Communication is key in the workplace. It is essential for employees to be able to communicate effectively with each other in order to get the job done. However, many people find communication difficult, especially in a professional setting. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most effective methods and types of communication in the workplace. We will also provide tips on how to improve your communication skills!
One of the most important things to remember when communicating in the workplace is to be clear and concise. Employees should avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be understood by everyone. Instead, they should focus on using simple language that can be easily understood by all. It is also important to be aware of your tone when communicating with co-workers. Avoid sounding angry or defensive, as this will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to remain calm and constructive when communicating with others.
types Of Communication
Many problems in health and safety arise due to poor communication. It is not just a problem between management and the workforce – it is often a problem the other way or at the same level within an organization. It arises from ambiguities or, even, accidental distortion of a message.
The Health and Safety (Information for Employees) Regulations require that the latest version of the approved health and safety poster and safety slogans be displayed prominently in the workplace.
There are three basic types of methods of communication in health and safety – verbal, written, and graphic.
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication
- Graphic Communication
1. Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is the most common. It is communication by speech or word of mouth. Verbal communication should only be used for relatively simple pieces of information or instruction. It is most commonly used during training sessions or at meetings in the workplace.
There are several potential problems associated with verbal communication. The speaker needs to prepare the communication carefully to avoid confusion about the message. The recipient must be encouraged to indicate their understanding of the communication. There have been many accidents occurring because verbal instruction has not been understood. There are several barriers to this understanding from the recipient’s point of view, including language and dialect, technical language and abbreviations, background noise and distractions, hearing problems, ambiguities in the message, mental weaknesses, learning disabilities, and lack of interest and attention.
Having described some of the limitations of verbal communication, it does have some merits. It is less formal and enables an exchange of information too quickly and the message to be conveyed near the workplace. Training or instructions delivered in this way are called toolbox talks and can be very effective.
2. Written Communication
Written communication takes many forms from the simple memo to the detailed report. A memo should contain one simple message and be written in straightforward and clear language. The title should accurately describe the contents of the memo. In recent years, emails have largely replaced memos, as it has become a much quicker method to ensure that the message gets to all concerned (although a recent report has suggested that many people are becoming overwhelmed by the number of emails which they receive!). The advantage of memos and emails is that there is a record of the message after it has been delivered. The disadvantage is that they can be ambiguous or difficult to understand or, indeed, lost within the system.
Reports are more substantial documents and cover a topic in greater detail. The report should contain a detailed account of the topic and any conclusions or recommendations. The main problem with reports is that they are often not read properly due to the time constraints on managers. It is important that all reports have a summary attached so that the reader can decide whether it needs to be read in detail.
The most common way in which written communication is used in the workplace is the notice board. For a notice board to be effective, it needs to be well positioned within the workplace and there needs to be a regular review of the notices to ensure that they are up to date and relevant. The use of notice boards as a means of communicating health and safety information to employees has some limitations that include:
- the information may not be read;
- the notice boards may not be accessible;
- the information may become outdated or defaced;
- some employees may not be able to read while others may not understand what they have read;
- there may be language barriers;
- the information is mixed in with other non-health and safety information; and
- there is no opportunity offered for feedback.
The following alternative methods could be used for the communication of essential health and safety information:
- memos, emails, and company intranet;
- toolbox talks and team briefings;
- induction training and any further backup training sessions;
- newsletters, bulletins, and payslips;
- digital video media including DVDs;
- a staff handbook; and through safety committees, safety representatives, and representatives of employee safety.
3. Graphic Communication
Graphic communication is communication by using drawings, photographs, or DVDs. It imparts health and safety information (e.g., fire exits) or health and safety propaganda. The most common health and safety propaganda forms are posters and DVDs. Both can be used very effectively as training aids to retain interest and impart a simple message. Their main limitation is that they can become out of date fairly quickly or become largely ignored in the case of posters.
There are many health and safety information sources that may need to be consulted before an accurate communication can be made. These include regulations, judgments, Approved Codes of Practice, guidance, British and European standards, periodicals, case studies, and HSE publications.
An accurate and effective communication should take into account the following:
- Who will be the audience?
- What is the purpose of communication?
- What are the key messages that need to be communicated?
- What is the best way to communicate these messages to the audience?
- How can you ensure that the message is understood and acted upon?
Types Of Communication Barriers
There are several types of communication barriers that can prevent us from effectively communicating with others. Some of the most common include:
Physical Barriers: Physical barriers to communication are those that prevent us from being able to physically see or hear the person we are trying to communicate with. Examples of physical barriers include things like walls, distance, noise, and weather.
Psychological Barriers: Psychological barriers to communication are those that prevent us from being able to effectively process or understand the information we are receiving. Examples of psychological barriers include things like stress, fear, anxiety, and fatigue.
Semantic Barriers: Semantic barriers to communication are those that prevent us from being able to effectively understand the meaning of the words or symbols we are using. Examples of semantic barriers include things like cultural differences, language barriers, and jargon.
Organizational Barriers: Organizational barriers to communication are those that prevent us from being able to effectively communicate due to organizational structures or processes. Examples of organizational barriers include things like silos, bureaucracy, and red tape.
Technical Barriers: Technical barriers to communication are those that prevent us from being able to effectively use the technology we are relying on to communicate. Examples of technical barriers include things like dropped calls, poor signal strength, and broken equipment.
By understanding the different types of communication barriers that can exist, we can take steps to avoid them and ensure that our messages are being effectively communicated.