Tips for Clear Communication
Everyone has had experiences with miscommunication. What seems like a perfectly clear statement to you may come across as confusing to the recipient. Even worse, they might get the completely wrong idea. For HR professionals and managers in particular, being able to master clear communication is very important. You want your team to be on the same page with you. Here are some tips for clear communication that will benefit everyone in the office.
The first thing managers and HR professionals can do to clear up the communication pathways in the office is to learn about and practice communication empathy. Essentially, this means being attuned to other people’s reactions, including their body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and the atmosphere in the room. This won’t come naturally to everyone, but you can practice by looking out for what kind of reactions you get when you make a statement or ask a question. If you notice that it looks like your message didn’t get across the way you intended, make an extra effort to clear things up. Of course, this really only works for in person, phone, or video communication. Ensuring clear communication in writing will always be more challenging for HR professionals and managers since you won’t have the benefit of noticing things like body language or tone of voice.
The next step for managers and HR professionals on the path toward clear communication is to get a feel for everyone’s preferred method and style of communication. Notice how other workplace leaders and employees communicate and what kind of language they use and try to match their preference. For some, understanding writing is easier but for others, face-to-face interaction is key to understanding. Get to know what kinds of communication methods work best for the individuals on your team and use that as much as possible. Your message will have a better chance of being understood correctly the first time when the recipient feels comfortable with your method of delivery. This is another great way for HR professionals and managers to deepen their knowledge of their team as well.
Lastly, HR professionals and managers should check in and make sure that the right message was received. However, don’t ask whether or not the recipient is understanding the message. They may not even realize that they’ve got the wrong idea and will tell you that they totally get it. Instead, ask the employee to summarize what you’ve just explained. This will allow you to see right away whether or not you achieved clear communication in this situation or if you’ll need to elaborate or rephrase. The more you do this, the more you’ll learn about what you can do to explain this as clearly as possible the first time. And even better, you can do this both in person and in your emails as well.
Being able to communicate clearly is an important skill for managers and HR professionals. When you know how to speak to your team in a way that they’ll understand and you know what to do to minimize misunderstandings, your workplace will be even more efficient and cohesive.