Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break. – Earl Wilson

The importance of communication at the office cannot be stressed enough. Effective communication may spell the difference between a missed deadline, or successfully closing a huge account from a major client.
Lots of articles online have different tweaks and tips on how to write better e-mails and the like. However, not much has been written on the underlying principles on why effective office communication is essential. Here are 5 principles of communicating better at the office.

1. Know your Role within the company

To communicate more effectively in the office, employees have to work with a team mindset. Think of a basketball team and the key roles which different players serve: the Point Guard brings the ball down the court and sets up the play; the Center is the big man in charge of rebounding and blocking; you get the point.
Similarly, knowing what your role is within the company would create a dynamic where you team up with the rest of your group mates to deliver results. This would also entail knowing who your bosses are, and acknowledging the internal hierarchy within the company. By doing so, the employee would not just come to work simply to get paid; he would feel part of something greater than himself.

2. Use Proper Online Etiquette

Corny as it may sound, online etiquette is the basic set of rules which are common courtesy when communicating online. When used properly, it sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.
For instance, there have been horror stories of clueless employees messaging their bosses’ personal accounts through Facebook messenger, asking work related questions beyond office hours, or worse, engaging in mindless chitchat.
Online etiquette includes social media, e-mail, and even the use of instant messaging programs. The HR should see to it that its workers are  oriented on the basic rules of proper online etiquette, for this will lead to better communication in the office.

3. Goal-oriented communication delivers results

If the company wants to integrate efficiency in its routine, goal-oriented communication is a sound principle to keep in mind. This is especially true for correspondences and e-mails, where going straight to the point would lead to less cluttered inboxes, and more organized calendars and to-do lists.
Received an important memorandum which requires a response? Why not try the response “Copy” instead of an overly long, drawn out “Thank You” email. Sending a file to your other officemates? Make sure that you put in the relevant subject and the filename are relevant, to avoid confusion.
Humans are definitely not cold, unfeeling machines; but for the purposes of effective online communication, it must be goal-oriented. Keep unnecessary niceties or sharing of emotions at a minimum.

4. Team Building Exercises with Integration of Skills

That egg relay race is all well and good for bonding, but the ultimate goal of team building activities should be to add value to the company. Worse, some outings even turn out to be quite toxic. For example, in one outing the company went on a three day beach trip. Due to an ineffective HR team, the employees just ended up drinking and lazing around all day long.
To avoid wasting idle time, management should consider integrating learning into these team building activities. By investing in talks, seminars and conferences which would add to the skill set of the employees, this is positive communication at its best.

5. Be considerate

Lastly, a solid rule to keep in mind is to be considerate. If you think about it, most forms of miscommunication could actually be avoided if interactions in the office applied this rule.
Deadline nearing within the next three days? Don’t be inconsiderate and cram things at the last minute, burdening the whole company in the process. Have nothing nice to say about your officemate’s skimpy outfit? Just keep it to yourself (and save yourself a whole lot of trouble from a sexual harassment suit).
Proper communication is important because at the end of the day, beyond our capacities as bosses or as employees, we’re all just human beings who just want to be understood.

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. – Paul Meyer


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