According to a study performed by Watson Wyatt, businesses with effective communication practices are over 50 percent more likely to report that their employee turnover levels were below the industry average.
It’s not a secret that effective communication training increases productivity and employee morale. And yet, doesn’t it seem like communication skills are often taken for granted or overlooked?
These communication skills are even more important in managers.
Don’t expect your employees to come with perfect communication skills “built-in”. Instead, train them to become great communicators.
Here are a few important aspects to look for in communication training.
Crafting Clear and Concise Messages
Try to remember a great sales pitch. This can even be a commercial that you've seen on TV. There’s a chance you weren’t even giving it your full attention, yet you still remember the main message and can probably even sing back the jingle.
The reason you can recall these things is because the message was direct and simple.
If you think about it, a lot of work situations can be compared to a sales process.
While preparing for a sales pitch you’d start by thinking about the goal of the message and the most important features of your product, process, or idea. With limited time for your presentation, your communication will be precise and easy-to-understand.
Workplace communication is obviously not always a sales pitch, but it shares the same basic goal: being clear and focused. Giving specific direction is crucial for a smooth and productive workflow. Look for communication training that explores ways to craft clear and concise messages and help your managers be heard and understood by their team members.
Delivering Messages Designed for the Team Member
In any form of communication, you need to know your audience.
Managers are busy people, and sometimes while delivering a message, they are so focused on the context that the needs of the team member get overlooked.
Neglecting to dedicate time to craft a message can result in the team member being confused and less productive. This in turn will lead to more conversations that could have been avoided in the first place.
On the contrary, a manager who spends time planning out their communications will likely:
- Spark the team member’s interest in what is being communicated
- Motivate the team member to perform well
- Help the team member understand the task
- Allow the team member to feel comfortable enough to express concerns
Managing Nonverbal Behaviors
Words and intonations can be interpreted in many different ways. Oftentimes, people don’t mean what they say or don’t say what they mean. For obvious reasons, this can be very confusing!
Nonverbal behavior, on the other hand, is largely universal and can be a more reliable source of information about what the team is thinking or feeling.
Here is a list of common nonverbal behaviors:
- Facial Expressions
- Eye Contact
Noticing nonverbal behavior is a great way to get a read on how the team member feels about a manager’s message — whether it’s a new task or procedure, news about upcoming change, etc.
Train your managers to pay attention to nonverbal behaviors, which will help them:
- interpret them during conversations with team members
- learn how to use their own nonverbals effectively while delivering a message
During conversations with team members, the manager’s message should be aligned with their gestures, posture, and facial expression. Achieving this through your communication training courses will ensure delivering a cohesive message and reduce misunderstandings.
Listening to Communicate
Listening is arguably the most important communication skill that a manger can have. Effective listening skills allow managers to get a real pulse on how their employees are doing, what changes need to be made, and even how they can improve themselves as a leader. Among some of the listening styles are:
Appreciative listening (being fully engaged and paying attention)
- The manager should be able to verify what the speaker has just communicated and make sure that they are on the same page which will help avoid further confusion.
Critical listening (analyzing and figuring out the agenda of the speaker)
- The manager should clarify all the details that are essential for the success of the conversation by asking questions.
Relationship listening (expressing empathy)
- The manager should use empathy to show the team member that they understand how the team member might fill. This will show the team member that they are being heard.
Discriminative listening (detecting the underlying message)
- The manager should offer a new angle of looking at the problem that might change the team member’s perception of it.
Healthy and professional workplace relationships are the core of successful teams. Train your managers in the essential skills of communicating so they can set a good example for their team members, and lead them to success.