Communication is often defined as the sharing of information, feelings and ideas. In the business world, exchanging information is essential for your company’s success, and there are many different avenues available to communicate with your employees and customers. With the advent of social media, the number of communication options has exploded. You can share among your employees almost instantaneously. As the speed of communication accelerates, your challenges to communicate effectively also increase. Keeping your communications accurate and informative becomes a daily challenge.
Traditional Communication Methods
Communicating with your employees has traditionally been a top-down process: Management created policies, procedures, documents and memos and distributed them to workers. Your now deliver communication usually through internal email messages and website updates. Employees most likely communicate through email and phone calls, with occasional meetings to update status and review accomplishments. Paper memos still exist, but their use is declining as most organizations now rely almost exclusively on email for their important communications.
Email and Instant Messaging
Your employees most likely use email and instant messaging for most of their daily communications. From daily updates to the latest news from your field offices, associates can stay up to date and informed at all times. The advantages of email and instant messaging are the speed of information and the ability to communicate to everyone in your company at the same time. A big disadvantage is that they do not allow you to see body language and hear voice inflections, non-verbal communication that constitutes a large portion of the content of most messages. This can cause miscommunication issues.
In-person communication among your employees has been declining over the past few years because of the increased use of email, instant messaging, social media and other technologies. Speaking with employees one on one is the most effective form of communication because it allows you and your employees to see body language, make eye contact and detect other nuances of communication. With in-person communication, you also can ask questions, obtain feedback and clarification and watch for reactions. If you need to be 100 percent certain that a person accurately receives your communication, deliver it in person.
Telephone and Social Media
Your employees also communicate by telephone, although that phone no longer is attached to a desk. Cell phone technology enables your associates to stay in touch with the office even while they are away from their desk. Social media websites also enable your employees to communicate with each other and stay mobile, as they can access these websites through many cell phones. These sites and the increasing use of handheld communication devices allows everyone in your company to be constantly in touch with your office and each other, helping to rewrite the definition of communication.