Why is effective communication important?

Effective communication the key to success

Good communicators are essential for the success of any business. They give information to those who need it to get things done, and they build relationships of trust and commitment. But let’s face it — communicating well is not an automatic skill. Lots of well qualified people aren’t very good at transmitting information.

How about these: The doctor who doesn’t know the right way to break bad news to a patient? Or the teacher who conveys facts to a student but no passion for the subject? Or the ads on TV that leave you wondering what they were trying to sell?

In the workplace, good communication will get the job done efficiently. It will also help you keep a happy and harmonious team. But according to Unimenta, it’s more of a problem than ever. And that’s despite (or maybe because of) technology that should be making it easier.

Information overload

We suffer from the much-maligned information overload. In any typical day, a dozen different contacts may call, email, text, tweet, message, pin, Snapchat, Instagram or Skype us. Oh yes, and someone just may walk into the office and talk to us face to face.

Across the multiple formats, we then have to filter which communication even matters at all. It can seem like everyone is demanding our attention, and then wasting our time. And some poor communicators could be trying to give you an important message hidden in what is basically doublespeak.

With so much information to absorb in a diverse and globalised workplace, effective communication skills are more important than ever. Many of the other skills that make an employee valuable can be easily acquired—or replaced.

We’re becoming less effective

Our fast-moving environment makes us work less efficiently. We skim emails for the big important points, but miss any subtle details. We no longer interpret cues from other team members intuitively. And our terse replies—if we reply—can come across as rude or indifferent.

Even those of us who love new technology have probably not become better communicators with our better and faster toys. How we communicate has changed dramatically in the last 3 – 5 years and will continue to change.

Some companies are seeing this as a real need to be addressed. Training employees in good communication skills can bring benefits to the company and to the individual.  Not only will the team member be more valuable at work, but probably be a better partner at home as well.

Benefits for productivity and job satisfaction

Optum suggests that better workplace communication will improve worker productivity and increase job satisfaction. It may also have a positive effect on absenteeism and turnover rates.

On the other hand, when communication skips important details, is ambiguous, and doesn’t allow for two-way dialogue, staff morale will take a hit. This will eventually impact customers and suppliers, who will prefer to deal with someone else.

In a future post, we’ll look at some simple tips that can help anyone become a better communicator.