Communication is the #1 most important factor for creating a strong office environment. You can have an excellent product, the best team, and the newest tech, but if you’re not open to genuine communication, your business won’t succeed. The benefits to having a strong culture of communication in your office are clear.

The Aveta Business Institute reports, “Good communication prevents misunderstandings among people in the workplace. When employees are able to converse efficiently with each other, misunderstandings will be resolved in an amicable manner. Furthermore, unnecessary friction is avoided. This means that employees will be able to concentrate better on their work.”

Better quality of work, less stress, and more time to focus? Sound like your business needs to focus on communication! Here are 5 traits you need to embody so your team can follow suit.

Get honest

Communicating effectively isn’t easy. It’s a process and takes a lot of work. Getting your team to open up and start communicating effectively with you requires trust on both ends, which means you need to be approachable. Employees value honesty over all other traits; CEO Magazine reports that 89% of employees said honesty is the most important trait their bosses could have.

This obviously doesn’t mean that you should stop being in charge. Being honest doesn’t mean being a pushover. It just means you make expectations clear for your team, and in turn, you deliver on your own promises and goals.

Listen actively

The next part of getting your team ready for successful communication is to hone your active listening skills. Active listening is the process of fully concentrating on the information in a conversation, not just waiting for your turn to talk.

Answer 1 reports, “A big part of the success of active listening relies on your ability to relate to your conversation partner. The easiest way to do this is to ask questions. Not only will you be able to clear up any uncertainty you might have, the person you are speaking to will appreciate your attentiveness and desire to understand the nuances of what they are saying.”

Listening actively to your team will go a long way in building that trust you need. It’s all about making sure you team feels honestly heard in the day to day dealings of your business.

Make sure to teach your team about active listening, as well. A brief discussion in a team meeting, conversational reminders, or interesting articles sent in passing will all go a long way in create a company culture that includes active listening.

Learn about nonverbal communication

It’s funny how you can communicate a lot without saying anything at all. This is through nonverbal communication. Facial expressions, body language, and gestures all contribute to your nonverbal communication, which is the way you communicate implicit messages. You can be saying all the right things, but your body might be telling a different story.

Forbes reports that “how we say something is more impactful than what we say.” In fact, “in some studies, nonverbal communication has been shown to carry between 65% and 93% more impact than the actual words spoken, especially when the message involves emotional meaning and attitudes.”

So, how do you improve your nonverbal communication? Eye contact reinforces the idea of active listening. Smiling when appropriate is encouraging and helps create a bond in conversation. Monitoring your posture to reflect confidence will help your audience take you seriously.

Avoid crossing your arms or slouching. Use your body to reflect openness and confidence, and better communication will follow.

Keep Distractions at Bay

This point might be a little harder to execute, depending on your line of work. We know most businesses are reliant on technology, so it might be hard to put your phone down when talking with the team. This is a huge mistake!

In a recent study by Scientific American, participants found a decreased level of trust in conversation when a cell phone was on the table between them. No one even used the phone during the study, but its mere presence was enough to derail any good feelings between the participants. Imagine the effect that taking a call in the middle of a meeting has on your team!

If you work in a field where tech is crucial or emergencies happen frequently, then it might feel necessary to always be available. But you need to make yourself available to your team first. Unless you’re using it for pertinent info, don’t have your phone out in meetings, and make that a blanket rule for your team as well. Avoid distractions as much as possible by scheduling one on one check-ins with your team during off hours.

Moving Forward As a Better Communicator

By getting honest, listening actively, learning about body language, and avoiding distractions, you will vastly improve your communication skills. If you pass these skills on to your team as well, you are well on your way to creating an environment of communication within your team.

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Parker Davis
Parker Davis is the CEO of Answer 1, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Answer 1 achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @Answer1 and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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