Employee Communications

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Communicating to your employees is a crucial part of your network. In this module, you will learn the following topics on employee communication:

  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Email etiquette
  • Negotiation skills
  • Making an impact

Poor communication to your employees could lead to uncontrolled negative message about you. Increasing your effectiveness with employee communication will help reinforce your network and leverage the word-of-mouth power you employees have to your benefit.

Understanding each concept presented in this module will enhance your networking strategy through your employees. Verbal communication is our first topic in this module.

Verbal Communication

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Verbal communication is the art of being able to say something with the least words possible. The listener retains about 10 percent of what you say. Keeping your verbal communication short and simple makes you a better verbal communicator.

When communicating verbally, your word choice is important. Words will have different meaning to different people. Using long and difficult words or jargon alienates your audience. Demonstrating how well you know hard words distract your listeners. 

In short, the acronym KISS will help you remember to Keep It Short and Simple. 

Non-Verbal Communication Skills (Body Language)

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What you do not say is sometimes more important than what you do say. Your non-verbal communication tends to dominate your message. When communicating with your employees face-to-face your body language and posture is what influences most of your communication. 

Having knowledge of how non-verbal communication works is essential because it will help you monitor what you are projecting to your employees. Furthermore, understanding non-verbal communication will help you identify issues that may not be openly discussed verbally.

There are two basic categories of non-verbal communication. 

  1. Static Features are those that deal with the following aspects of non-verbal communication.
  • Distance—the amount of space between people could indicate attraction, conflict or avoidance.
  • Orientation—how people place themselves (ex. face-to-face, side-by-side, etc.) indicates their attitude towards the other person. For example, a side-by-side orientation could indicate a collaborative attitude.
  • Posture—how a person carries himself or herself is another indicator of their attitude. A closed posture (ex. arms crossed) could indicate a formal attitude. 
  • Physical contact—behaviors like shaking hands demonstrates a willingness to engage the person. Avoiding any contact could be interpreted as apprehension. As a manager, you should always keep physical contact at a minimum or only when necessary. Others can misinterpret physical contact. 
  1. Dynamic Features are those that are observed as the person is talking or interacting with another person. Here are some of the basic non-verbal communications in this area.
  • Facial expressions like smiles, frowns, yawning, etc.
  • Gestures—clenched fists indicates tension
  • Looking—poor eye contact could be seen as avoidance

Understanding all the possible non-verbal communication signals takes time to learn. The main thing here is to understand that using positive non-verbal communication. Having positive non-verbal communication will evoke trust from others and strengthen your network.

Email Etiquette

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Receiving and responding to email is a large part of a manager’s job. Using proper email etiquette will ensure you are not offending others or being rude. The email you send can be forwarded and remain in the inboxes of your recipient indefinitely. 

Here are some tips to ensure that your emails are well-written and displaying good email etiquette:

  • Avoid using email to write a long letter. Most people will not read the entire email if they have to scroll through it.
  • Avoid getting straight to the point to your email. Do not forget to be polite and use common courtesies. For example, before asking for what you want, ask how they are or how was his or her weekend. 
  • Do not use shorthand or text messaging abbreviations in your emails. 
  • Make sure to use spell check and that you use proper grammar in your emails. Remember your written communication speaks volumes about you.
  • Remember to say please and thank you.
  • If you are contacting someone who is unfamiliar to you, avoid using his or her first name. Instead, use Mr., Mrs., etc.
  • Never type your email in all capital letters. This is seen as screaming and is difficult to read.

Following these simple guidelines should help you write effective and polite emails, demonstrating once again that you care about others. This is the key to building a strong network. 

Negotiation Skills

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Negotiating is a skill that should build relationships by creating win-win situations. Of course, the goal of negotiating is to get the best deal or outcome; however, if the negotiation turns out bad for the other party, you will hurt your chances of networking in that direction. Who knows? That company you just negotiated with could be a place you might want to represent in the future.

Here are four steps to creating a win-win outcome in negotiating:

  1. Determine what you need and want. As you prepare for negotiating, take time to assess what is it that you or your company wants to happen and keep this as the focal point of our negotiation. Many times, you may lose sight of this and overlook a crucial point during negotiations.
  2. Learn more about the other party in the negotiation. Find out what motivates them and what they would consider a success in their world. Work towards meeting their needs. You should not work towards a take-all situation.
  3. Structure the negotiation talks. Create an agenda and avoid getting into off-topic discussions. If other topics come up, suggest bringing them up in another meeting. If you are negotiating with internal employees, sit on the same side of the table and try to remain close to them. This will reduce the competitive tendencies usually found when sitting across from each other. 
  4. Once you create your plan, do not change it, or give points away. Set a specific time to complete the negotiations. If you do not reach an agreement, then call time and meet at another time. Avoid extending the talks, because being tired leads to poor decisions.

Making an Impact

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Making an impact on others does not take a lot of effort. You do not have to be flashy or constantly be funny. In fact, the most impact is made when you demonstrate a sincere interest in the other person. Being genuine with others creates the most impact. Being very polished could be seen as insincere, hindering your impact.

Here are some simple ways to create impact with others:

  • Be a listener. Listen more than you talk when engaging a person. People like to be heard and understood. In addition, being a listener gives you the ability to identify needs, which enables you to be a helper in those situations. Finally, listening to other people’s advice and recommendations demonstrates you value his or her thoughts, which creates a huge impact on them.
  • Be a networker that networks both up and down. Do not just limit your networking to those people above you. This will be seen as self-serving and limit the impact you have on others. Remember to network with people at the entry level or with those who have nothing to do with your business. 
  • Be a seeker of feedback. Asking for feedback demonstrates your attitude towards learning and improving. Coming across as a know-it-all will create barriers. Be humble and ask for help and feedback, as this will let you know how you did. People will see you as confident yet willing and open to feedback. This is powerful in the workplace.
  • Be ever enthusiastic about other people. Remember that networking is about other people and not about you. If your intent is to further yourself, you will not have any impact. Making other people better because of you creates an impact in other people’s lives. Be enthusiastic about this and always smile when doing so. This will create the most impact.

Case Study 

Josh had no idea what to do. Linda had no clue either. They worked for the same company, but the company didn’t communicate the changes with them. Linda and Josh had no idea where to turn. Josh decided he needed to do some digging to get to the bottom of this problem. Linda agreed to join him. Linda asked questions. Josh demanded answers. Their employer’s face reddened. He didn’t realize that he hadn’t given them the information. Josh and Linda walked away with the answers. Together, they sat down to study the changes. Soon, Josh and Linda had a pool of ideas to choose from and they hit the ground running to implement the changes. Linda and Josh couldn’t have been more excited about having the tools in their hands to succeed.