Did you know that each day, each of us conveys an average of between 100 to 300 messages including those we intended to convey, those we actually did convey and those we conveyed unknowingly?
Did you know that we only hear about 50% of what is communicated and understand only 50% of those messages?
Did you know that the words we choose when communicating represent only a small component of our communication and that the tone we use and our body language (when communicating in person) carries more weight than the words we use?
The truth is communicating effectively isn’t as simple as we may think it is. In fact, effective communication while vital to our success in business and our personal lives eludes many of us. Gaining basic skills in effective communication, understanding the barriers to achieving it, and the benefits derived is important for all of us.
First, it’s important to understand that communication is a two-way street. There is conveying and the receiving of messages. Conveying a message effectively requires:
-Using simple, clear and straightforward and unambiguous language.
-Trying not to convey too many ideas at one time, but rather break down the communication into separate and distinct messages.
-Communicating a message as completely as possible and anticipating potential questions.
-Restating the message and providing clarification when needed while being receptive to questions and feedback.
-Timing your communication appropriately. In other words, do not select a hectic time to convey a critical message that you want to be clearly heard and understood. Be sensitive to the receiver(s)’ schedule and activities.
-Using the right tone when conveying the message and in keeping with the content and purpose of the message and similarly, using the right body language. In other words, not sending mixed messages by smiling and/or fidgeting when delivering a serious message, or using a small, meek voice when communicating a message of great weight and importance, while leaning back in your chair in casual relaxed position.
Since communication is a two-way street, remember that it takes active listening to effectively communicate. If someone is communicating with you, be courteous and give the communicator your full attention. Listen actively and be observant of the communicator’s tone of voice and body language to gain a full understanding of what is being communicated. To be certain that you understood the message, acknowledge what you heard and understood to make sure there is not a discrepancy between what the message sender intended to communicate and what you heard/understood.
Along with avoiding the barrier of “distraction,” effective communication also requires that you avoid other common barriers to effective communication which include:
-Being judgmental, and
-Allowing biases based on an individual’s position, age, sex, etc. to prevent listening or trying to understand the communication.
Effective communication delivers many important benefits. It builds rapport, strengthens relationships, raises awareness, provides information and builds knowledge, increases productivity and facilitates desired outcomes.
Do You Empower Your Employees?
According to research from the consulting firm of Bersin & Associates, 46% of organizations with empowered employees are more likely to be strong innovators in their markets, 34% are more likely to get to market than their competitors, 33% are more likely to report higher customer satisfaction, and 17% are more likely to be market share leaders than those organizations who do not empower their employees.
Do you empower your employees? Ask yourself these questions:
-Do you release power, responsibility and resources to your employees so that they can function at their highest performance level?
-Do you foster team spirit and a culture wherein each employee feels valued and therefore is committed to performing their tasks to the best of their abilities?
-Do you encourage open and respectful communication at all levels of the organization?
If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions, it’s time to empower your employees. There are several ways to do so. For instance, by simply asking employees for their ideas, you are empowering them. Asking a group of employees to lead a meeting empowers them. Enabling employees to self-direct themselves is empowering and also cultivates a culture which builds interdependent working relationships. Within this culture, fostering an environment of knowledge sharing and skill building further empowers employees and strengthens an organization. Finally, employee empowerment initiatives should start with providing clear goals for employees. The goals should be set using the proper process so that they are specific, measurable and attainable by empowered employees.
Other Data Supports the Value of Empowering Employees
In addition to facilitating an organization’s better market position, empowering employees also results in financial gains.
Recently, there was a study conducted by Pepperdine University students in an Advanced Financial Issues seminar. They sought to learn how empowerment affects twelve financial variables. They study analyzed Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” The study found that empowered employee companies gained maximum corporate and shareholder wealth – another incentive for empowering your employees.
“RAISING MORALE IN CHALLENGING TIMES”
Polls show that more than 70% of employees are not engaged in their work. Company A in the financial services industry was forced to reduce its staff from 25 to 20 employees over a 13-month period. With one exception, the employees were let go due to loss of clients and decreases in revenue. Morale among those still employed was not good because most were working more hours than previously, and were concerned about their positions’ stability.
With the help of a consultant, the CEO and his management team implemented a 15 to 20 minute Monday morning staff meeting. The purpose was for connecting the Company’s people and motivating them to perform. The meeting starts with the CEO asking the question, “Who had something exciting happen this weekend that they want to share?” After one, two or three people share their stories, the CEO touches upon the organization’s major goals for the week and then concludes with meaningful feedback. He mentions at least one person by name, details specifics about what they did and then relates the emotional impact it had on the client/customer/supplier. Then he issues a hearty thank you and compliments the person, asking her/him to tell everyone how the success made them feel. He thanks and commends the individual(s) again and closes by saying, “Let’s go for our goals and have a great week.”
Since recognition ranks first in most every job survey about what is most important to employees, everyone leaves the meeting feeling good and ready to take action so they are the individual recognized the following week. This short meeting has created a genuine win/win/win for the Company, the recognized employee, his/her peers and their clients because morale has improved to a significant degree. Everyone now feels part of the team and, as has been learned again and again.
Together Everyone Accomplishes More!
Did You Know….?
The average person only uses between 15 and 20 % of their potential; high achievers use about 33% of their potential. That means all of us have untapped potential which can be fulfilled if we change our behaviors and apply new techniques to improve our performance and results.
JASB In The News
-JASB Launches New Organizational Development Program
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