June 15, 2024


Make Every Business

Ways to Enhance the Effectiveness of Workplace Communication

What factors contribute to making communication at the workplace effective? Many organizations and training companies are constantly grappling with this question. Organizations ask this question in order to ensure that these competencies are enhanced in the workforce; training companies ask the same question in order to decide what needs to be done differently in their communication training workshops. To ensure effectiveness in workplace communication, the focus on training ought to be on these intangibles apart from the basic process of communication and its elements. Training often focuses on the basic process but the more critical question is, “Do the programs address the plethora of intangibles in communication that contribute to its effectiveness?”

Enhancing Effectiveness by Augmenting the Intangibles in Communication:

  • Conviction & Passion: In a business environment there are ample situations with the need to communicate strong feelings and attitude. For example: In a crisis situation when the leader decides not to follow the process to avert the possible loss of a large account or a high value customer, mere words do not make the cut. A tone of voice that conveys his emotional state with exaggerated body language persuades the staff to follow his instructions more than just words.Reflecting on Albert Mehrebian’s communication model will help us in understanding the need for expressing conviction and passion in your communication. According to this model only 7% of people’s understanding of the emotional content of communication is through the actual words used. Another 38% of understanding is from the tone of voice and 55% from body language. This simply means that 93% of communication during high-stress situations, is a result of factors that are beyond mere words. For the receiver to believe your message they need to be convinced that you believe in it in the first place.

Check for effectiveness during training:

  1. What is the appropriate emotion/feeling that I need to express?
  2. What are those non-verbal cues that contribute to expressing these emotions?
  • Enabling Receiver to Visualize your Message: Effective communication is strongly impacted by the tactful use of metaphors. Metaphors gives a reference point for the receiver to understand the message effectively. In fact, using metaphors can help THE sender to influence the receiver’s perception of the message. Metaphors can take three different forms:
  1. Allegory is the representation of abstract ideas or principles through characters, figures or pictures
  2. Hyperbole is primarily an exaggeration of events with the objective of conveying strong feelings and intent. For example: “Learning that process is like learning rocket science” or “that file weighs a ton”
  3. Simile is nothing but comparing two objects through some connective word such as like, as, so, than, or a verb such as resembles. For example: “That man on the negotiation table was as mean as a bull”

Check for effectiveness during training:

  1. Will using a metaphor enhance the message I intend communicating?
  2. Will it give me the desired result?
  • Communicating from the Receiver’s Perspective: Finally, the effectiveness of communication is dependent on whether the message was structured to elicit a positive response from the receiver. In other words, the effectiveness of your message lies in your knowledge of the receiver – your knowledge about what the receiver understands and what they do not.

Check for effectiveness during training:

  1. Do you share any of the communication barriers with the receiver?
  2. Are there any cultural, language, emotional or psychological barriers?

How Communication Training Addresses these Intangibles

In order to address these intangibles, communication training needs to focus more on how the message is expressed than the content of the message itself. In other words, the mental PICTURE created by how the message is conveyed results in enhancing the message itself.

P – Pitch & Pauses: Pitch is a musical term that refers to the highness or lowness of our voice. Every speaker has an optimal pitch to speak. It is the range you are most comfortable speaking in. You may inadvertently use a higher pitch if you are nervous and a lower pitch while trying to sound authoritative. Understanding the pitch that needs to be used to persuade and show conviction and passion is critical here. Learning to use pauses in your communication can enrich your communication. A meaningful pause builds anticipation and keeps the audience interested.

I – Inflection: Inflection is the emphasis that is laid on certain words or phrases in a sentence to convey the message. The following exercise will give you a better understanding of what inflection means. Read aloud the following sentences by emphasizing the word in red color and experience how the message changes when the word that is being emphasized changes.

  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse
  • I didn’t say he stole my purse

C – Courtesy: According to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina on 1400 workers, 52 percent of people interviewed said they “lost work time worrying about incidents of rudeness.” Courtesy involves using the right words (in written communication) and tone to convey respect (spoken communication). In Business Communication, it is possible to be courteous while being direct and business-oriented. Imagine the increase in productivity if everyone was a little more courteous.

T – Tone: Tone means conveying feelings or emotions through voice.

U – Understand ability: This simply means using the appropriate volume and pronunciation of words to ensure the receiver understands your message clearly.

R- Rate of Speech: Rate of speech simply means the number of words uttered in a minute. It plays a decisive role in how well your speech is received. While presenting highly complex information it is important to slow down the rate of speech. Also remember we listen slower than we speak, hence the need to reduce the speed.

E – Enunciation: Enunciation means the ability to utter each word in a sentence with clarity and distinctness.

In today’s business world it is imperative that every communication is effective, from the grass root level of communication between frontline staff to the corporate communication that organizations convey to the outside world. If key influential people of organizations are great communicators, then it leads the way for organizations to reach its full potential. Imagine the impact on your organization’s progress if your leaders possessed the communication skills that great communicators of the past and present possess. The objective of communication skills training ought to be to augment such transformations in your leaders. To learn more about what separates the great communicators from the rest of the pack, read this article on ” Five Keys to Effective Workplace Communication “.