We live in a world full of distractions. With Twitter, Facebook and YouTube at our fingertips, it can be hard to stay focused in the work place. It becomes exceedingly hard since we communicate with co-workers in so many forms: Email, Instant Message and face-to-face. How then, do we keep effective communication flowing? Here are a few tips.
When communicating through email make sure to be concise and to the point, always remembering what you want to accomplish. This is especially important if you are relaying information that may be a more involved issue. If you get distracted or stray from what your main goal is, your email will only confuse the person it is going to. The key here is to keep your email to as few sentences in length as possible. As the saying goes, “less is more.” Writing five paragraphs is not an email, it’s an essay. Let’s face it, the majority of us only skim emails so make it count. Keep in mind, if you feel the issue at hand requires more than a few sentences in length then you need to communicate face-to-face. This way, nothing you need to convey will lost in translation.
This type of communication can be great if you need a quick response, or when you need someone to take a look at a link to see what you are referring to. This type of business conversation is highly effective in business because it uses the least amount of time and can get you back to what your working on fast. Word to the wise though, know your audience. Since no one person has an identical personality, some may interpret what you say over IM in a way you may not have meant it. Try to stay away from correcting or disciplining someone over IM. Those are situations that should be left for face-to-face communication. Also, just as with email communication, it is important to keep what you are communicating short, sweet and to the point. No one wants to have to sift through lines and lines over an IM. The longer the IM gets, the more likely you are to distract the person away from what you’re trying to accomplish.
Saving the best for last, nothing seems to beat face-to-face communication (other than the fact that you might have to get out of your cubical to do it!). Communicating amongst each other in person can alleviate any misunderstandings that could happen over an IM or email and allows for the most information-rich medium. Another great tool face-to-face communication gives us is growing and maturing social relationships with co-workers. Growing bonds between each other by face-to-face interaction can prove to be very valuable by pulling everyone together to problem solve and think more critically about certain issues. There can be a down side to face-to-face communication, if all your employees are just standing around each others desks “chit chatting it up” then no work is getting done. It is important to make sure that conversations are kept work related when on the clock. This is also extremely important to remember so you can prevent disruptions among other co-workers who may be taking sales calls.
As you can see, brevity seems to be the reoccurring theme in effectively communicating with co-workers. The more clear and concise you are the more efficient you will become, and the more work you can accomplish.
What about you, do you have any other tips on how to communicate more effectively? Leave them in the comments.