening, then this tip will be easier to implement. More employees across the workforce than ever before are experiencing burnout and difficulties related to mental health. When employees share their thoughts with you, hold them up to the light — consider them in the context of what you know about the employee as a person and his or her individual circumstances and personality. 
  • Demonstrate that their words have value. No one wants to feel that they’re offering insight or asking questions only to have their words fade off into the air. When your employees communicate with your leadership team, it’s important that they know their voices are heard. Pair their requests and concerns with actions, whether they’re as simple as acknowledging their comments or as complex as implementing a process change.
  • Create a culture that yields more communication. In certain industries, like trucking, new employees often come into a business with a pre-conceived, battle-earned mentality that their feedback will be ignored and the company is against them. They may even fear retaliation when providing honest feedback. It’s important to overcome that by encouraging employees to always feel free and open to communicate. Offering a way to share their thoughts anonymously, like WorkHound provides, can be especially helpful.

Communicating Effectively: Talking

Now that you’ve listened, it’s time to talk! In a leadership role, you’ll want to carefully consider how you’re communicating with your team and what you’re communicating.

  • Be quick to respond. When an employee has reached out to you with a concern, question, or simply general feedback, it’s important to respond promptly. You don’t need to have fully scoped out a solution to the issue when you respond, but take the time to acknowledge that you’ve heard them. This can be done with a quick email or text message, or when using WorkHound, a one-time message.
  • Make your messaging clear and simple. Whether you’re replying to an employee or communicating with your entire team, be thoughtful about what you’re saying. When you’re trying to share the details of a new process or answering a question, it can be incredibly easy to get overly wordy — and still not actually get the message across. Determine a goal for your communication, then write it out. Once it’s on paper, make sure it actually says what it should say, without saying too much.
  • Communicate regularly. Can your employees expect to hear from you often? Even if your business is comfortably working within normal routines right now (with no fire to put out), it’s still beneficial to have regular touchpoints with your entire team. Take advantage of tools like WorkHound’s weekly broadcasts to send out a message regularly, sharing the latest news, simply checking in, and encouraging employees to share with you, too.

When you’re seeking to enhance your company’s internal communication, a feedback program can be a meaningful addition. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!