Communication is crucial in the workplace. How you relay information is essential for the comprehension of the recipient.
In a perfect world, this would be easy, but the reality is Communication breakdown can be a source of problems within a company. We don’t always convey what we intend. We misunderstand, overlook or forget information we have been given and sometimes read emotions into words that weren’t what the writer was feeling. Speeches are sometimes packed with an emotional punch that distracts from the point you are trying to make. With written communication, these issues are often exacerbated, and that is a concerning issue with more people working remotely and communicating with the written word to do their jobs.
Communication in your organization can be improved immensely by asking your employees to consider some practices in their written communication. We have put together some that have been helpful to us here at Payday.
Break up long sentences and paragraphs. When readers see a long block of text, they might get confused before they even get to the first word. Comprehension and retention of information are much more difficult with long sentences and paragraphs.
Use clear, concrete terms. When you use broad generalizations, vague words, and complex ideas, miscommunication can take place. Using specific language will help your reader to understand and grasp your meaning. Just because something you wrote might be clear to you doesn’t always mean it will be clear to your reader, leading to confusion and a misunderstanding.
Provide context and direction when adding someone to a conversation. When you forward someone an email, be sure to clue the reader into what the conversation entails and what they need to know and do in response. Without doing this, the reader might not immediately understand what to do with it; should they keep it as a reference? Read through the thread or respond in some way? Be clear!
Avoid unnecessary details. Some context might be useful, but when you use too much, it can overwhelm the reader and add to the time it may take to read, respond and act on the information. Leave it out unless there is a good reason for the recipient to know the details about something.
Save difficult or emotionally intense conversations for calls, video conferences, or in-person meetings. If you anticipate a strong emotional response or perhaps believe the recipient may read strong emotions into what you have to say, it's best to not write to them but to talk instead. This way, you let them hear your voice and what you have to say and be able to listen to theirs.