5 Ways to Improve Communication Skills in the Workplace

It seems as if communication is always associated with public speaking or PowerPoint presentations. But more communication happens over desks than on a stage.

According to a recent study, 80 percent of the U.S. workforce reported feeling stressed due to ineffective communication skills in the workplace. Eighty percent!

In order to help your office avoid stress and miscommunication, we’re sharing 5 ways to improve communication skills in the workplace.

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Communication Skills in the Workplace

1. Listen

Communication happens in two directions. Regardless of how well you speak, you miss out on half of the conversation if you don’t listen. Listening helps you gain information and shows respect for whoever is speaking.

To listen effectively, face the speaker and look them in the eye. Be attentive and focus on what’s being said. Use small gestures to show that you understand—simply nodding your head can go a long way. 

2. Acknowledge

Part of using good communication skills in the workplace is acknowledging your part in a conversation. This is often referred to as closing the loop. By letting your coworkers know you got an email or saw a memo, the loop is closed and they’re able to move on to new projects and other discussions.

Closing the loop can be as simple as responding with an emoji or a quick “thank you”—something small to acknowledge that you got the message.

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3. Ask Questions

Effective communication involves asking questions. Make it a priority to ask on-topic questions to elicit the information you need and fully engage yourself in the conversation. 

Questions should be exploratory. A good question opens the door to further questions and allows individuals to open up.  

Communication Skills in the Workplace

4. Be Direct

When talking, keep your comments straightforward. Avoid sharing information that detracts from the main point. Keep the central idea in mind and be direct in order to deliver your message effectively. 

Follow Karen Friedman’s advice and “think about what the single most important point is that you need to make, the central idea. If your computer died or the fire alarm went off, what would be the one thing they needed to hear?” 

5. Interact Face-to-Face

There are a lot of quick ways to communicate in the office: Slack, email, phone, text. But faster isn’t always better. 

Face-to-face conversations help establish relationships and build trust. When messages are delivered in-person, employees aren’t left wondering why an exclamation point wasn’t used or what the tone of the message was. And 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues, which illustrates why face-to-face interaction is vital. 

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Communication is the foundation of functional teams, departments, and offices. With a little bit of extra effort, you can enhance your communication skills in the workplace.

Check out 6 Books Every Public Speaking Guru Has Read for more communications content

Communication skills in the workplace

Sources
Hannah. “Dynamic Signal’s Annual State Of Employee Communication And Engagement Study- The 2019 Findings Are In!” Dynamic Signal.
Friedman. Shut Up and Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners
Heathfield. “How to Understand Your Coworkers’ Nonverbal Communication.” The Balance Careers.

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