Is it easier to communicate effectively in a small organization? Not necessarily. I have talked with many employees and owners of small businesses who bemoan the fact that they find it difficult to communicate even with a handful of employees.
Ian Langworth moved from corporate giant Google to co-found a gaming start-up with two partners. He noted that communicating more often was a lot easier with fewer players. He also said, “But it’s not enough to simply communicate more. You have to communicate well.”
Some of his tips for communicating well:
Achieve mutual understanding on important issues. Langworth noted that the three founders would sometimes get caught up in long debates simply because they hadn’t defined the real issue. To ensure mutual understanding, name the issue, identify the facts and allow people to clarify their needs and wants.
Discuss critical issues in private. Your organization may feel like a family, but that is no excuse for publicly airing every conversation. Closed-door, frank conversations will enable you to share important feedback and hear others’ candid perspectives.
Be cautious when communicating via email. Langworth recommends being transparent when there is any chance of the email being misunderstood, even adding “mood: agreeable” to communicate that you’re coming from your happy place. I would recommend that if you have to “emoticon” your email, you should talk in person. If that isn’t possible, the telephone might be a better bet than email.
Probably the most important tip about communicating in any size organization is not to take it for granted. Spend more time planning and executing communication than you think you need. You’ll reap many rewards, including happier coworkers and fewer time-wasting misunderstandings.
Want to make your communication unmistakeable? Contact Humanergy.
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