How do you make yourself seen, heard and talked about by the top bosses? You work hard, smart and are valuable enough to provide inputs but are they listening? More commonly Management holds the responsibility of providing vision, inspiration and motivation for those being led and uses tools like surveys, focus groups, one-on-one meetings and communication activities. They follow the Top-Down approach.

But effective communication is established when employees are provided with opportunity to ask questions, receive clarity and accomplish their task with clear steps to complete goals. Communication is only communication if the message gets where it needs to go and is received by those who need to hear it.

Bottom-up communication (Employees to management) provides information about employee needs, values, perceptions and opinions. This helps the management to select and tailor their programs and policies to meet the specific needs of their employees. Here are few tips to communicate effectively through bottom up approach.

  1. Make yourself seen – Communicate face to face wherever you can. Research shows that less than 10 percent of the meaning of a message is carried through the actual words. If we just have written communication without any face-to-face communication, people are going to miss the message. Even through technology through videos seeing each other’s’ faces makes a huge difference. Eyes do not lie and you can express better.
  1. Make yourself heard – While talking, keep your voice and tone low, positive and yet assertive. Using statements like “I fully understand the purpose of the company,” or “I feel like the leadership of the company listens to me” have more effect than statements like “I must have said it five times. I was perfectly clear”. The person who defines whether a message is clear is not the sender but the receiver. Simplicity and clarity are powerful tools to get your message across. If its written communication, keep mails short and to the point.  Remember, quick and easy is better than long and complicated.
  1. Make yourself talked about Sometimes you alone are not enough to bring about a change. You may need more support. Make people aware of the central talking points. If you are expecting your peers, colleagues to cascade a message or rally for a change throughout your organization, then make sure they are aware of the key talking points as well as the points not to say. You can use multiple means of communication Email, website, meetings, intranet etc. Important messages need to be shared in multiple ways.
  1. Make yourself accountable– It’s very common for messages to get distorted. When people are stressed, their listening decreases and so what they do hear becomes distorted. If you are trying to convey tough message then it’s a good practice to do it through dialogue. For tough messages, one-way communication is not sufficient. Try to Invite questions. This helps people to absorb the message and communications to penetrate.

It is not easy to get your message across. But do not lose hope.  Every organization has its own hierarchical structure and more the layers, tougher are the walls to cross. This is not an easy problem to solve, but it is one where you can make a difference step by step. You can always communicate more—and more effectively

You may also want to read other articles written by the same author ‘Decoding Stress‘, ‘Communication made easy…‘, ‘Personal Finance Planning’, ‘Are you financially fit?’, ‘3 M’s… Mantra for Morale‘ , ‘Tips for effective interaction with management’, ‘Adapting to global work culture – locally

About the author:

Padmaja Acharya – From the ancient language of Sanskrit comes my name ‘Padmaja’, derived from Padma (meaning lotus) and Ja (meaning to take birth from).  A woman as created by the divine.  An Engineer and MBA by virtue of education. A dance choreographer, teacher by virtue of passion. A soft skill trainer and educator by profession.  An author and speaker as guided by my calling. This is what encompasses me.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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