Although interpersonal communication is known as a cornerstone of an effective business, 60% of companies do not have an effective plan in place for their internal comms. This poses a significant problem, as communication is key to organizational success.
It’s a well-known fact that poor communication can lead to decreased productivity, job dissatisfaction, and even company closure. Not only that, but companies who do not communicate regularly and effectively can also experience a loss of customers and, in some cases, revenue.
Clearly, interpersonal communication is essential for any business. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of communication that take place within a company and offer tips on how to improve communication for better company relationships.
What is interpersonal communication?
Despite the sophisticated name, interpersonal communication is a simple concept. It is the process of transmitting information between two or more people. Interpersonal communication is one of the most important skills you can possess in business — after all, how can you get anything done without talking to people?
Interpersonal communication is a two-way street. Not only do you need to be able to receive information from others, but you also need to be able to send it effectively. This means understanding the other person’s point of view and using clear, concise language.
Interpersonal communication is not just about exchanging information, however; it’s also about building relationships. The better you know someone, the easier it will be to communicate with them. Effective company relationships can only be built on a foundation of great communication!
What does it look like?
Interpersonal communication may look different from one situation to the next, but in general, it’s a dialogue between two or more people that involves exchanging thoughts and feelings. In the business setting, effective interpersonal communication is key to maintaining positive relationships with co-workers, clients, and other professionals.
For example, if you’re meeting with a client, your communication might include making eye contact, using clear and concise language, and demonstrating active listening skills. On the other hand, if you’re chatting with a coworker in the break room, your communication might be more casual, involving less formality and more body language.
No matter what the situation, though, the goal of interpersonal communication is always to build positive relationships and achieve common goals.
Good communication and poor communication: what’s the difference?
Unsurprisingly, there is a significant difference between good communication and poor communication. Good communication is a two-way street that involves both parties actively listening and responding to one another. Poor communication, on the other hand, is one-sided and can involve yelling, silence, or any other form of non-verbal or verbal abuse.
The effects of good communication are obvious: a positive working relationship, increased productivity, better team management, and a more positive work environment. Poor communication, on the other hand, can have disastrous consequences. It can lead to decreased productivity, team conflict, and even lawsuits.
Poor communication can be identified by the following characteristics:
- It’s one-sided
- There is a lack of respect for the other person
- It’s used to control or manipulate the other person
- The goal is to win, not to resolve the issue
- There is a lack of trust or openness
Good communication, on the other hand, is characterized by the following:
- It’s two-way
- There is mutual respect
- The goal is to resolve the issue, not to win
- There is trust and openness between both parties
- It’s effective and efficient
The benefits of good communication
Communication is more than just a conversation; it affects your everyday work-life in a significant and tangible way. The quality of your communication has a direct impact on how you interact with co-workers, customers, and clients.
Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, tension, and conflict in the workplace. Conversely, good interpersonal communication skills can help build positive relationships with colleagues, improve teamwork and create a more productive work environment.
With quality interpersonal communication, some of the benefits you can expect to see are:
- Improved problem solving and decision-making. With a team of workers who proactively communicate their ideas and concerns, the entire team can come to better, more informed decisions.
- Less tension and conflict. When people feel like they can communicate openly and without fear of judgment or retaliation, the office becomes a more pleasant place to be.
- Better customer service. Employees who feel comfortable communicating with customers are better able to understand their needs and provide them with the service they expect.
- Increased productivity. When team members are focused on their work rather than interpersonal conflicts, the team will be more productive as a whole. Good communication has a positive effect on company culture, which leads to better outcomes and employee morale.
The consequences of poor communication
On the other hand, poor communication puts you and your company at a serious disadvantage. It can lead to:
- Misunderstandings and confusion. When employees can’t communicate clearly with each other, they can easily misinterpret what was said or what was meant. This can lead to all sorts of problems, such as employees working on the wrong projects or making mistakes because they didn’t understand the instructions.
- Ineffective decision-making. If team members can’t communicate effectively, they can’t make good decisions as a team. This can lead to missed opportunities and even costly mistakes.
- Frustration and conflict. When communication is poor, it often leads to frustration and conflict. Employees may not understand each other, or they may disagree about the best way to move forward. This can lead to a lot of wasted energy and can even damage relationships.
- Missed opportunities. If team members don’t share important information with each other, they may not be able to take advantage of new opportunities that arise.
Clearly, communication is essential for a healthy, productive work environment. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to improve communication in your company.
A guide to improving interpersonal communication
So, how can your company learn better communication practices and form effective company relationships? Well, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can follow in your day-to-day work life that will lead to immediate improvements.
In-conversation communication strategies
When having a conversation with a coworker or superior, be sure to adopt the following:
- Always be clear and concise when speaking. Don’t use jargon or complicated language that can be misinterpreted.
- Avoid distractions when speaking with someone, such as checking your phone or computer screen. Make eye contact and give them your full attention.
- Be aware of your body language. Crossed arms or legs can be seen as defensive while leaning in towards the person you’re speaking to shows interest.
- Take time to listen to what the other person is saying. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak, and make sure to paraphrase to ensure you’ve understood them correctly.
- Be patient and understanding. If the other person is angry or upset, try to remain calm and constructive.
Following these guidelines will help your company form closer, more effective relationships with one another. By establishing better communication practices, you’ll be able to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing stress in the workplace.
Everyday communication tips
As you go about your day in the office or workspace, there are many factors to consider in your communication. Remembering each of the following points will help you to build and maintain effective working relationships:
Talk openly, honestly, and openly
One of the most important aspects of interpersonal communication is honesty. Be open and honest with your co-workers — share your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This will help to create a trusting relationship in which everyone feels comfortable sharing information.
Be a good listener
When someone is speaking, make an effort to listen attentively. Don’t interrupt, and try not to multitask. Show that you’re interested in what the other person is saying by making eye contact and nodding occasionally.
Respect others’ opinions
Even if you don’t agree with someone, it’s important to respect their opinion. Listening to others and considering their viewpoints will help you to develop better relationships and find common ground.
People don’t always communicate effectively, and sometimes it can take time to understand what someone is trying to say. Be patient and give others the opportunity to explain themselves.
Avoid judgment and criticism
It’s important to be supportive of your co-workers, even when they make mistakes. Avoid judgment and criticism, and instead offer constructive feedback.
Use positive body language
Nonverbal communication can be just as important as verbal communication. Make an effort to use positive body language, such as smiling, making eye contact, and nodding your head. This will help to create a positive atmosphere and send the message that you’re interested in what the other person is saying.
There will inevitably be times when you need to express your opinion or stand up for yourself. Be assertive, but not aggressive, and make sure to respect the opinions of others.
With these simple tips and strategies, you can improve your communication skills and build strong, effective relationships with your coworkers.
Interpersonal Communication: Bottom Line
In business and in life, communication is everything. Good communication skills are essential for success in any field. However, when it comes to interpersonal communication in the business setting, things can get a bit tricky.
There are certain things to keep in mind when communicating with coworkers and clients. By following the tips laid out in this article, you can improve your communication skills and create stronger, more effective relationships with the people around you.