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Ten tips for better communication

20 November 2002 by
Ten tips for better communication

For communication to work, it is vital that every person in your company takes responsibility for it. Communication is not just about putting up posters and handing out newsletters, it's an on-going process that underpins everything you do. According to research by training and development consultancy learnpurple, communication tops the list of what employees need from an organisation.

Poor communication can be generally attributed to:

  • Lack of basic skills of the communicator

  • Lack of understanding of the communicator or listener

  • Failure to encourage contribution from the listener

  • Failure to gain interest and commitment from the listener

Harvard Professor Nitin Nohria says that communication is the real work of leadership. He believes that good leaders are masters of communication.

Nohria also says that leaders are able to make their message, however complex, into something that is accessible to those who may not share their knowledge or background.

Listening

And it's not just about communicating outwards. The skill of listening is just as important. Communicators need to receive information as well as send information.

At the top of the Sunday Times 100 best employers list, supermarket chain Asda sets targets for its directors to hold regular listening groups in order to pinpoint employee wants, needs and ideas and then acts on these findings.

Getting it right

Great communicators need to understand their audience and tailor their messages accordingly. By doing this, messages will be received better and are more likely to be understood.

Communication is also about telling it the way it is. Sometimes people are tempted to minimise a situation in order to keep things going smoothly for as long as possible, but this is not always best. Getting the timing and method of communication right is a key part of success.

Here are 10 tips:

  • Make sure people are accountable for communication.

  • Regularly seek opinions of other people.

  • Listen.

  • Apply simplicity, honesty and directness.

  • Make sure written information is clear, targeted and purposeful.

  • Encourage face-to-face interaction.

  • Give and receive feedback.

  • Use technology to speed up the communication process.

  • Measure and monitor your communication abilities and those of your team.

  • Train others to communicate.

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