Poor communication skills can and will hamper any project or relationship. Taking the time to develop good communication skills should not be dismissed as a waste of time. The first impression most times dictate the follow up reactions to the matter being communicated.
There are several areas that should be addressed in regard to improving communication skills. One of the foremost points to consider is the presentation of the material.
Know your audience. This is key. The information provided must be tailored to those receiving the information. If technical jargon is needed, it would be wise to ensure the use of it is in line with the knowledge level of the audience. If terms are used that are outside the scope of the audience, it can cause confusion.
It is important that the goals and direction are clearly explained. The fastest way to derail a team or the project itself is if the goals and direction aren’t clearly seen and/or understood. If the team sees the goal and understand the direction they can start their process of work and collaboration to begin making progress. The communication within the team is also very important. As a manager, it is important that an open and collaborative environment is created and encouraged. To facilitate collaboration, it will help that each team member is aware of their role on the team. When roles are clearly defined it helps to prevent an overlap in duties and creates different perspectives that individual members contribute from.
Communication is also very important with individual team members. When building a team, the team/organization goals must align with the goals of the individual. As a manager, the focus should always be ensuring that the team has the tools they need to be successful. Contained within that should be ensuring that the individual members are developing in the areas that are not only going to make them successful in their current position, but preparing them for their next step to achieving their goal.
The last aspect of improving communication is listening. As a manager that’s building or currently managing a team, listening is the most valuable component for success for two reasons. 1) Listening is the only way a manager will truly understand their people and their individual goals. 2) In order to make sure the team has everything they need to be successful, a manager must understand the situations that are coming up within the team. The team must be feel free to voice thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
When communication between the manager, team, and individuals improve, engagement improves. As engagement improves, productivity improves. As productivity improves, success of the individual, team, and organization improves.