5 Ways to Improve Communication in 2018

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Effective communication has never been more important than it is now. In 2018 it often feels like people are talking at each other instead of listening and responding. Since effective communication tends to make for happier (and better) employees, now's the time to focus on improving your communication skills. 

1. Never make the conversation one-sided

Employees need to feel like they can communicate openly with their coworkers and their supervisors. We all know that communication only works when it goes both ways, so encourage employees to communicate as much as possible. Open door policies can work, as long as it is practiced not just preached. It's also important to keep in mind that as more organizations turn to remote employees, the need for new channels of communication will arise. When your employee doesn't work in the office, it can be more difficult to facilitate open conversations. 

2. Avoid outdated communication methods

If your organization only relies on traditional communication methods, you may be alienating many employees. Many employees ignore any sort of paper communication. Signs in the break room, paper memos, even direct letters are ignored. While email is a common form of communication, employees are so inundated with emails daily that relevant information tends to get buried if it isn't read immediately. With more than 72% of employees using mobile devices, your organization may want to consider using some form of mobile communication. 

3. Avoid trickle down communication

When important information comes directly from the C-suite, it should be communicated directly to employees. When it is trickled down through middle managers, information, context, and tone can get lost. Think back to playing the game "Telephone" as a child. The message at the beginning of the chain is completely different at the end. That's why direct communication is always the best option. 

4. Repeat important messages

If you want employees to remember something, you'll need to repeat it. Research shows that within one hour people forget around 50% of the information they receive. Within 24 hours that number jumps to 70%. After one week, people will have forgotten on average 90% of that information. That means that just because you told an employee something, doesn't mean they'll remember it tomorrow. And they will very likely forget it by next week. If you have an important message, repeat it often. 

5. Never delay communication

Your employees deserve to be informed. They should not have to discover critical organization information from anyone but the organization. You do not a new hire to find out the company has been sold via a Google Alert - and yes, that has happened to more than a handful of people. Of course, you don't have to share sensitive information, but you can avoid speculation and gossip by addressing news and problems as soon as possible. Communicating in a timely manner is incredibly important in the age of Twitter and Facebook. 

There are many more ways to improve communication in your organization, but these five are a great place to start. If you'd like to learn more about using communication to improve performance, join us for a free live webinar.