Workplace Communication Skills

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Communication in the workplace is something that many people struggle with. One reason why this happens is because the workplace has changed so much in the last few years. And some of the biggest changes have been in our communication styles.
Workplace Communication Skills

Workplace Communication Skills

Still, communication is a crucial skill for any job. A recent CareerBuilder survey shows that 82% of employers rank communication skills as one of the top skills needed to be successful and advance at work. Therefore, developing strong communication skills can help you progress in your career.

In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about great workplace communication skills for success in the workplace. We’ll also include some tips on how to improve your business communication skills. You can use these to make a more positive impact at work and be able to get along better with co-workers.

Also, we’ll cover some of the most important communication skills and how to improve them.

What are workplace communication skills?

Communication is often misunderstood. It is not just verbal communication or written communication, in fact, it is much broader. But the truth is that communication doesn’t just happen when we talk to people or send them messages.

In broad terms, we can define communication as the abilities you use when giving and receiving different kinds of information, according to indeed.com.

A workplace communication skill is the ability to communicate effectively and professionally with others in a team. To be effective, it requires an awareness of how you are being perceived by your peers and superiors. This draws on our emotional intelligence, as well as an understanding of the information required to make sound decisions.
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Top 6 Communication Skills

workplace communication skills
Effective workplace communication skills are essential for career success. This includes being able to take constructive criticism well and being able to connect with others on an emotional level. Having good workplace communication skills can also make it easier to get along with others and get work done. We’ve listed below the top 6 communication skills that effective leaders and managers need to develop to stay at the top of their game.

Active listening

Active listening involves paying attention to what someone is saying as well as their intention, tone, and other aspects of speech. It involves listening to the words being spoken and not simply to what is being said.

The active listener is also able to understand the intended content, mood, and meaning of a speaker. Active listening skills depend on paying attention, so your ability to focus on listening actively is important. This is also related to our emotional intelligence. If you are multitasking or distracted while listening to others, you run the risk of missing crucial information and implied messages.

Sharing feedback

Both superiors and peers can and should critique each other’s performance. The more tactfully it is done, the more beneficial the feedback is. Positive feedback that is constructive is important because it helps reduce negative habits and reinforces positive behaviour. As a result, teams will stay focused and motivated. Therefore, this is a critical part of effective workplace communication skills and team building.

Stress management

When you’re under stress, you may misinterpret what others are conveying. You may also send confusing nonverbal signals, and act inappropriately. How many times have you done something that you later regretted, only to realize you were stressed at the time? If you develop your stress management skills, you’ll be able to avoid making this mistake again.

Respect

Listening to and genuinely respecting the people you are communicating with can be the first step toward becoming a better communicator. Simple actions, such as using someone’s name, looking into their eyes, and listening to them while they speak, will make them feel valued. While speaking on the phone, refrain from distracting yourself. Instead, stay focused on the conversation. In writing, proofread and edit your emails and messages for a before clicking ‘send’. These are also great ways to build up your persuasive skills.

Body language

Your body language, or nonverbal communication, includes eye contact, hand gestures, and posture. Together, these signal the message you are attempting to communicate. An open stance and relaxed voice will encourage self-assurance in others, which will set the tone for an open dialogue. Similarly, making direct eye contact will help encourage other people to talk to you.

Confidence

It’s crucial to be self-assured when dealing with others. When you are self-assured, it demonstrates to your colleagues that you will follow through on what you say and say what you mean. Displaying confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm, friendly tone of voice. Don’t make statements sound like questions. By all means, stay aware not to either sound arrogant or aggressive. Make sure you are sure of what you are saying.

Why are effective communication skills essential?

workplace communication skills
Communication is key to success in any career. Leaders must be able to effectively communicate their vision and strategy to their employees. Doing so in engages them and sets them on the path to achieving the organization's goals. Effective communication also strengthens relationships. This is essential for successful collaborations and increased productivity.

Maintaining open communication channels with employees also helps to identify potential issues early on. This also prevents them from becoming bigger problems. Ultimately, effective workplace communication skills can lead to a more productive and successful workplace.

What are the threats of poor communication?

workplace communication skills
Ineffective communication can have a negative ripple effect on an organization. Compromised relationships, decreased productivity, and weakened teams are the results of poor communication. But, the effects of poor communication can be mitigated by implementing effective strategies for improving communication. Developing strong communication skills will help prevent many of the issues that stem from ineffective communication.

It is important to recognize that not all communication problems are created equal. There is a difference between poor communication and ineffective communication. Ineffective communication can be the result of a lack of communication training and development, as well as poor interpersonal skills. Poor interpersonal skills can lead to poor communication in any setting.

Common signs of poor communication include confusion, frustration, anger, and miscommunication. In some cases, these signs can lead to serious consequences. Missed opportunities, decreased morale, and even legal issues can be blamed on poor communication.

Poor communication can lead to a variety of interpersonal problems. Some of these problems include conflict and dissatisfaction. These can significantly weaken a team and hurt their performance.

