Monday, July 15, 2013

Building Basic Communication Skills

A reader recently asked me how to promote a common skill base for communication in regards to a Daily Lean Tip. Proper communication in the workplace is essential so I thought I would share my thoughts here with everyone.

In today's team-oriented workplace, the development of good interpersonal communication skills is an important key to success. With a bit of practice and some instruction, you can be on your way to building positive communication skills to use in your workplace and beyond.

The process of communication involves establishing a link with another person either directly (verbal or non-verbal) or indirectly.

Basic Communication Principles include:
  • Communication is an exchange of information
  • Communication is always and only one to one
  • There are two processes when communicating – sending and receiving
  • As a sender, we can use tools and skills to LINK with another person
  • As a receiver, we can use tools and skills to understand what is being conveyed
  • Information can be exchanged directly through words (verbal) or emotions (non-verbal)
  • Information can be exchanged indirectly through posters, signs, videos, e-mail or voice mail

The attitudes you bring to communication will have a huge impact on the way you compose yourself and interact with others. Choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others. Be sensitive to other people's feelings, and believe in others' competence. Good communication must be H.O.T.

H.O.T. stands for honest, open, and two-way.

Communication is a key ingredient for empowerment. Give every employee equal and direct access to information. Many companies have developed a trickle-down style of communication that alienates those employees who may not be "in the loop." The more informed employees are and the more communication is open, honest, direct and complete, the more likely employees are to feel empowered and connected to the daily operations and overall goals of their company.

Open communication is at the center of Lean and Respect for People. Employees need to know what is expected of them and how they’re performing. Visual displays such as scoreboards, scheduling charts, team communication boards, and recognition displays all help to keep information flowing between employees, departments and upper management.

Communication is the glue that binds an organization together but do not assume that several announcements and a note on the notice board is sufficient to get the story out. Some say to communicate seven times and seven ways but that does not mean seven months apart. Develop and implement a robust communication plan and check to see if the total target audience has received the unfiltered message. If you want to know if your message is getting out clearly why not ask the most obscure person on the night shift if he or she heard the message? The day shift is easy but how about the rest of the folks?

To be an effective communicator remember The “Be List”.
  • Be A Teacher
  • Be Enthusiastic
  • Be Positive
  • Be Consistent
  • Be Demanding but Considerate
  • Be Courteous

Not only should one be able to speak effectively, one must listen to the other person's words and engage in communication on what the other person is speaking about. Avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out the ideas or memories your mind while the other person is speaking.

Effective communication is all about conveying your messages to other people clearly and unambiguously. It's also about receiving information that others are sending to you, with as little distortion as possible. Doing this involves effort from both the sender of the message and the receiver.

Developing advanced communication skills begins with simple interactions. Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the social to the professional. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships.

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1 comment:

  1. Great tips, Tim. Body language also communicates, often louder than words. In fact, one of the groups I work with has codified their meeting ground rules to include "Show respect with words and body language (No eye rolling around the table!) See more at