Effective Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication in the workplace is absolutely necessary if an organization or business hopes to keep its commitments to its customers.

Commitments are promises a business makes to its customers to do whatever it takes to deliver its goods or its services. When it manages its commitments effectively, it succeeds.

Meeting commitments to external customers always depends on how well employees keep their commitments to each other. Your promise to your manager to get financial data to her by noon today helps her keep her promise to her director to produce a report by the end of the week.

As employees and co-workers fulfill their promises to each other, work within the business moves forward and commitments to external customers near completion.

Language is the primary tool workers use for making and keeping commitments to one another. Knowing how to make solid requests and offers are communication skills every worker needs to develop for effective communication in the workplace to happen.

When you make a request, you ask someone for a promise. A clear request spells out what you want someone to do, when you want them to do it, why you want them to do it, and how well you want them to do it. This information helps the person give you an answer you can evaluate against commitments you have with co-workers or with customers.

A "Yes" says the person asked will adjust his time and actions so that you can fulfill your own promises to other workers.

A "No" says she will not adjust her time and actions, so you need to find someone else to work with.

And a "Yes, but” or “Only if” tells you there are other priorities pressing on the person which may limit her or his ability to accept your offer. You must then decide if you can still keep your commitments by accommodating the other person’s needs.

If you can make the accommodation, your commitments are still on track. If you can't, you move ahead and ask someone else for their help.

Effective communication in the workplace gets sabotaged whenever workers accept a request they ought to decline. Sometimes it’s because they are afraid to say "No!" to whoever is making the request. Other times it’s because of conflicts in the workplace.

Occasionally they do not clearly understand what they were promising because of cultural diversity. And now and then, they do it because they are too eager to please, want to be part of a special project, or hope to show they have a positive attitude.

Whatever the reason, when workers take on more than they can handle, they put their personal reputations on the line, the reputations of co-workers who depend on them, and the reputation of the organization itself. They also increase workplace stress.

Good leaders know this. They are aware that the identity of the organization as an ethical workplace is ultimately at stake when they ask workers for commitments. They leave room for employees to discuss requests that conflict with other commitments. They also know that some commitments will have to be renegotiated later because of circumstances beyond their employees’ control.

Renegotiating agreements, like stress management or team building, is also part of effective communication in the workplace. When employees realize they cannot meet a deadline, they must alert whoever will be affected by the breakdown as soon as possible, then review the original agreement and reach a new deal.

Effective Communication Coaching helps you develop communication skills to improve the way you work with co-workers.

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