It doesn’t matter if ten percent of your workforce is in the field or if 100 percent of it is. One of the top attributes that contributes to the success or any business is clear and effective communication. Think about it for a minute. How can you expect to successfully deliver a product if the people responsible for its creation can’t even manage to maintain a dialogue that keeps everyone operating on the same page? (Hint: You can’t.)

With that in mind, we thought we’d offer a little advice on how to more effectively communicate with your team

Be crystal clear.
We get it. This seems like obvious non-advice but work with us here. More often than not, miscommunications happen because of gaps, left-out information, or even nonverbal cues that contradict the actual message being delivered. Make sure you are relaying all pertinent information, clearly and concisely. And if speaking in person, versus through an email, mind those facial expressions and gestures that could, say, suggest that you really don’t feel strongly about what you’re saying.

Listen to your team.
This is probably the most important tip of all. While it may not seem like a tip that necessarily involves you actually communicating with anyone, taking the time to listen to your staff — actually hearing what they have to say — sends an extremely powerful message. It’s one thing for an employer to speak about having an open-door policy and an entirely different matter to see it in action. Whether it’s office grievances or ideas for process improvement, let them not only be heard but show that you are listening. You can achieve this by repeating certain talking points back and asking questions.

Ask questions.
Like we mentioned above, asking questions helps to really demonstrate to your staff that you’re actually listening to them when they talk. But it also helps to clarify any confusion there may be, assuring that you are all on the same page. However, when asking questions, make sure not to veer off to another topic altogether. Stay focused on the subject at hand.

Approach conflict from all angles.
It’s almost impossible to avoid some sort of conflict amongst colleagues. No two minds work the same and, at one time or another, different viewpoints are going to clash. What matters is how conflicts are resolved. As a leader, be sure to hear both sides of the equation, keep an open mind, and don’t play favorites. It’s important to maintain a high level of diplomacy and help all parties involved come to some sort of resolution so everyone can move forward.

Avoid discussing divisive topics.
We’ve told you about the negative side of discussing politics in the workplace, but politics isn’t the only taboo topic of conversation at work. Bold statements about personal beliefs, such as religion, or even thoughts on hot-button topics in the news, like a highly controversial criminal trial, for example, can lead to heated debates that are best left outside of the office. The last thing you want is for unrelated personal viewpoints to get in the middle of people’s abilities to effectively do their jobs.

With a little finessing, anyone can mold themselves into a model communicator. It all comes down to being willing to put in the effort and make some changes that ultimately help the business as a whole move forward.

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