The Importance of Communication in the Workplace

Written By: G. Riley Mills

Businesses cannot underestimate the importance of communication in the workplace. In a recent ATD poll, 83 percent of respondents indicated that communication is THE most important skill area related to managerial success. A recent Gallup poll revealed employees were three times more likely to be engaged if managers held regular meetings with their direct reports. Study after study shows people leave their jobs because of their managers. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies $450 to $550 billion annually, according to a recent Gallup study, which also found a whopping 68% of people surveyed said they were disengaged with their jobs. No surprise that increasing employee engagement is one of the highest priorities for organizations around the globe, according to a 2015 Conference Board CEO study. The importance of communication in the workplace isn’t just about engagement though. Poor communication leads to project failure a third of the time, according to the Project Management Institute. The Institute also reported that for every $1 billion spent on projects, $75 million is put at risk by ineffective communication. The importance of communication in the workplace is especially evident in meetings too. Organizations held more than 25 million meetings per day in the United States in 2015. Executives considered 67 percent of them unproductive. Workers tend to agree. Nearly 50 percent would rather be waiting in line at the DMV or watching paint dry than attend status meetings. And worst of all, 46% of attendees leave meetings without a clear understanding of the next action item. The estimated cost – $37 billion in lost productivityThe importance of communication in the workplace â€“ Captivate, Engage and Influence At the heart of our book, The Pin Drop Principle, is a conviction that the burden of engagement always lies with the speaker. It is your responsibility, in any communication you deliver – whether you’re running a meeting, presenting material, or sharing a story – to engage your audience so fully and completely with what you are saying that, at any given moment, you really could hear a pin drop. This is why a strong objective and intention is critical in every communication. In our daily interactions, from the smallest meeting to the biggest presentation, we want something from our audience – more sales, better performance, compliance, etc. – and we want to compel them to do something – buy the product, work harder, follow the rules, etc. If our objective and intention are not well aligned, they will remain unconvinced, our communication will have failed, and they ultimately won’t do what we want. Effective Communication and Employee EngagementLast week, I shared this tip in my session, “Captivate, Engage, and Influence Using the Methods of Professional Performers” at the Association for Talent Development’s International Conference and Expo. If your company recognizes the importance of communication in the workplace and is interested in a similar presentation, or would like to explore how we can help your managers to communicate more effectively, please contact us.

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