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The Importance of Communication in the Workplace

If there is one thing the past year has taught business owners, it is the importance of effective communication with your team. Effective communication provided some stability in a world that seemed to be turned upside down.

Experts agree the connection between business stability and solid communications is no coincidence. Your ability to communicate with your employees and their ability to communicate with you and each other is the foundation of your company’s success.

Perhaps the most obvious way communication impacts your business is how effective you and your team are at mitigating and avoiding conflict. The right message, the right tools and the right time can head most conflict off at the pass. And, when conflict does arise due to misunderstandings, clashing personalities, or mistaken intentions, effective communication can dispel it before it becomes a crisis.

Effective communications also improves company morale and effectiveness. The need to feel seen, valued and heard in an organization is universal. When people feel they belong, they are more productive and engaged. This leads to improved teamwork and efficiency, innovation and loyalty.

So, what is the right way to communicate with your employees, teams and colleagues? It depends.

Top-down communication works to communicate messages quickly and consistently. Bottom-up is more effective for innovation and employee engagement. Lateral communication works for teams who share information about processes and projects. All these communications should be part of your company’s communication portfolio.

A good leader will also shape their message to the medium. Reserve all-company memos and emails for mundane updates that you do not expect feedback on. Use tools designed for quick feedback — individual emails, direct messages, texts — when you are sticking to one topic and you do not need to discuss anything. If a discussion is required, or if you are anticipating difficult conversations, stick to face-to-face meetings (or at least voice-to-voice).

Finally, no matter the method, remember your communication basics. Be clear and simple, avoid industry jargon (unless you both speak it fluently) and listen as much as you speak. Set a culture of effective communications — respect others’ time, value your expertise and feedback, practice transparency and honor diverse communication styles.

No matter your industry, you need to share information with your staff, your colleagues and your stakeholders. Learning to do so effectively will help you and your company operate more smoothly and thrive amidst change.