Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
18 Ways Managers Can Improve Communication
Communication is one of the most important elements in a business – a tool for every manager to prevent misunderstandings and promote a healthy and friendly environment. Learning to communicate effectively as managers can help us grow our careers and create a productive, satisfied team.
By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
What is communications management?
Communications management refers to information provided by managers to other members of a company, such as subordinates or other executives. Communication can be interpersonal or corporate:
• Interpersonal: Interpersonal communication takes place between some members of an organisation, such as when three colleagues discuss a project they are working on.
• Corporate: Corporate communication takes place at the highest level of an enterprise and includes messages or information communicated by it as a whole, such as an advertisement.
Within these two categories of communication, each part of them has a distinct form:
• Verbal: Verbal communication refers to spoken language.
• Written: Written communication concerns texts and appears in messages, emails and brochures.
• Non-verbal: Non-verbal communication refers to the messages we send without using words and includes facial expressions and gestures.
The benefits of good communication
Improving communications management within an organisation can have far-reaching benefits, including:
• Develop trust: Open and effective communication can promote trust between employees and managers.
• Encouraging collaboration: When team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, more collaboration can occur and lead to new strategies and innovation.
• Improve workplace morale: Honest and direct communication about company policies and expectations can improve cooperation and encourage employees to avoid gossip.
• Motivating employees through inclusion: When everyone is included in the communication, they feel a valued and integral part of the team and are more likely to perform with greater gusto.
• Employee retention: Employees who feel listened to and respected by their managers may be more satisfied with their role and stay with a company longer.
Developing effective communication
Let's look at 18 ways we can develop more effective communication as managers:
1. We practice our speaking skills: We practice our speaking skills by making a presentation or speech to friends or relatives. We can also rehearse time management, eye contact and pauses in our speech in front of a mirror until we feel more comfortable. There are also public speaking seminars that we could attend.
2. We improve our writing skills: As managers, our writings must be legible, properly formatted, with the appropriate style and of course with correct spelling and grammar. We can improve our writing skills by attending a writing workshop or enrolling in an online writing course that specialises in the business environment. Reading books is also a way that can help us.
3. We are available and approachable: We must show our employees that we are reliable and encourage them to contact us. Having empathy and understanding, can help us build genuine relationships and promote honesty among team members.
4. We check our stuff: Before an important meeting with employees, like a performance review or a company announcement, we check the material we're going to present. Familiarity with its content helps us feel more comfortable. Instead of trying to remember every detail of what we are going to present, we can focus on other aspects of communication, such as listening to others or paying attention to the non-verbal messages we send – facial expressions, gestures.
5. We listen: Good communication starts with listening to the people we work with. We need to understand their perspective, concerns and priorities in order to implement meaningful and effective policies.
6. We create a unified vision: When our team shares a common vision, it can help us connect information, policies, and expectations to that vision. This helps team members understand the reasons behind management decisions.
7. We promote transparency: If we want employees to be open and honest with us, we must implement transparency in the company. We share both wins and challenges with our employees to encourage healthy, two-way communication.
8. We consider diversity in the workplace: We make sure that what we communicate, and how we communicate it, resonates with the wider audience. We consider factors such as age, education and background to make sure we treat everyone fairly.
9. We prioritise a single method of communication: There are many options for communication in the workplace, including email, corporate intranets and messaging applications. It can be difficult for employees to keep up with multiple channels. We choose one way of communication as our primary source for important information. For example, we can tell our employees that all important updates and when meetings will take place will be sent to work emails.
10. We pay attention to non-verbal signals: Non-verbal communication can convey thoughts and feelings. We make sure we understand these cues and can check our own when communicating with employees. Positive non-verbal signals are of course a smile or a polite nod.
11. We aim for clarity and directness: In a meeting with company employees we communicate our main message clearly and directly, using simple language and eliminating unnecessary content. We focus on the key points and explain any complicated or technical terms in a way that everyone can understand.
12. We communicate often: Communicating frequently with our team shows that we are committed to sharing information and that we value their opinions.
13. We integrate virtual tools: With an increasing number of employees working remotely, we also use virtual tools to enhance communication between the company and its remote employees. We can use video conferencing and messaging applications that connect employees to each other.
14. We use different strategies: We should remember that many people process information in different ways. That's why we use different communication methods, including audio and visual aids, to make it easier for our listeners to remember the material we share with them.
15. We have a core message: We decide what we want to be the main element in any piece of communication. As we write, we refer back to this key information to make sure our message stays focused. We repeat this main point several times in our communication.
16. We connect the message to our audience: We find a way to make our information resonate with our audience by telling them why it is relevant and valuable to them. This way we will help our listeners engage with the information we present to them. It is very important to manage to get their attention.
17. We ask for feedback: We ask our employees to tell us which communication methods they prefer, if they feel comfortable speaking about their concerns to management, and if they are satisfied with the company's level of communication. Anonymous surveys help get more honest responses.
18. We measure the effectiveness of our communication: To find out if our communication is effective, we monitor how much employees engage with our material. We can see how many people open our emails, click on links or respond to surveys.