Your Communication Plan
Hmmm … motherhood, world peace, and workplace communication.
Let’s just try to solve everything here.
Who Does it Best?
The best success for high communication in organizations are those that have something going all the time. Formal and informal. Kind of a shotgun approach, which sounds a little inefficient, but it works for something as wide-angled as communication. This has been my direct experience.
That means that communication is a regular part of every agenda. Not just communicating in meetings, but actually having a “communication plan” as part of most agendas. Something as small as effective business writing or as large as understanding interpersonal relations.Communication in organizations hinges on all of these.
Interpersonal Relations and Communications
When the interpersonal relations within the company are developed enough to realize the importance of addressing communication barriers (we can talk about how to get you to that point), then the effort is greatly eased. A well-flowing dialog is heavily dependent on the relationship. For that reason, we consider communications a “people” issue – it is about people, their associations, their language, and a host of other factors.
Pieces of a Communication Plan
So your goal should include some of these objectives
(consider this a TO DO list for building a great office communication plan)
- Make improved communication a part of your strategic plan, or at least a piece of the major strategies.
- Be on the lookout for barriers to communication that may need addressing.
- Have mechanisms in place, which surface opportunities for improved communication.
- Regularly provide training for building interpersonal skills and communication skills (highly interrelated).
- Find a simple assessment to rate the communication skills you are adept at and those that need polishing.
- Track what needs messaging and how visible it is to the troops.
- Put someone in charge of the Communication Plan. Ownership will lead to progress.
Regular, planned-for communication serves as a forcing function, an assurance that communication efforts will be looked at in the day-to-day meetings that your folks are attending.
Positive indicators that communication is more likely to be handled daily:
- Standing agenda items that get people talking about communication
- Visible measure and indicators
- A culture that understands nonverbal communications
- A culture that endorses direct yet non-threatening dialog in interpersonal relations
Best Bet A balance of three elements
Overcoming Communication Barriers
The barriers occur in three distinct realms:
organization to person
person to organization
Person to Person Communication
Talking one-on-one to someone, in itself, is complicated. Think about all the factors that can affect it?
Level of Trust
Knowledge of the issue
Interpersonal style (assertion level, people person)
And that is JUST perception. What about intent? It is subject to the same variables. The message can get very convoluted quite quickly, even with good intent.
Organization to Person Communication
Lots of opportunity here. If the ball gets dropped in organization to person communication, there is more at stake than simple misunderstandings. The productiveness of the business can falter.
In this channel an employee should regularly see organizational intent. Items such as goals and metrics, major decisions and their justification, overall organizational direction, values, key strategies, etc. These are the responsibility of the leadership.
Person to Organization Communication
Not as much of a people issue, but still tricky.
Great Offices handle this channel of communication through formal systems of gathering information. These systems –
Improvement steering committees