The world revolves around communication. How we communicate can make or break relationships both at home and at work. Do you know what the main reason is that people quit their jobs?
Lack of communication, miscommunication, under communication – call it whatever you like.
Successful businesses are led by great leaders who usually are… yes, you’ve guessed – great communicators. Although, not all of us are born masterminds of communication, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life” – at least that’s what Brian Tracy says.
All companies face internal communication challenges. To resolve them, first, you have to identify what they are. This is why we’ve asked 8 world leading communication experts about the biggest internal communication challenges that businesses are facing today. Here is what they said.
What do you think the biggest internal communication challenge is that businesses are facing these days?
#1 David Grossman says keeping up with the evolving workplace
Business is moving at a constant, relentless pace these days. There’s an intense pressure on finding ways to grow and to be even better. We’re used to 24/7 news cycles and having information when we need it all hours of the day.
With this comes a good dose of new internal communications challenges. Employees have come to expect that their employer will provide regular updates, have information when and how they need it. And, in many cases, people expect the technology in the workplace as sophisticated and easy to use as the technology used at home. No easy task for companies with employees working on-site, remote, around the world, and who speak many different languages and represent many different cultures.
Internal Communications teams have to raise the bar on how to communicate with employees given all these variables at play. We need to elevate our skills and our impact in an intentional, purposeful way by focusing on connecting employees to strategy in meaningful and relevant ways, building leaders who are effective communicators, helping leaders and teams communicate change, and driving awareness of behaviors and actions that are critical to an organization’s success.
#2 Nancy Duarte says leadership isolation
Communication tends to breakdown when leaders don’t consider the impact the company goals have on the employees. If a leader communicates from a distant perch and they don’t empathetically see what it looks like, through the eyes of the employees, no one will be motivated to take on a change journey.
Technology is a huge problem. The best communication still- as human beings is face-to-face or at least voice-to-ear. E-mail can stand for escalation and error. How many hours are lost when—instead of bringing people together— there are these endless e-mail doom loops in which you can’t even follow the “conversation”. IMs work but briefly. But again, a truncated message is prone to error and misunderstanding. However, the paradox is that technology can also create more intimate conversations.
Millennials also have specific values related to communication. First, they value honesty, They are very straight-forward and direct. For older employees, that honesty might be off-putting. Second, millennials want to be heard. They have ideas and insights and want to be involved in conversations with leaders at all levels. They value feedback and constructive criticism. A yearly performance review will not cut it with them. They are also very collaborative and want everyone to succeed. Thus communication and information are not hoarded. They also respond to stories and anecdotes. Actually, all people respond more to story than to “just the facts”.
The title of one of my books really says it all: “talk ain’t cheap. it’s priceless.” We need to connect in a disconnected world.”
#4 Allan Pease says lack of effective communication skills
In business (and in life) your success is directly related to how well you can get others to like you and want to say ‘yes’ to you. In hard times, companies usually spend their money on better advertising and not on better people training for their staff. The future of human encounter will be on Skype and FaceTime types on media. Knowing how to look convincing and win people over is something few companies understand but this will directly impact on their future success.
#5 Mark Thompson says no shared purpose
I think the biggest challenge organizations face today is a shared narrative–A sense of shared purpose. We need to be willing to focus on what it is that we’re doing for our customers and rally like a mission around that set of needs as advocates for a customer. When we have that shared platform of interest and passion around serving others, then that helps us transcend our own drama and politics and fear.
With the workplace populated with everyone from baby boomers to millennials, understanding the behaviors, norms, characteristics, and styles of each group is essential for effective communication. Everyone must be aware of generational stereotypes about their co-workers and examine their preconceived biases, judgments, and assumptions.
Everyone in the workplace has had different experiences, backgrounds, world views, and perceptions. To be effective we must communicate in the ingredients that others find as important and not just what we find as important. In other words, we must understand others first before having them understand us. The old saying, “treat people the way you want to be treated” is not true. We need to “treat people the way they want to be treated.”
#7 Ben Decker says adjusting to virtual communication
Telepresence and various virtual opportunities to connect people have been around for many years – we’re seeing a major increase in this workplace of the future effort by most companies. Whether it’s via Skype, GoToMeeting, Bluejeans, Google Virtual Chat, Polycom, Zoom, or any of the others – how you show up and present yourself over the video is becoming so relevant and important for influence and people’s ability to manage both up and down.
#8 Elizabeth Kuhnke says an ability to listen, reflect and respond
Listening. Hearing the message behind the words. Opening yourself to the other person’s point of view. Not interrupting.
Reflecting. Taking time to absorb the message. Considering the other person’s needs/concerns/point of view.
Responding. Using words and vocal tones that engage and motivate the other person.
Technology. How to use. What to do when things go wrong.
Businesses face many internal communication challenges these days. While some of them we’ve managed to identify, there will be plenty more that you will discover and will have to resolve along the way.
If your organization is missing an effective communication tool, then be sure to check out emplo.