When you combine two or more employees together to complete a project, you run the risk of having some form of misunderstanding. It happens at virtually every organization, at every level of employment. However, if you are aware of how to handle these issues as they arise, you can overcome them quickly and move on to more positive collaboration.
To improve your effectiveness in combatting these communication problems, consider these 4 communication solutions for common work-related problems.
Solution #1: Diagnose Your Specific Issue
Typically, work-related communication problems fall into 3 areas:
- Silence: If this is the problem, your initial conversations may have been rushed, or status updates on projects or timelines aren’t being received frequently enough. You may find yourself asking questions about a project just to diagnose what needs to be completed.
- Noisy: Over-communicating can also cause significant problems for a business. This results in excessive amounts of meetings to discuss things that have already been discussed numerous times and there seems to be no execution on the actual project itself. You may find yourself dealing with conversations regarding irrelevant information or minor issues that don’t require such extensive discussions.
- Confusion: It may be that you have the right amount of communication, but there’s a disconnect with the mutual understanding. You may have thought you knew what was expected of you, but when you present your work, they inform you it wasn’t what they had in mind for the project. Or, maybe you answered a question but people are still confused as to what they need to do.
Change Your Approach
Now that you know what your specific issue is (Silence, Noisy, or Confusion) you can change your approach in an attempt to fix it. Try different communication methods like writing things out, talking through the project instead of messaging, use drawings or images to express ideas or provide examples. Step out of the normal ways you deliver information to better articulate your message in a new and more informative way.
No matter what your communication issue, active listening skills should be continuously encouraged. Poor listening skills are one of the most common problems among business communication today, but with a few minor changes, it can be improved.
- Pause after someone speaks and process what was said before responding.
- Clarify with the speaker if you are confused about something that was just said.
- If you were unable to hear something, don’t be afraid to ask to have it repeated for you.
Everyone communicates a little differently than the next person, but in order to have a successful and informed team, you must set expectations of how communication should occur within your organization. Maybe you will need to request additional project status meetings or reports for milestones, or maybe you need to implement some new tools to ensure communication flow improves. Whatever changes need to occur to fix your communication problems, they should be documented and presented to the organization so everyone is aware of what is expected and how it will help the business.