Strengths and Weaknesses in Workplace Communication

The following is an article written by X204 Business Communication Adjunct Lecturer Robin Fritz for Chron.com, the online business portal for the Houston Chronical:

Overview – When hiring, one of the first qualities managers look for in new employees is superior communication skills.  Smart managers recognize that creative employees with great ideas offer little value if they lack the communication skills necessary to adequately share those ideas in the workplace.  To improve upon communication in the workplace, managers build upon communication strengths while identifying and eliminating communication weaknesses.

Effective Communication – Most people are born communicating, thus it’s something many take for granted, but some people communicate more effectively than others.  Effective communicators recognize two vital aspects of communication – sharing both the intended information and the meaning of that information with their intended audience.  In fact, most communication errors occur because one of those two aspects of a message is missing.  For instance, if a supervisor instructs an employee to have a project completed by noon, but the employee hears 2:00, the message was ineffective because, while the proper meaning was communicated – have the project completed –  the correct information – have it done by noon – was not.

Communication Strengths in the Workplace – Skilled communicators recognize that effective communication takes forethought.  For example, smart managers first evaluate their intended audience to gauge such factors as the current mood, their education level, the context of the situation, etc., and they frame their message accordingly.  Effective communicators also evaluate all the possible channels available for communicating, such as face-to-face, over the phone, via email, etc., and they chose the channel best suited for that particular message and audience.  Also key to communicating effectively is learning to engage in actively listening as it takes two people – a sender and a receiver – to communicate.  

Important too, effective communicators avoid distractions and focus on more than just the spoken word, and they evaluate body language, tone of voice, etc. for clues to gauge whether their intended audience comprehends the message.  Skilled communicators in the workplace also encourage open feedback, recognizing that communication is a constant process.

Communication Weaknesses in the Workplace – Given its complexity, it is little wonder that most people, at some point, fail to communicate effectively in the workplace.  Typical weaknesses in communication include failure to adequately consider the needs of the audience.  For example, rushed employees trying to meet deadlines often overload their audience with information, and important details are often lost in the process.  Additionally, many communicators inadequately evaluate their audience and ignore the impact of such crucial details as cultural background or education level on the communication process.  For instance, industry experts who speak only in jargon will lose members of a general audience lacking experience with those terms. 

Ineffective communicators also underestimate the impact of physical distractions and emotional interference on their audience.  For example, audiences often discount a speaker’s message if that person uses bad grammar, appears sloppy, or lacks enthusiasm for the topic.

Building the Strengths while Avoiding the Weaknesses – Smart business managers encourage communication strengths in the workplace by modeling superior communication skills with their own messages.  Effective communicators educate themselves on the their employees’ individual frames of reference, and adapt their messages accordingly.  They recognize that meaning exists not in words, but in the people who use those words, and they use language that their audience will understand, for instance, using or avoiding slang, colloquial expressions or jargon based on their understanding of the audience.  Most importantly, though, smart business managers listen to their audience, and they seek to ensure that they fully understand both the intended information and meaning of a message by asking questions and encouraging feedback.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/strength-weakness-workplace-communication-10946.html

3 Comments

  1. March 19, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Nice post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. March 21, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Nice post about communication strength….

  3. May 8, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Very good information about Strengths and Weaknesses in Workplace Communication.


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