Communication is the key to personal and professional success, and in the workplace, it boosts employee morale, productivity, and satisfaction. It is also vital to collaborative and harmonious teamwork and enhances the quality of employee-leader relationships.
1 – Listen actively
People like to be heard in full, so the next time you find yourself in a conversation, practice active listening.
This technique requires that you listen attentively to what is being said and respond in a way that reflects your attention and understanding.
Note that active listening is not hearing the words spoken but determining the overall meaning of the message that is being communicated.
You can let the person know you are listening to them with occasional nods, short comments, paraphrasing, or other subtle cues.
2 – Consider body language
Since around 55% of all communication is non-verbal, it is important to pay attention to both your own body language and the body language of the person you are communicating with.
What do your eye contact, posture, tone of voice, and facial expressions say about your level of engagement and professionalism?
3 – Simplify and be specific
Adhere to the KISS principle wherever possible.
Prepare in advance, devote time to only the most salient points, and do not include any information that is off-topic or irrelevant.
4 – Maintain eye contact
Maintaining eye contact does not mean staring into the other person’s eyes indefinitely.
Aim for eye contact 80% of the time, or around 4 in every 5 seconds.
Compliment your eye contact with hand gestures to project more confidence.
5 – Avoid assumptions
Communication in the workplace is often hindered by leaders who make assumptions about subordinates.
If there are concerns over the performance or behavior of an employee, avoid jumping to conclusions about the cause.
Instead, create a non-confrontational environment where the employee feels safe to voice their concerns and a solution can be devised.
6 – Learn communication styles
Forbes also found that Millennial employees detest talking on the phone, with around 68% preferring to communicate via text.
7 – Seek feedback
Routinely ask your manager or colleagues for an appraisal of your communication skills.
To start, ask them to rate a list of skills on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, pose the following questions:
- What is one thing I can do to communicate better?
- What is one thing I should stop doing?
- What is one communication skill I can work on to benefit the organization most?
8 – Remember the person on the other end
Remote work is probably here to stay, but it is still important to show up for the other person as if the interaction were face-to-face.
To that end, don’t rely on text-based communication or other forms where tone of voice, facial expressions, and other important cues are superfluous.
Zoom calls are a much better way to build a connection with the person and iron out any potential issues or miscommunications.
9 – Have a plan for small talk
Extroverts hate small talk, but it is nevertheless a non-negotiable part of effective communication in the workplace.
Develop the mindset that small talk is not an excruciating waste of time but instead a way to build rapport with an important client or extend your professional network. In terms of topic choice, stick to the FORD method (family, occupations, recreation, and dreams).
10 – Be ready for the answer
From time to time, you may receive an answer that is unexpected or different from the one you expected.
Always listen to the other person with an open mind, be cognizant of your non-verbal reaction, and never interrupt.
- Communication is the key to personal and professional success, and in the workplace, there are untold benefits for employees, teams, and organizations.
- Active listening and appropriate body language are two of the most effective ways to improve communication in the workplace.
- Other tips include maintaining eye contact without staring, seeking feedback on one’s communication abilities, and having a plan for inevitable small talk.
- Active Listening: Actively listen by focusing your attention on the speaker and using verbal and non-verbal cues to show understanding. This fosters trust and connection between individuals.
- Body Language: Non-verbal communication, including body language, plays a significant role in conveying messages authentically. Ensure that your non-verbal cues align with your verbal communication.
- Simplify and Be Specific: Follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) by preparing in advance, emphasizing essential points, and avoiding irrelevant information.
- Maintain Eye Contact: Aim for consistent eye contact (around 80% of the time), complemented by confident hand gestures.
- Avoid Assumptions: Don’t jump to conclusions about employees’ performance or behavior. Create an open environment where concerns can be discussed and resolved.
- Learn Communication Styles: Adapt your communication style to suit different platforms and preferences, such as text-based communication for Millennials and using Zoom calls to enhance connection.
- Seek Feedback: Regularly ask for feedback on your communication skills from managers and colleagues. Use specific questions to identify areas for improvement.
- Consider the Other Person: Even in remote work situations, prioritize face-to-face interactions like Zoom calls to build connections and prevent misunderstandings.
- Small Talk: Embrace small talk as a way to build rapport and professional relationships. Use the FORD method (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) to guide conversation topics.
- Be Prepared for Unexpected Answers: Approach conversations with an open mind and avoid interrupting when receiving unexpected or different responses.
