Effective communication is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. Add in diverse workforces, remote teams, and the sheer number of communication platforms available, and it can seem almost impossible.
If you’re feeling like your message isn’t getting through, you’re not alone. Here are some key reasons why things are so complicated, and a few strategies to help.
1. Generational differences
Your workforce may include 20-somethings just starting out, 60-somethings planning for retirement, and every possible combination in between.
Communication preferences are as varied as your team, and with rapidly changing technology, it can be hard to keep up with who wants what. Reaching your audience requires diversity in your message and a range of communication styles.
Key takeaway: Different populations absorb and react to information differently. One generation’s email is another generation’s text.
2. Increasing diversity
People on your team have come to you with a variety of different life experiences and different learning styles. When it comes to communication techniques, one size does not fit all. Diversity plays a key role here.
Many companies are now embracing groups that have previously been left out, which is great! But this requires putting some extra thought into your communication approaches. You’ll want to be sensitive to group dynamics, and very careful with the words you choose and the messages you send.
Key takeaway: No one way of communicating is best for everyone in your group. You’ll need a variety of messaging tactics— and a healthy dose of sensitivity. Choose your words and methods carefully.
3. Competition for Attention
We are constantly being bombarded with messages: e-mail, phone calls, texting, video, social media, and maybe even a stray piece of snail mail every now and then. Admit it. It’s tiring just reading this list!
Getting your message through the clutter is becoming harder and harder. You’ll have to find new ways to make your communications stand out. More importantly, you’ll need to make them directly relevant to your audience in order to make the short list of things that actually get some attention.
Key takeaway: Make your messages direct, relevant and clear. Use subject lines to your advantage. Let your employees know how you plan to communicate with them and then follow through.
4. Lack of Time
Businesses are leaner than ever, and we’re all trying to do more with less. Sometimes much less. Perhaps ridiculously less. The reality is that we are rarely able to slow down enough to communicate effectively. To get your desired message to the right people, you have to make it a priority.
Key takeaway: Design your communication strategy so everyone knows what to expect. Then, take the time to communicate thoughtfully and with purpose.
Better communication can be yours
Recognizing your unique challenges and making sure your communications are purposeful, strategic, and well-designed will take an investment of time. But it will pay off in the long run because your team will be better equipped to perform and succeed.
And, when you don’t have to constantly repeat, recap, and follow up on your messages or deal with constant mishaps and misunderstandings, you just might end up with a few spare minutes in your day.
And that’s something we can all get behind.