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We all know how to communicate, it’s like breathing, we instinctively know how to do it. But the question is, do we know how to communicate effectively?
A delicate or difficult message must be delivered in a completely different manner to the way you would communicate a message about the office Christmas party. The chosen method must be relevant to the content and to the audience.
Misinterpretation of a message can be disastrous. Everyone will have experienced this with family or friends when someone has grabbed the ‘wrong end of the stick’. It can cause an unsettled environment until ironed out. But when something is misinterpreted in a large workforce the ripples and the repercussions can damage brands.
In this blog we’ll be exploring the various ways to communicate to your workforce to ensure your messages land effectively.
Face to Face
With face to face communications there is less risk of misinterpretation. When we speak directly to another person it allows both parties to see and hear the bigger picture. Focusing on just one other person determines a feeling of credibility and value. Speaking face to face encourages questions to be asked to ensure the message is clear.
When you’re sitting opposite a colleague you can pick up on their body language and facial expressions. Making reassuring eye contact makes individuals feel acknowledged and listened to and having a relaxed stance will put the other person at ease throughout the meeting.
When best to use: sharing information with an emotional connection, giving feedback, asking for solutions to a problem.
Phone calls are like marmite. You either love picking up the phone and calling someone or it instils a feeling of dread. Whether you love or loathe speaking over the phone it’s essential for keeping connected, especially with remote workers.
To improve this vital communication tool there are two tips you can put into practice to ensure the conversation goes well. Firstly, smile when you are talking as it gives your voice a friendlier, more approachable tone. Secondly, make notes before the call and use them to move the conversation forward in a constructive manner.
When best to use: when you need a quick response, giving/receiving sensitive information.
Emails are great at getting a message across to a large audience. However, this method is the one that can lead to the most misunderstandings. If the email is not written clearly, the reader can easily misread the words, misunderstand the intended tone or sometimes read between the lines. Plus, if the recipient has many other emails in their inbox, they may not open it until a few days later.
If the message within an email is crucially important, always ask for at least two others to read through it to sense-check its content and to ensure the meaning is clear. And if the message is to have a big impact, then it is best practice to inform all managers in advance to speak to their teams to let them know that an important communication is coming their way and if they have any questions, they must speak to them in the first instance.
When best to use: when timing is not crucial, when a paper trail is needed, providing information to be recalled at a later date
Posting a video and making it accessible to your workforce will increase the reach of the message making them more effective than written emails. Videos work well when delivering complicated topics as there is no risk of speed-reading resulting in the reader missing crucial points. The viewer can also pick up on body language which can be incredibly valuable to set the correct tone.
The message is likely to remain with an employee longer than a written message as it breaks the normal working routine and demands full attention.
When best to use: strong emotional message, complex issues.
Using this form of technology allows companies to include and engage all of their employees including those who work remotely.
Everybody is used to receiving push notifications on their phones to alert them to new messages or interactions. We only have to look at the way we react to our social media notifications to realise how effective they are.
Using this creative digital solution for your internal communication strategy could prove highly effective when it comes to sharing information.
When best to use: arranging dates for electronic diaries, sharing documents which need quick feedback.
Enterprise Social Networking (e.g. Slack, Yammer, Flock, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat)
This type of communication is similar to the way we use Facebook and creates a more transparent working environment. It encourages messages to be shared to the entire organisation, even though there is the ability to send private messages. The communications are highly interactive, as you would expect with any of the popular social media platforms. Individual profiles can be set up to help colleagues get to know each other better and to help them find common interests.
Recent research has revealed that using Enterprise Social Networking is less stressful to workforces than emails as it engages everyone on a more personal level. There is an easy to use search function allowing messages to be retrieved when needed.
When best to use: sharing information when interaction and engagement is key.
We’re Here To Help
If you would like to refresh your communications contact our friendly team of HR professionals on 0161 941 2426. We can advise on what will be the most effective method for your messages and your workforce.
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