So – You have a fantastic and highly capable team, but for some reason, tons of important information keeps getting lost in translation. Am I right? This is all too common in small businesses these days and can be incredibly frustrating (to put it lightly).
Internal communication is incredibly important when it comes to running a small business. You need to be able to make sure that your employees are able to talk to each other effectively, without promoting chit chat that could lead to a decrease in productivity.
ShiftPlanning, for example, gives small businesses the perfect solution by including a messaging system within the employee scheduling app.
Bottom line – if you don’t have a system in place for good internal communication, you need to work on implementing one. Here is a guide to help you jump-start that process.
General Communication Tips
First, let’s go over some general rules of conduct that will help you communicate well with your employees and set a good example of what it means to have proper business communication etiquette when managing projects.
Don’t Overcomplicate the Intended Message
Understand why over-complication happens so that you can avoid it. You’re constantly hearing buzzwords within your industry and listening to the advice of consultants and experts, which is a good thing – it means you’re educating yourself.
The unfortunate result is, all too often, starting to use language that confuses people. If you are inclined to use a trendy or fancy word, but a common word will work, use the common word. Keep it simple.
Avoid Ambiguity in Project Communications
The English language is tricky and has all too many words with multiple meanings. When writing a memo, be sure that you avoid any words that could imply something different than what you want the reader to understand. This ensures clarity, and you won’t have to go back and explain later. You can say it once and be done.
When you’re giving instructions, be sure that you are clear and concise with the instructions and don’t leave anything up to chance. If you read your instructions and you feel that there is something there that has been left up to interpretation, try to make it more direct and clear so that there is no guesswork involved.
Dismiss Jargon From Your Vocabulary
The use of jargon – special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand – is a classic mistake made by professionals. Freelancers, assistants, and consultants that may be helping with projects won’t know what you’re talking about in most cases if you use words that are specific to your industry.
Cut jargon words out of emails, memos, and presentations to save someone you are working with the time and energy it takes to try and figure out what you’re talking about – especially when working with outsourced help and people that are not familiar with the ins and outs of your industry.
Make Use of Everyday Mobile Technology
You’re almost certainly using emails and phones to connect. But, let’s face it, sometimes emails are getting overlooked and employees are checking their voicemail hours too late. Of course, these methods have their advantages, but there is one more convenient solution that you may have overlooked.
Text messaging is a practical, easy solution for internal communication that will be seen in real time, requiring no complicated system for delivery. Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications, by Geraldine E. Hynes, states that text messaging is one of the most handy methods of internal communication in business. She uses the example of an employee who needs to deliver a message to a boss while in a meeting. Sending a text is a non-intrusive method of delivery (unlike a phone call) while remaining personal (unlike an email). Her explanation illustrates the benefits perfectly.
Loomion AG used text messaging to help them solve an internal communication problem for the companies they serve. When important documents were uploaded for their clients’ board meetings, they needed a system for delivery, besides just email, to notify participants of their existence. They found that text messaging was a reliable and flexible approach for communicating internally with board meeting participants. These participants are now up-to-date faster with the latest information.
Another good thing with messaging is that you have so many options these days – Viber, WhatsApp, Intercom, even Facebook Messenger – all of which can be used as great text messaging services. The important thing you need to worry about is setting them up in a way that keeps your personal and business-related messaging separate.
Communication is Not a One-Way Street
Not only does communication involve the delivery of your intended message to others within your company, it also requires that you actively listen. Active listening is a skill that needs to be honed in order to improve interactions between staff members. We listen to obtain information, to understand, to enjoy, and to learn. Here are some tips to improve your active listening in a small business environment.
- Pay attention to the speaker
- Repeat the information collected to ensure understanding
- Show that you are listening by acknowledging received messages
- Provide feedback about the information you hear or read
This advice will help you retain more information and to be certain that the person delivering the message knows that they have been heard and understood. Both are important facets of achieving a desired level of high quality workplace communication.