8 communication tips for hr leaders

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Communicating effectively is absolutely critical in your day-to-day interactions at work, and it’s of paramount importance for HR leaders. If assignments aren’t communicated efficiently and clearly, productivity suffers. Achieving effective business communication takes some effort, but becoming adept at getting your point across quickly will pay huge dividends. Here are 8 quick tips to help HR leaders communicate more effectively.

1. Plan ahead and make your intentions clear

If you’re in HR, you know that planning and setting the stage is crucial. Make your intentions very clear before you start a conversation so people know what they are getting into and don’t come out frustrated. Remember that your fellow coworkers are generally very busy and often don’t have time for petty conversation, especially if they are in an executive role. Dr. John Lund, a specialist in communication, says there are three critical questions to ask yourself before starting a business conversation.




1.  Is what you want to talk about going to be painful?
2.  How long is it going to take?
3.  What do you ultimately want from the person you’re talking to?

2. Remember it’s More than Words

Effective business communication goes well beyond simply the words that come out of your mouth. In fact, according to some research, the words you say are arguably the least important part of effectively communicating your message. Amazingly, more than half of the way people interpret what’s being communicated to them comes from facial expression. More than an additional third comes from tone of voice and only eight percent comes from the actual words said. The best HR leaders take time to perfect all forms of their communication.




3. Cut to the chase

It doesn’t matter how smart you sound using all that technical jargon if you can’t get your simple point across. Be clear and concise in your communication. Your colleagues will thank you and it will save time you would have spent having to re-explain yourself. Ultimately, your company is only as effective as the work it produces. If you are concise in your communication, less time will be spent communicating back and forth and more time will be spent producing work.

4. Focus on the 7 C’s of Communication

The best HR leaders understand that effective business communication is centered on the 7 C’s of Communication. Your communication should be concise, complete, conversational, clear, considerate, confident, and you should check your facts.




  • Concise – Get to the point quickly for added clarity and efficiency
  • Complete – If your communication isn’t complete, you’ll run into problems down the road
  • Conversational – Your tone should invite interaction instead of cause an argument
  • Clear – Make sure every word is understood
  • Considerate – Leave room for questions and clarifications before moving on in the conversation
  • Confident – Having confidence and speaking in a confident tone adds credibility to everything you say
  • Check – Check your facts

5. Use Email Effectively

If you’re in human resources, it’s likely you’ll send a lot of emails. Email is one of the greatest business communication tools we have, but it’s only as effective as the clarity and accuracy of the messages we send through it. Eliminate communication errors and save yourself time with succinct and clear emails. Make them detailed enough to accurately cover all points of a meeting or all aspects of an assignment, but do so in as few words as necessary so your reader doesn’t get confused, bored, or frustrated. Maintain a positive and energetic tone without being overbearing.

6. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Face-to-Face Communication

Email has become so convenient and prevalent that in many cases it has taken the place of valuable face-to-face communication. In human resources, you should specialize in connecting with humans. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a short, clear in-person conversation. You’ll not only spend less time typing, staring at a screen, and waiting for a response, but you’ll also build camaraderie with your colleagues through human interaction.

7. Listen before you speak

Listening isn’t just a polite gesture that makes the other party feel good, it actually helps you build credibility and get results. When you listen to others, you gain trust. The more trust you have from people, the more willing they will be to listen to, accept, and implement your suggestions. If they are just becoming acquainted with your company, your listening to them might increase their desire to learn more. Also, listening will help you understand needs, address them, and then tailor your message accordingly. This will help you avoid taking longer than necessary to communicate your points.

8. Be Positive

Regardless of the situation, it never hurts to be positive. On the other hand, it rarely helps to be negative. The most successful HR leaders think positively and look for solutions. While it might help you vent some frustration, tearing others down and criticizing their work never helps productivity. While constructive criticism is necessary, it doesn’t need to be negative and full of anger and negativity. The more you exude positivity, the more productive your coworkers will tend to be. Always aim to inspire confidence and offer kind correction and direction when necessary.

Human resources is all about communication. For as hard as you try, your business communication will never be one hundred percent effective. Miscommunications still happen on occasion, and how you deal with them will largely determine your success and the success of your company. The tips above are by no means a comprehensive list. As you implement them, you may come up with some of your own ideas to enhance your business communication skills. As you communicate effectively and efficiently, you’ll find that the quality and accuracy of work will increase and you and your organization will be happier.

By o.c. tanner
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