It’s Effective Communications Month! With more remote work opportunities, as well as online learning and Zoom events becoming the norm, the topic of effective communication is more pertinent than ever before.

Detecting and accurately interpreting what others mean via email, social posts, video calls, and WhatsApp messages is often a challenge. Most of all, poor communication is costly. A recent survey indicated that 80 percent of employees and executives believe ineffective communication led to their work-related failures.

Those mistakes can add up to huge losses. Companies with 100,000 or more employees lose up to $62.4 million each year because of poor communication. Smaller corporations with 100+ employees lose about $420K annually for the same reason.

Business leaders should take a moment this month to assess their habits and policies. Are they facilitating environments that foster collaboration and open communication? The way coworkers and individuals connect is changing with the incorporation of more platforms like Zoom.

With so much on the line, business leaders must take a proactive approach to improve their corporate communications. These strategies will help to facilitate effective communication and collaboration in the workplace.

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Repetition. Repetition Works.

Repetition might seem annoying, but it’s effective at getting an idea across. Sometimes saying the same thing in different ways will help it ‘click’ for the listener or reader. Researchers at Harvard found that managers who repeat information through various mediums, such as email, in-person conversations and collaborative platforms, are more successful at completing projects smoothly and on time.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet.

Attention spans are short. Sharing information clearly and concisely will improve the impact and likelihood of having the receiving party’s focus. If there are essential facts in an email, they should go at the beginning to increase the chances of the reader seeing them. When critical information is hidden in a block of text or comes at the end of the video, people will miss it.

3. Save the Eurodite Vernacular for Other Logophiles (aka Use Simple Language).

While beautiful prose still has a place, simpler is better when communicating with colleagues. The goal is to share ideas, not to impress anyone with fancy words. In fact, studies indicate that using complicated and unnecessary words makes readers think the writer is less intelligent, not more. Professor Daniel Oppenheimer did an experiment to prove this point. His advice to business leaders: “If your employees struggle to understand what you’re saying, your policies and your communications to them are less effective.”

4. Caption and Transcribe Video Content and Virtual Meetings.

Captions improve listener comprehension and retention. Captions also make content accessible to Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Individuals with certain learning challenges and people who are non-native English speakers also benefit from having captions on the videos they’re consuming or meetings they’re participating in. In fact, research shows that adding this feature to video content increases everyone’s comprehension and retention.

5. Encourage Feedback and Collaboration.

Giving and receiving feedback is vital. Feedback helps employees motivate their peers and improve their work performance. In a way, being receptive to feedback means actively listening to others. Employers can foster an environment that encourages feedback by making employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

Most professionals understand the importance of effective communication. However, people sometimes forget to put in the effort to better connect with their colleagues. Business leaders have much to gain from effective communication and millions to lose from inadequate communication. Effective Communications Month is an excellent time to assess practices and see where there is room for improvement.

Verbit offers technology and tools to help communication channels stay open, clear and inclusive to all individuals’ needs. Verbit’s AI-powered transcription and captioning services, for example, can support better workplace communications, virtual events and a brand’s ability to market itself and its offerings effectively.