Communication among people is the greatest source of information. However, the information we gain might not always be very accurate. Miscommunication is quite naturally present in large corporations with hundreds of employees, but it can happen in small businesses just as easy. One thing in common is that it’s always damaging, as it creates conflicts and reduces efficiency. Here’s how you fight it!
While someone likes to write down every piece of information, the others night not be keen note takers because they need to focus on what’s being said. Therefore, you might prefer to distribute print outs of the agenda or any other necessary documents before the actual meeting takes place, so your colleagues have time to review or add their own agenda. Not to mention they will pay more attention to you and they will be more likely to participate in a discussion.
Business emails can be a great source of miscommunication. Just think of all the times you received a long email that touched many topics but it left more confused than you were before. If there is one golden rule to follow when writing a business email, it is to keep it simple, on topic and make it as easy to read as possible by adding headings, subheadings and bullet points.
For example, when you launch a new project, you as the project leader or the boss should sit down with all the team members and discuss their involvement. Do they know exactly what their responsibilities are? Are they aware of their day-to-day objectives and tasks? Have they been briefed thoroughly about the project’s value and outcomes?
With our current workloads, multitasking is a must. However, if you have a meeting with your colleague and he has something to say, then you should truly listen. That means: no phone calls, no emails, no other interruptions. Take notes of the key points and summarize what you have learnt so that he sees you truly understood the issue.
If you have a feeling there’s something wrong, don’t just rely on your colleague to tell you. He might not be comfortable to bring up a sensitive topic. That is why you should closely observe his non-verbal communication in addition to listening to the actual words. Pay attention to his body language, appearance, his voice and eye contact. The truth will be hidden in these clues.
Be accessible to your colleagues. It will show them just how must you care about them. Let them come to you with whatever they feel like you should be made aware of. This way you can learn about potentially negative issues happening in your business long before they can do any harm.