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Both internal and external communication processes must be first-class for a business to succeed – both types of communication tend to work together to create effective channels of information sharing. This will impact everything from the productivity of a specific department within the company to relations with stakeholders to the power of marketing campaigns.

Internal communication within a team may include messaging, phone calls, meetings, and conversations, with the aim being to ensure everyone is aware of roles, tasks, goals, targets, and changes to procedure, for example. External communication relates to information shared and exchanged with individuals, organizations, and businesses outside of the company. This can take many forms, including press releases, negotiations with suppliers, and conversations with stakeholders.

The Different Types of Internal Communication

Vertical

In an organization, vertical communication refers to the information exchanged between managers and team members and vice versa.

Horizontal

This refers to communications between colleagues, usually of the same (or approximate) placement within the company hierarchy, either within the same or a different department.

Diagonal

Also known as cross-functional communication, diagonal communication occurs when people of different hierarchical levels and in different departments exchange information, such as the operations manager communicating with an accounts assistant.

How Best to Converse Within Your Team

There are many steps you can take to ensure that you’re hitting exactly the right note when it comes to conversing with your team.

Be Aware of the Wider Picture

Meet with your team members regularly, and take the time to get to know them on a personal level if possible. If you know a member of your team is going through a tough patch in their home lives, you can take steps to support them. As well as being the right thing to do, this could also mean the difference between keeping or losing a valuable employee. Arranging regular team days or social events can be a good way to help promote better team communication overall.

Prioritize Open Communication

It’s really important that your team feel able to speak up if there’s an issue and to share their ideas and views. Create a culture of open communication by encouraging two-way dialogue whenever possible: feedback, for example, should always be a two-way street. Transparency is also crucial to this.

Make sure team members feel able to ask questions and that everyone knows not just what their roles are but how their tasks feed into the wider work of both the department and the business as a whole. Understanding interdependencies can make a huge difference when it comes to effective communication.

Be Mindful of Remote Workers

Team members working partly or fully at home can be particularly liable to becoming stressed or isolated, and it’s important to remain mindful of this. A quick five-minute daily virtual coffee meeting can be a great idea to preempt any problems arising and to help these employees stay connected with the wider team. Try the Spike team chat app – your team members can stay in touch throughout the day via messaging, video calling, and audio messaging to improve workflow and stay on the same page.

Conversing with Those Outside the Team

When communicating with individuals, organizations, and businesses outside of your team, it’ll usually be necessary to adopt a more formal approach. This promotes the business’s professionalism and ensures information is shared or exchanged as clearly as possible.

It’s also important to think about the purpose when communicating externally. In most cases, external communication is about presenting an image of the business, and this needs to be always borne in mind. To this end, information must be presented or formatted in a way that always paints the business in as positive a light as possible to instill confidence in the public, stakeholders, and others.

General Tips for Improving Your Business Conversational Skills

One of the best tips for improving how you converse both within your team and outside it is to focus on listening and non-verbal cues. Active listening is an approach that involves giving the other person your full attention, summarizing the points they’ve made, and making an active attempt to build empathy and understand the other person’s point of view. This can be a powerful way of creating strong bonds with your team members and promoting healthy communication within the office.

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Pay attention to body language: often, this says more (or even the opposite of) what the person is saying verbally and can help you navigate the conversation, root out any issues, and better connect with the speaker. Asking colleagues for feedback on your communication is a great idea. You could ask for general advice, or more in-depth feedback on, for example, your articulation or delivery style.

Final Thoughts

Excellent communication – both internal and external – is vital for a business to be successful and maintain this success. It may seem obvious, but always thinking about why you’re communicating – what the aim is – is the best way to ensure you choose the right method, tone, and means of delivery for your message so that it hits the mark every single time.

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