Applied Strategies To Improve Communication
|Business Meetings||Active Listening:||During meetings, practice active listening by focusing on the speaker, asking clarifying questions, and summarizing key points. This improves comprehension, reduces misunderstandings, and fosters productive discussions.||Enhanced understanding and engagement.||More effective meetings and better decision-making.|
|Team Collaboration||Effective Feedback:||When collaborating with a team, provide and receive feedback constructively. This fosters open communication, encourages continuous improvement, and builds trust among team members.||Improved team dynamics and performance.||Increased innovation and better project outcomes.|
|Client Interactions||Empathy:||When interacting with clients, practice empathy by understanding their needs, concerns, and emotions. This helps build rapport, trust, and stronger client relationships, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.||Improved client satisfaction and loyalty.||Increased client retention and business growth.|
|Leadership and Management||Clear Communication:||Effective leaders and managers communicate clearly and concisely. Avoid jargon, use simple language, and articulate expectations, goals, and directions to ensure alignment and reduce confusion among team members.||Enhanced team productivity and morale.||Greater employee satisfaction and goal achievement.|
|Conflict Resolution||Conflict Management Skills:||Develop conflict management skills, such as active listening, empathy, and negotiation. These skills enable you to address conflicts constructively, find mutually beneficial solutions, and maintain positive working relationships within the team.||Reduced workplace tension and disputes.||Improved teamwork and a healthier work environment.|
|Sales and Client Presentations||Effective Storytelling:||In sales presentations or client meetings, use effective storytelling techniques to engage your audience, convey your message persuasively, and create an emotional connection with potential clients or customers.||Increased client engagement and sales conversion.||Improved sales performance and revenue growth.|
|Networking and Relationship Building||Networking Skills:||When networking, focus on developing strong interpersonal skills. This includes making authentic connections, active listening, and nurturing relationships over time. Strong networks can lead to valuable opportunities and business partnerships.||Expanded professional network and opportunities.||Increased career advancement and business growth.|
|Remote Communication||Virtual Communication Adaptation:||In virtual work environments, adapt your communication style to suit remote settings. Use video conferencing, clear written communication, and time management to ensure effective communication with remote colleagues, clients, or team members.||Efficient remote collaboration and project execution.||Reduced miscommunication and virtual team productivity.|
|Public Speaking and Presentations||Presentation Skills:||Enhance your presentation skills by practicing public speaking, using visual aids effectively, and structuring your presentations logically. This boosts confidence, engages your audience, and ensures your message is conveyed clearly and convincingly.||Increased audience engagement and impact.||Successful presentations and positive audience perception.|
|Negotiation and Conflict Resolution||Negotiation Skills:||Develop negotiation skills by understanding the negotiation process, preparing thoroughly, and using effective communication strategies. These skills can help you achieve favorable outcomes in negotiations and conflict resolution scenarios.||Successful negotiations and win-win solutions.||Improved relationships and collaboration with counterparts.|
|Email and Written Communication||Effective Email Etiquette:||In written communication, practice effective email etiquette by using clear subject lines, concise messages, and polite language. This ensures that emails are understood, prevent misunderstandings, and maintain professionalism in written interactions.||Improved email communication efficiency.||Reduced email misinterpretation and timely responses.|
|Cross-Cultural Business Relations||Cultural Sensitivity:||When working with diverse cultures, develop cultural sensitivity by learning about different cultural norms, customs, and communication styles. This fosters respect, avoids cultural misunderstandings, and promotes effective cross-cultural collaboration.||Improved cross-cultural relationships and trust.||Enhanced global business opportunities and partnerships.|
|Time Management and Prioritization||Communication Planning:||Plan your communication effectively by setting clear objectives, prioritizing tasks, and managing your time efficiently. Organized communication ensures that important messages are delivered promptly and that you stay on top of your responsibilities.||Reduced communication delays and stress.||Increased productivity and better time management.|
|Delegation and Task Assignments||Clear Delegation:||When delegating tasks, communicate expectations, responsibilities, and deadlines clearly to team members. Effective delegation fosters accountability, reduces misunderstandings, and ensures that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.||Improved task management and team productivity.||Enhanced team performance and goal achievement.|
|Crisis Communication||Crisis Communication Planning:||In crisis situations, develop a crisis communication plan that includes clear messaging, designated spokespersons, and channels for updates. This ensures a swift and coordinated response, minimizes confusion, and maintains public trust.||Effective crisis response and reputation management.||Reduced reputational damage and quicker crisis resolution.|
Connected Communication Models
Main Free Guides: