Want to work better with your colleagues and create an uplifting workspace? In this blog, I will share three tips for communicating effectively with your colleagues. 

1.    Choose an appropriate channel of communication.

Emails, phone calls, and meetings! Oh my! With many communication channels to choose from, it can be tempting to just choose the channel YOU prefer. However, it is important to consider the content of the message and who will be receiving it before choosing a channel. 

Communication channels can be rich, lean, or somewhere in between. According to Adler et al. (2021) in Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, social scientists use the term ‘richness’ to describe communication channels that are rich in nonverbal cues. Rich channels include in-person conversations and video calls. 

On the other hand, ‘leanness’ describes channels that lack nonverbal cues. Lean channels include texts and emails. 

Lean channels can be the best choice if you want others to focus more on what you’re saying rather than your appearance. However, lean channels may make it harder to interpret a message and can take away nonverbal cues that could provide important information. 

Consider the context when picking your channel. For instance, if you plan to discuss a major decision that will impact people emotionally, it would be best to chat in person, on a video call, or at least over the phone, so that you can pick up on nonverbal cues and respond to them. However, if you want to share a few specific tasks you would like your colleagues to complete, an email may be a more appropriate choice. 

Different situations will call for different channels, so it is important to be adaptable and choose a channel mindfully.

2.    Keep the tone positive.

Be warm and optimistic when communicating with your colleagues. Keeping the communication climate positive will help everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. 

According to Adler et. al (2021), it is important to communicate in a way that makes people feel valued. This can be done by recognizing others, supporting them, and acknowledging their thoughts and feelings. 

Adler et al. (2021) also noted that receiving messages of agreement or support at work makes employees “feel interpersonally significant, needed, unique, and particularly successful” (Lutgen-Sandvik et al. 2011, as cited in Adler et. al, 2021).

3.    Be mindful of cross-cultural differences.

We all come from a multitude of backgrounds. As such, we should keep this diversity in mind when communicating with colleagues and adjust our styles of communication accordingly. 

According to Duke and Columbia Business Professor Dorie Clark, it’s important to be aware of the cultural tendencies of the people you’re speaking with. She advises workers to consider whether the cultures of the people they are speaking with tend to value relationship-building or simply getting the job done, direct communication or indirect communication, and formality or informality. 

Being aware of these tendencies can help everyone feel understood and respected.

By following these tips, you can communicate with colleagues in a way that fosters collaboration and avoids confusion or conflict. 

Categories: Uncategorized