Wednesday, 10 June 2020 14:11

Avoiding Miscommuncation in the Workplace

Clear and concise communication is a big challenge for all of us these days, especially with the increased amount of remote work due to the current situation around the globe. But when miscommunication occurs in the workplace, it can cause damage that could be measured in a variety of ways, sometimes even in your company’s bottom line.

This can come about in a variety of ways, like instances of employees not understanding what is expected of them, or when an executive’s description of a new initiative doesn’t inspire his or her intended audience. This can even translate into operational confusion which leads to problems with a company’s target audience.miscommunication

However, business leaders that are aware of such problems can take action to keep lines of communication clear and open. At American Lumber, we make every effort to connect with each of our colleagues in ways that minimize potential misunderstandings. We aim to identify situations where miscommunication has occurred and learn from that experience to improve going forward. 

Has your workplace has seen episodes of miscommunication? Here are a few tips that we found valuable to keep in mind.

Recognize & Acknowledge Instances Miscommunication. As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to acknowledge when there has been a miscommunication which caused a negative outcome.  Of course, there is always a chance that the issue lies on those who are interpreting the message, but assuming responsibility for your role in the problem will help the other person feel less defensive, and will allow them to ‘own’ their part of the miscommunication as well.

Facilitate Improved Communication. These days we hear about leaders having an “open door” policy with their employees. While it’s not always practical, it is generally a good idea. Your team depends on you to share news about the company, industry trends, and customer-centric initiatives.  

With this in mind, it may be a good idea to consider having set hours during which employees can schedule to meet with you. Invite them to come to you with suggestions or improvements revolving around customer service, product improvements, etc. You might be surprised by what they have to say, and how it can positively impact your business!  

Listen More. While listening to customers is surely important, the same principle holds true for others with whom you interact. To improve your listening skills and truly hear what people are communicating try these tips: 

- Ask clarifying questions.
- Refrain from interrupting.
- Think less about what you plan to say next.
- Eliminate distractions

By keeping these tips in mind you can significantly reduce occurrences of miscommunication in your workplace. 

Use Preferred Methods of Communication. Each of us has our own preferences and ways of talking and getting our points across. Problems can arise when different styles of communication don’t meet.  

To address this issue, learn more about how people with whom you most frequently interact prefer to communicate. Some like getting detailed messages, others just want to know what action you want them to take. Some people like to communicate face-to-face, while others benefit more from written messages. Adjusting to meet their needs increases the chances your message will be heard and understood. 

Summarize what you’ve heard. Sometimes people can end a conversation and each comes away with a different understanding of what’s been said. This can be avoided if you or another participant takes a moment to summarize the topic and points of emphasis. 

To help avoid this, try summarizing a conversation before it ends. Express what you heard as the and confirm that’s what the other person intended to get across. This will help identify if there has been any confusion.

Communicating effectively can be challenging. However, with the right focus, you can ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page.

Have you taken steps to improve communication in the workplace? If so, we would love to hear them!

American Lumber
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Last modified on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 14:39

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