As an entrepreneur, you already know the importance of communication in your organization. It directly affects the productivity of employees, customer satisfaction, and the success of your business.
However, even today, it’s still easy for organizations to develop communication gaps. Gaps often happen when there’s a lack of communication or the receiver misunderstands the speaker’s message. As a gap grows, so does the potential for miscommunication among team members.
Miscommunication and misunderstandings often escalate into conflicts and delays, causing missed deadlines and higher stress levels. This is why getting rid of communication gaps is imperative.
Modern technologies can help bridge these gaps. For instance, session initiation protocol or SIP trunking Canada can simplify your phone systems. Also use tools like digital calendars and e-mail platforms to ensure everyone is on the same page. Then again, even with good technology, business communication relies on several variables, such as employee aptitudes and attitudes. You must consider these variables before looking for ways to eliminate communication gaps
You can develop a culture of trust and collaboration by bridging these gaps. Now the question is, How can you dispel such gaps? Here’s a guide to help you.
Identify Communication Bottlenecks
Before you start taking action, discovering the bottlenecks that cause miscommunication is a must. Here are some of the most common communication barriers including:
- Language barriers
- Cultural barriers
- Physical barriers
- Interpersonal barriers
- Local barriers
Language barriers may include jargon that some people, perhaps those from other teams, may be unfamiliar with and complex words with simpler counterparts.
Cultural barriers can be differences in cultural norms, affecting how a team member speaks. This is especially true if you have a global team.
Physical barriers may include closed doors, poor workplace layouts like cubicle walls, and geographical distance.
Interpersonal barriers may result from employees feeling like they don’t belong with the company. This feeling may be caused by a lack of recognition for their work or low self-esteem because of their job position on the corporate ladder.
Local barriers can be rumors and cross-functional issues.
But by identifying these communication bottlenecks, it’s easier to address the root cause of the problem and then find solutions for a clear relay of expectations.
Adopt Daily Stand-Up Meetings
Daily stand-up meetings are regular 15-minute meetings. These are typically conducted by the chief executive officer (CEO) if they only have a few team members. But for large corporations, department leaders run this type of meeting. Its purpose is to keep everyone on the same page, reduce communication gaps, and prevent employees from working in silos.
Here’s the usual format of a stand-up meeting. One person speaks at a time, starting with the team’s most junior member and ending with the most senior person present. This ensures that everyone has an opportunity to contribute without feeling intimidated by the higher-ups in the team. If a team member is off track, this type of meeting can pull them back in again. That way, they won’t waste time duplicating efforts not part of their projects.
Get Rid Of One-Way Communication
One-way communication is when companies don’t allow workers to share feedback and raise concerns. For instance, business leaders send out monthly newsletters to their employees via e-mail. This reduces engagement opportunities since employees can’t initiate and join conversations.
A simple way to reduce one-way communication is by adopting the bottom-up approach. This involves the top management requesting feedback from their workforce to determine their thoughts about the newsletters.
Instead of sending the letters through e-mail, why not send them on a chat platform, where all employees can discuss their views and suggestion in real-time? This encourages active engagement from your workforce, fostering better company culture.
Digitalization enables organizations to go beyond geographical borders and reach out to their employees. Here’s a list of communication tools used by many modern companies.
Videoconferencing tools allow you to interact with employees from different countries. As long as the team member has an internet connection, they can join meetings remotely.
Instant messaging software helps keep everyone updated about what’s happening in real time. This reduces unnecessary lengthy meetings, sending e-mails back and forth, or long-distance phone calls.
Cloud technology facilitates the remote sharing of business information. This makes it possible for your workforce to access data without carrying storage devices with them.
Most importantly, authorized personnel can modify documents, and their team members can review the version history. These are the most commonly used in modern workplaces, helping companies reduce communication barriers.
Communication isn’t just about letting the workforce know about positive news. Employees are entitled to know the bad news that could affect the company or their positions, such as financial insecurity.
Open and transparent communication is about an objective and honest relay of company updates, issues, etc. It helps you correct organizational issues while keeping your staff in the loop, wherein they can also provide input or suggestions. It makes your employees feel indispensable and, therefore, valued. And it prevents rumor-mongering and the risk of misinformation that may eat away at your company’s integrity.
Avoid Information Overload
Information overload causes communication gaps. For example, you’re sending your team members tons of reference materials within a short period.
The bulk of information may cause confusion and frustration as they can’t keep up with the influx of information.
Before cascading complex information, give them ample time to process the information systematically, raise their concerns, and supply insights or suggestions. This method reflects on your character, particularly your ability to empathize, which is relationship-building.
But when information can be simplified, get to the main points by pinning down the top three priorities of your message:
- The main agendum
- The crucial supporting details
- When it’s an issue, the possible resolutions
You may also schedule related tasks together to avoid unnecessary repetition. This ensures that everyone is on board with their roles in solving the problem.
Summing It Up
The success of a workforce lies in effective communication. But if there are communication gaps in your organization and you don’t find ways to resolve them, they can affect team productivity. On the other hand, discovering these gaps allows you to take action before they cause project delays and other problems.
Communication gaps may also be eliminated through automation, which can automate repetitive tasks and enable real-time communication. That way, you can speed up processes while reducing misunderstandings.