Seven suggestions for improving communication at work

The where, how, and when of communication are critical components of effective workplace communication. Try these seven strategies to improve your ability to communicate.

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1. Recognize when and where to communicate

There are several ways to communicate, including in person, via email, instant messaging, and work management tools. Make sure you’re adhering to communication rules and sending the appropriate messages in the appropriate locations for maximum effectiveness.

Knowing when and how to communicate may be half the fight sometimes. It’s possible that your organization uses a variety of communication platforms, therefore it’s critical to understand which one to utilize. Which tool is best for the query or observation you have? Should you send an asynchronous message or is real-time communication suffice? Ask a manager or team member where you should be sending different kinds of communications if you’re unsure. It’s critical that everyone understands one another.

2. Develop teamwork abilities

Working together is the cornerstone of successful cooperation. You must practice honest and open communication if you want to develop great teamwork abilities. This does not imply that everyone must agree all the time; in fact, a critical component of cooperation is the ability to disagree and resolve disagreements.

Communication and teamwork abilities are kind of a “chicken and egg” situation. Effective communication may foster successful cooperation, but effective communication also requires collaboration skills. This basically indicates that you’ll need to work on honing your teamwork and communication abilities over time. Your ability to communicate ideas and information in a professional setting will increase as you and your team collaborate more, and sincere communication will make teamwork seem more natural.

3. If possible, have in-person conversations

Speaking with someone face-to-face is arguably the most effective strategy to avoid misunderstandings. Video conferencing is another effective way to communicate if your team is remote. Eye contact is particularly vital if you know a talk is going to be unpleasant. Since tone may be hard to convey in writing, it’s best if your team member can see your body language and facial emotions.

A phone conversation may be a more effective means of communication than a video conference if your team is dispersed or remote. There is such a thing as video conference tiredness, which may be especially problematic for distant teams when it comes to cooperation and communication. Talking on the phone allows you to hear your team member’s voice and tone while minimizing some of the visual strain.

4. Pay attention to your speech and body language

Not only what you say matters in communication, but also how you say it. Verify that you are not seeming stern or crossing your arms. Frequently, your body language may be a reflection of fatigue or stress stemming from anything going on in your personal life, rather than anything to do with the scenario at hand. However, your behaviors might give the impression that you’re offended or furious to your teammates, who might not be aware of that background. Try to be more relaxed with your body language and facial expressions, especially during difficult talks, to avoid accidentally giving off any clues.

5. Give two-way communication top priority.

In the workplace, listening comprehension is just as crucial to communication as speaking. Listening to others’ ideas rather than just attempting to push your own is a crucial component of being a cooperative team member.

Listening to comprehend and listen to respond are the two main categories of listening. When you listen to respond, your attention is not on what the other person is saying, but rather on what you are going to say next. You run the danger of repeating what the other person just said or missing important information when you listen in this way.

Try active listening instead, which is to hear what the other person has to say without planning your response. If you do have anything to say, write it down so you don’t have to waste time trying to recall what you wanted to say next and can instead return to listening and understanding.

6. Adhere to facts rather than tales

The method of “facts vs. stories” is one that Diana Chapman, co-founder of the Conscious Leadership Group, suggests. “Facts” in this context refer to events that have truly occurred and on which any person there might readily concur. On the other side, a “story” is how you see the circumstances.

Let’s take an example where you are in a small team meeting and your manager offers you live feedback. That is true. You feel that your boss shared the feedback with you instead of reserving it for your 1:1 because they are not happy with the work you have done, even if you weren’t anticipating it. You have no means of knowing if something is real or not, which is why it is called a “story.”

We all fabricate stories from facts, thus stories are unavoidable. But make an effort to distinguish between facts and stories, and hold off on acting on tales until you have supporting evidence. In this instance, for instance, you could wish to question your boss during your subsequent one-on-one meeting why they provided comments during a team meeting.

7. Verify that you are conversing with the appropriate individual.

In the workplace, communication is not just about what you say but also about who you communicate to. When you’re trying to convey knowledge in the incorrect context or with the wrong individuals, poor communication frequently results.

Make sure the appropriate individuals are getting the message or are present in the room to prevent this. If you are unsure of that person, conduct an activity to find any significant project stakeholders who may be absent.