Today's age is also known as the "information age". The impact of information on our personal and professional life has been immense. The success of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is a proof of how we crave for information. The necessity to communicate effectively is more important in the sphere of business.
Consider the case of multinational corporations - a lot of people work across continents to achieve a common goal and the only thing that connects them is communication. In organizations, people communicate through various channels; emails, teleconferencing, videoconferencing. As our topic deals with oral communication, we will focus on the need of effective oral communication in business.
Business organizations today are investing a lot of time and effort in establishing an effective communication process in their organization. Various surveys have found out that organizations which encourage their employees to air their opinions have better productivity and lower turnover ratios. There are various methods through which communication flows in an organization and one of the most important of them is oral communication. Having a thorough knowledge of the functional areas of business would be of no great use if you can't present them effectively to your employees. Effective oral communication in business plays a vital role in ensuring that you are able to put your point across clearly in staff meetings, one-to-one discussions and presentations.
Although, most of the business organizations are aware of the importance of effective oral communication skills in business, sometimes they fail to practice it in the right way. Having an effective communication process doesn't mean calling up your sub-ordinates everyday for a one-to-one discussion. There is a thin line between 'effective communication' and 'constant communication'.
Ways to Improve Oral Communication
As mentioned above, the importance of oral communication in the workplace cannot be undermined. Business leaders nowadays, are laying increased emphasis on improving the way communication flows in their organization. Let us take a look at some of these steps.
► Humans have a natural tendency to be led and they work to the best of their potential when led by a strong, able leader. Being an effective leader doesn't necessarily mean giving out orders all the time or saying languidly, "I want it done, now", instead effective leadership is built on the foundation of a mutual respect between the manager and his sub-ordinates. Effective communication is a two-way process and as a manager you always need to ensure that you have direct contact with your sub-ordinates and you are successful in creating an atmosphere where they can walk up to you and share their issues, insecurities etc. If the atmosphere in your office doesn't encourage your employees to share things with you, then even small issues will snowball into major problems with a potential to impact your business plans. So, the first and the foremost thing that you need to ensure is to make the atmosphere conducive for an effective communication process.
► Carrying out frequent feedback is important, but these would be of no good use if the employees view it as just another formal exercise. I remember one of my friends working in a customer service organization getting excited every time he was told that he needs to meet the human resource manager for a feedback session. Well, it's not as if he liked letting the organization know his point of view, but these feedback sessions for him were a welcome break from his tiring schedule. This is exactly why most of the feedback sessions don't yield anything substantial. For an organization to have an effective communication system, it is important that feedback is taken regularly and sincerely. This will encourage employees to talk to their superiors in a positive and transparent way.
► Last but not the least, most of the researchers are of the view that body language plays an important role in having an effective oral communication process. While having a face-to-face interaction, you have to remember that the listener will pay as much attention to your words as your body language. So, it is important that your body language communicates effectively what you are emphasizing on. Slouching and fidgeting are some things that you should avoid as these are signs of disengagement.
Effective oral communication plays an important role in the success of any organization. Smooth flow of information allows individuals to work more efficiently and helps in keeping rumor-mongers at bay. Organizations must do all in their capacity to ensure that they provide a conducive environment for effective oral communication in the workplace.