It’s no secret that communication has radically changed in the last generation. If you are 100 years old today, when you were born, there were probably no cars on your street; now, there are touch screens, video chat applications, and a copy of all the world’s knowledge and opinions stored in the cloud.
Communication has changed quickly, and this has unfortunately resulted in things slipping through the cracks. The following will explore some practical tips that businesses can employ to improve their written communication in today’s age. These tips apply both to individuals looking to improve their work performance and management teams trying to streamline overarching workflows.
Teach Workplace Communication
Nowadays, every position involves a training period. This occurs for a myriad of reasons, including legal protection, as companies can firmly state that a particular employee was informed about the correct way to do something so as to reduce the risk of harm.
All businesses need to be adding communication techniques to their training processes. Teaching active listening skills plus reiteration techniques can save you a ton of miscommunication later on down the road, especially considering how much workplace communication takes place over email and messenger applications.
If staff know to sign off their emails with something like: to confirm, I understand that you need the new files by Wednesday and the corrected images by Friday, you can avoid a lot of wasted time and energy as well as minimize staff frustrations. You can also teach staff to clearly express their expectations using phrases like: I can absolutely get you the new files by Wednesday, provided I’m given the updated data by Monday.
Given that written communication doesn’t contain elements of tone and a tandem series of gestures and facial expressions, there’s lots of room for misinterpretation. Teaching staff correct email etiquette can reduce the risk that someone is going to become flustered or insulted.
Finally, it’s important to have clear guidelines regarding who is to be included in which email chains. If staff are constantly being included in chains that don’t apply to them or their work, they’ll quickly get comfortable with the notion that they only need to read a small percentage of the emails they’re CC’d on. This creates a high chance that they’re going to miss an important message at some point seeing as they’re used to skipping over messages in their inbox.
Optimize With The Right Tools
If you have lots of a particular kind of written communication to deal with, you want to look for ways to optimize these processes. Mail connoisseurs at FP note that something like a franking machine can be used if you need to send lots of mail. Applications like Grammarly or other spell-checking programs can help reduce those pesky grammatical errors that occur no matter how diligent a staff member is.
If your business is growing and you find yourself in need of copywriting, content writing, newsletter writing, or other regular writing, it might be time to hire another staff member. Both freelance writers and in-house writers can improve the quality of the written work your company produces. They are also often faster than standard staff members at crafting written messages, editing them, and typing them out, which can result in saved time and money.
Return To Simplicity
In almost every case, shorter messages are better. The longer the text, the higher the chance someone is going to misunderstand something or skim over something important. Emphasize the value of being clear and concise in all your written endeavors. The latest studies are finding that the average person won’t read a paragraph that’s longer than four lines; they’ll simply move on to the next paragraph.
As written communication becomes embedded into industries across the world, it’s a good idea to stay inspired about the power words can have. Whenever you notice a newsletter that was effective and well-worded, an advertisement that actually got you to think about the product, or an email that left you feeling understood and appreciated, save the text in a special folder on your computer. If you’re stuck in the future regarding a written message, you can leaf through what you’ve saved for ideas.
The above tips should help you improve the written communication that goes on in your workplace. Communication culture is something that people quickly adapt to when it proves effective, and this means that you can be a communication leader in your workplace even if you’re not the head boss. Simply put the appropriate time and effort into your written communication and watch as others follow your lead.
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