Everyday we communicate with a variety of different people, for a variety of purposes, and in a variety of different ways. When it comes to communicating in the workplace, are you making sure that you are always using the right medium for contacting the person you want to communicate with? Equally, are you making the most of that opportunity to get your actual point across?
Later this month we are hosting a special seminar* How communication can help your business with Will Kintish as our guest speaker. With this in mind we thought we would take a quick look at the different ways you can communicate within the workplace, and what might work best in different situations.
A quick internet search demonstrates there are lots of statistics when it comes to the rate at which emails are sent, received and replied to around the world. To keep things simple (and to save you time), we found that between 2014 and 2018 the average office worker received about 90 business emails per day, and in turn sent out a further 40.
Without doubt, the vast majority of people find communicating via email to be quick and simple. Everything is there at the click of a button, and depending on your level of personal organisation, you can easily track ongoing conversations and locate important information.
However, statistics can’t really delve in to the nitty-gritty of email communication. How many of those emails are actually relevant? How many times have you found yourself copied in to an email chain or thread, only for it to cease to be relevant to you? Or worse, for it to descend in to chaos when someone forgets to Reply All (or inadvertently replies all)?
How many unopened emails do you currently have sitting in your inbox? How many have you read, and shelved to be dealt with later, and still haven’t quite gotten round to handling? Whilst most of us dream of an Inbox Zero, the reality is with more and more information coming in it’s getting harder to stay on top of this important communication source.
It’s always worth considering what your company strategy is when it comes to email communication. Do you want this to be the preferred method, so there is a constant paper trail? Do you want to encourage people to pick up the phone if there are matters that require a little additional explanation? This can often be a quicker way to resolve queries, instead of spending an hour composing a message that no one has time to read anyway.
Whatever your preferred method, whether it be an internal system, Skype, Whatsapp or SMS, direct messaging can be a great way to quickly provide someone with information. However, you need to ensure that information is short and sweet, rather than something that should be sent via email.
The downside of messaging however can be that it becomes too informal, and this can lead to some miscommunication problems, or even breakdowns in communication (and complaints being raised with HR). Make sure you have clear policies on how people should behave when they are corresponding with each other on work matters.
Face to face
Depending on the situation it can be far better to have a face to face conversation with someone, even if this means having to schedule the time to have a sit down chat. Many sensitive matters are better dealt with in a face to face manner, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to talk, and making it easier to clarify any points immediately.
If face to face isn’t possible in real life, then consider using technology such as Skype or Face Time to allow you to have a virtual conversation with people. There is nothing that says you have to be in the same room, if this isn’t immediately possible. Better to schedule the sensitive things sooner, rather than later, and wait for them to blow up in your face!
What do you prefer?
We’d love to hear what your preferred method of communication is, and whether that differs between your personal and professional lives.
* Please remember that all People Matters clients are automatically offered a FREE place to this seminar, though you do still need to book your seat. Please get in touch if you have any questions on securing your space.