Effective communication: just an unattainable utopia?

MarCom Team
Posted by MarCom Team on Mar 14, 2022 10:56:37 AM

When we talk about communication, we seem to know everything there is to it: we have a sender, a receiver, a channel, and a code. It seems quite straightforward, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, as multiple cases have shown us, the truth is that anything can go wrong. Managing communication in a company is a very delicate art, and a lot of effort should be put into place to make the best out of it.

 

To begin with, let us take a look at the misconceptions that tend to cause communication problems, and how we can solve them.

One of the first difficulties that we can identify has to do with our expectations regarding others. When communicating, we may sometimes expect the other to be just like us, and therefore understand every part of our message in the same way that it was sent. The problem is, however, that there are many “filters” that come naturally to us and change the way we receive a message. Think for example of our cultural background, our previous knowledge of the topic, our professional training, and even our life experience.
There is another difficult point in this sense, however. In some cases, when people realize how different we are, they might get to think that communication is virtually impossible, trying to get close only to those we perceive as “similar” to us. This can be very damaging as well, as it can isolate people, thinking that some things are not even “worth the effort”.

Which brings us to the second problem: personal responsibility. Nobody likes admitting that they may be the cause of a misunderstanding, or that they were not able to convey a message clearly. We tend to believe we are great communicators and place the blame somewhere else. But, what if we are not expressing ourselves clearly? or what if, as listeners, we are not really paying attention? There is responsibility on both sides of the rope: the sender has to be clear, making sure the audience can understand the message and paraphrasing if needed. The receiver, on the other hand, needs to be an active listener, asking questions when in doubt and providing feedback that the message was received.

So, how can we, as a company, create a culture of communication? This is a complex question, but here are some ways in which you can start:

Make sure everyone at the organization understands why improving communication is so important. Motivate them to be a part of the change.
Train people to understand the ways in which we are all different, but how we can cut those differences to work better together, being proactive in our communication strategies.
Implement common communication standards and make sure everybody is on board with them. Here you should start to notice some tangible improvements in the general work environment and in your staff’s motivation.

There is a lot more to be said about this topic, but we believe that the key is this: effective communication within a company is completely possible. However, it takes time and effort, and commitment at all levels of the organization, especially of those in leading roles. At Virtualmind, we have been working really hard to make sure all our people have the tools and the right environment to foster clear and effective communication. For instance, considering that we are a multicultural organization with collaborators located in several countries, some time ago we decided to move all our internal communications to English, a shared language that we can all understand. We believe that a great part of our success has to do with our communication strategies, and we will certainly keep improving them!

Topics: Effective Communication

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