Business Communication Through Behavior Observations, Body Language & Thoughtful Discussions
By Tabitha Laser
One of the most effective tools you can have as a business leader is being a good communicator. Not only does this positive trait help you establish strong business relationships, but it’s also an excellent tool to have when collaborating with your employees.
According to a study by Fierce Inc. of 1,400 corporate executives, employees, and educators, “86 percent blame a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.”
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do as a leader to ensure that you’re communicating effectively in the workplace and confirm to your team that they’re being heard.
Practice Open Body Language
In order to be a good communicator, you also have to be a good listener. It might sound obvious, but when communicating with others, be it during a casual one-on-one planning session or during a team-wide meeting, take the time to actually listen to what others have to say. Being fully attentive will not only give you the chance to digest their thoughts and ideas, but it will also show that you’re an active participant in the communication process.
There are a few ways to show that you’re actively listening to another person, these include making eye contact, nodding your head, and leaning in. Remember, it’s important to listen to people, but it’s equally important that they know that you’re listening.
Observe the Behavior of Others
Just like your own body language, a good gauge to see if others are actively attentive is by examining their behavior. During a discussion if someone is checking his or her cell phone or appears to be disengaged, consider what might be the reasoning. Perhaps you’ve been talking endlessly and haven’t given the other person the opportunity to share his or her own input.
As a manager, it should go without saying the importance of building work relationships with your employees, and one of the best ways to do that is open communication. According to a survey of 2,000 office workers, less than half are satisfied with the communication they receive from senior management. Some ways to help increase satisfaction is by regularly checking in with your employees and giving them an opportunity to share any thoughts or concerns with you in a safe, open forum. Examples include having regular in-person meetings with each employee or being easily accessible via multiple modes of communication, such as by email. Ensuring that your employees are seen and heard is an important part of being a leader and shows that you’re a good communicator.
Have Thoughtful Discussions in Business
Finally, when you are communicating with your colleagues, make sure that you make the most of these interactions by engaging in thoughtful discussions. One way to do this is to designate a particular time when employees can come to you with any questions, concerns, or ideas they might want to share with you. Pick a time that works best with your schedule (i.e. on days when you schedule is not bogged down by deadlines or particularly stressful responsibilities).
When talking to your employees, remember to have open body language, to listen to what they’re saying, and show them that you’re engaged in the conversation. Ask questions and even take notes so that you have a point of reference and can follow up during subsequent discussions.
In business, one of the most important things we need to learn how to do is listen. If we fail at this simple, yet somewhat overlooked, task we put our business in danger. It’s as simple as that.
By implementing each of these steps into your day-to-day interactions with your employees, you’ll not only become a more effective communicator, but a better business leader over all.
Tabitha Laser is a multi-faceted professional with over 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of industries ranging from oil and gas, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and more. Her diverse background has provided her opportunities to work with government agencies and some of the world’s largest companies, including Fortune 500 companies, BP, 3M, and General Mills. Her expertise has fueled her passion to help shape the next generation of leaders, especially millennials, to help avoid the pitfalls of their predecessors and lead beyond best. Tabitha is the author of Organization Culture Killers. The first book in a series of leadership books she calls, “The Deadly Practices.” Follow Tabitha.