Improving Workplace Communication

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It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of communication skills.

In the workplace, these skills are crucial for getting the work done and ensuring that you meet your professional career goals. Improving your interpersonal communication skills can boost team productivity, enhance the collaborative culture in the workplace, and keep everyone engaged positively.

Types of Communication

The four main components of communication are:

Listening, nonverbal cues, emotional awareness and management, and asking questions.

Although communication certainly involves learning how to express your thoughts and ideas, this is not the only component of communication. Communication also involves taking in information by listening to and reading ideas. Keeping in mind that effective communication is a two-way process that involves both expressing and receiving information should help you interact positively with others.


Focusing on broadcasting your own ideas instead of a give and take of ideas will tend to lead to breakdowns in communication.

It’s easy to neglect to listen to others, instead of thinking about what you want to say next. Listening involves paying close attention to the words being spoken and noticing nonverbal cues that accompany the words.

Stay tuned into conversations, genuinely concentrating on other people’s verbal and nonverbal messages. Repeat back what you think other people have said to make sure you understand. You can also ask questions to clarify, which helps demonstrate active listening.

Nonverbal Cues

As people speak, they also project nonverbal messages.

In fact:

as much as 80 percent of communication may be nonverbal. Pay attention to body language, body movements, variations in the pitch and tone of the voice, facial expressions, eye contact, and posture. You might even notice physiological things such as sweating as someone else is speaking.

These nonverbal cues can give you valuable insight into the feelings behind words.

Be very careful when communicating by phone or in writing, since these types of communication lack the ability to provide context for the words using nonverbal communication. It’s easy to misunderstand messages when you can’t see nonverbal cues.

Emotional Awareness and Management

Although workplace communication should be based on logic and professionalism, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all emotion during communication.

Workplace communication should focus on unemotional exchanges, but you will likely encounter both positive and negative emotions from time to time. Self-awareness and self-regulation involve staying aware of feelings, understanding emotions, and working to master them so you can communicate effectively with others.

Asking Questions

Asking questions is important to make sure you understand others. Follow-up questions also help you get more details, which enhances understanding. Asking questions is also an ideal way to start conversations or keep them going.

When you ask questions, others often see you as a good listener.

Strategies to Improve Workplace Communication

Strong communication skills benefit a company as a whole as well as each individual member of the team, and as an effective communicator, you’ll be in a position to more effectively achieve goals for the company. You’ll also be able to meet career goals, such as approaching your boss for a pay raise or a promotion. 

Implement a few key strategies to help you and your team improve your communication skills.

  • Encourage collaboration, which provides people with opportunities to build trust and improve communication.
  • Hold meetings, but keep them short and focused on the goals at hand. An organized agenda can help keep meetings on task.
  • Save time and company money by keeping communication targeted. This respects team members’ time.
  • Create a means by which workers can share tips and tricks with each other.
  • Use team-building activities to bring coworkers together to meet challenges. One idea is to create a mock problem, presenting it to teams of employees to have them devise a solution.


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