Effective communication is one of those terms that we’ve all heard. Yet how to achieve it often remains elusive and hard to pinpoint. But how you communicate with your coworkers isn’t just vital to your efficiency and productivity, it can affect your morale and motivation, as well.
Below we’ll outline some tips to help you not only foster better communication with your coworkers, but in doing so, enhance your workplace collaboration and overall well-being, too.
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Improving communication with your coworkers first and foremost means utilizing clear channels of communication. And a business instant messenger provides not only a variety of channels to enhance communication, but a number of collaboration tools to streamline teamwork.
Today, instant messaging is more than just text chats. With group chats you can involve the whole team in the conversation, or even tailor the chat space by team, department, location – however you see fit. Moments arise, though, when it’s more efficient to talk and, in these instances, the personalized touch of voice and video calls isn’t just practical, it’s cost-effective as well. Voice and video calls can often be coupled with collaboration tools like screen sharing and broadcast messaging. What’s more, they’re free between users on the platform meaning, regardless of the distance between users, your days of being gouged by long-distance fees are over.
Perhaps most advantageous, however, is that the bulk of your enterprise communications will take place on a single platform – putting an end to the days of juggling phone calls, emails, and text messages while trying to get work done. Moreover, utilizing a platform which provides a private network keeps communication focused to the workplace by preventing unauthorized outside users from joining the network. The end result – streamlined strategies, decision making, delivery, and performance.
Keeping communication constant may seem obvious, but there’s more to it than you think. For instance, how much time do you spend sifting through emails? Or composing them? Then there’s the checking and refreshing your browser while you wait for a response. Today people spend on average 17 hours per week on email. This is hardly the most efficient way to communicate.
A business instant messaging platform, however, keeps communication open, flowing, and continuous. And if your workplace communication is anything other than that, your efficiency and productivity may be suffering. The ability to ask and answer questions, share media, information, and feedback, as well as collaborate – and all in real time – saves you the time, disruptions, and energy to focus on the aspects of your job which matter most.
It’s no secret that a lot of people find small talk pointless and a waste of time. But it’s actually pretty important. It could even help you build rapport, camaraderie, and trust with your coworkers.
And instant messaging was designed with quick, free-flowing chats in mind – the perfect vehicle for small talk. This doesn’t mean you should abandon in-person contact with your coworkers. That’s fundamental to your overall health and social skills. But you can’t leave your desk each time you want to check in or share a comment with a colleague. Using IM to ask a coworker their plans for the upcoming long weekend, if they watched the game last night, or if they’d want to grab lunch with you lays the groundwork for reciprocity. And should you need help in the future, the mutual respect and understanding will already be there.
Fostering a more communicative work environment means taking advantage of the variety of tools available to you.
To freshen things up, utilize visuals whenever you can. Virtual whiteboards, broadcast messaging, and screen sharing aren’t just complements to your communication routine, they’re game-changers when collaborating – whether with the next cubicle or time zone.
Importantly, not everyone may be on board with instant messaging, so try to meet in the middle when possible. Realize that text chats are best served for the brief back-and-forth flow of information, so keep them straightforward and to the point. Voice calls are better suited for longer conversations or those that can’t risk a misunderstanding, while video chats are perfect for when you need to be in the same room as your coworkers, but physically can’t. Need to send files? You can do that, too. And then discuss the document together in real time over voice or video chat.
Crucially, don’t over-rely on instant messaging. If you don’t need an immediate response, consider an email. What’s more, if you need to address an inter-office conflict, try doing that in a more personal manner, either over a voice call or in person. And finally, don’t forget to get up from your desk every now and then and chat with your coworkers face to face.
You may not have major communication issues to address at the moment. By being proactive today, though, you could drastically influence how your team communicates tomorrow. And improved communication is more than just the communication tools at your disposal. It also means taking steps to improve well-being.
Team building isn’t just beneficial for targeting present communication issues. It can help develop better overall working relationships. Getting outside of the workplace and communicating with coworkers in a new environment – where the emphasis isn’t on work-related tasks – can improve morale, motivation, and mentality. And a team with a healthy mindset is ultimately a more productive one.
Fostering better communication with your coworkers is a continuous process, and one that takes a variety of active measures. The right business instant messenger can go a long way toward improving how you communicate in the workplace. But it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Don’t neglect the steps which are vital to camaraderie, morale, and your well-being.