Poor communication can also have a negative impact on customer dissatisfaction and bad press. These can rapidly drag down an organization’s bottom line.

How your organization benefits from better communication

workplace communication skills
A workplace where communication is effective and employees are engaged is a productive workplace. Organizations can benefit from better communication in many ways. When communication is effective, employees feel heard and appreciated. This can lead to increased employee engagement, which leads to improved organizational performance.

Also, when we develop workplace communication skills, employees are better able to understand the company’s vision and goals. This means they are more motivated to achieve them. By improving workplace communication, organizations can see improvements in employee productivity. Morale, employee satisfaction and stronger team building can also increase with improved communication.

5 reasons to work on your workplace communication skills

workplace communication skills
The ability to communicate well is a crucial part of building a career that should be continually developed. It is also an essential part of your overall leadership skills. While there are countless reasons why you should develop this vital skill, we’ve briefly outlined 5 of the most significant.

Better engagement

Communicators play a critical role in affecting work environments by setting a tone of transparency. Effective communicators establish a channel of communication for members of staff. Doing so helps them influence executives and develop employee engagement.

Increased morale

Employees like to see their leaders as honest and transparent, and they want to be updated with the entire team about company strategies. This is particularly important when companies are going through tough times, as redundancies and water-cooler gossip have the potential to negatively affect a client or staff morale. Never discount employee satisfaction, especially with regard to internal communications.

Improved productivity

workplace communication skills
Effective communication in the workplace can improve your team’s productivity, form a strong team, and encourage employees to consult with and listen to each other. If personnel work together and collaborate in a shared search for the ideal method, they are more likely to enjoy working together and coming to an agreement.

Fewer workplace conflicts

Good communication in the workplace alleviates strain, builds trust, strengthens relationships and helps people feel welcome, since they are being understood together. In addition, it also allows employees to work objectively and with a team, instead of against one another.

Greater motivation

Effective communication at all levels strengthens the connection among staff members throughout the organization. This will help make the work environment positive and beneficial, it will enhance staff morale and output, too.

Types of communication

workplace communication skills
There are several types of communication that are specific to leadership and the workplace. It’s important to know and understand these so that you can use them effectively — like the old adage, ‘the right tool for the right job’.

Leadership communication

This type of communication is used by leaders to share details about their company’s culture, core values, mission, and vital information. It entails communicating a vision, encouraging others to buy-in, and delivering a shared vision of the values inherent in the company.

Upward communication

Upward communication is the communication of information that stretches from the lower levels of a hierarchy up to the higher level. This form of communication is becoming more common in organizations as traditional methods of communication decline in popularity and effectiveness. Historically, communication with front-line employees was believed to be the most beneficial for reaching demographic goals.

Assertive communication

Communication that’s assertive entails expressing both positive and negative ideas and emotions in an honest and straightforward manner. One accepts oneself while simultaneously respecting the rights and opinions of others. Being responsible for oneself and your actions without criticizing or blaming other people is a defining aspect of assertive communication.

Informal interactions

Informal communication in the workplace is communication between coworkers that is not formally overseen by any party. It is informal in nature, drawing from interpersonal communication. These interactions shape the social relationships that are formed in the workplace. Informal interactions are less organized than formal interactions, and so there is often more potential for misunderstandings.

How to communicate effectively in the workplace

Choosing the right time and method to communicate with coworkers can lower your chances of misunderstanding, improve morale, foster teamwork, and increase trust. Teams and team leaders that know how to communicate effectively about work are better prepared to confront difficulty.

But building communication channels takes time and effort. So, establishing habits that promote it is vital. Here are 5 tips to improve your office communication.

Learn from good communicators

Take time to identify peers and colleagues that communicate effectively. Then, observe their methods and techniques. You will learn a lot, and you can apply them to your own style. You can also consider a peer mentoring program that enables you to learn from others and share your own expertise with others.

Enroll in communication workshops or classes

Attending a communication course or a workshop can be a great way to boost your skills. You can pick up tips from them and tailor your communication skills to the needs of your organization. These are typically offered by professional training organizations, like our communication course, by colleges and universities and online course providers such as udemy and skillshare.

Seek opportunities to communicate

Practice makes perfect when it comes to any skill, and communication is no different. Apply what you have observed from others and learned in your courses and workshops. When you do this, it’s essential to reflect on what you’ve practised and the results you’ve gotten. It can also be useful to seek out feedback from others so you can see what you’ve done well and where you can improve.

Be clear and concise

Say only what you need to communicate. Focus on short, simple statements. The more concentrated your communication, the more effective you are at getting your point across. Be crystal clear about what you’re asking individuals to do and what you’re asking them to understand. You can easily say less without coming off as rude by offering information that is actionable and easy to understand.

Practice empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize the feelings or mental states of other individuals and to comprehend their perspectives. We can also consider this to be a part of our emotional intelligence. When we use empathy in our communication, we take people’s feelings, thoughts and needs into account. We start by identifying how we feel about the situation and then ask other individuals what they’re thinking and feeling. When we do this in an empathetic way, we are able to understand others’ perspectives and communicate clearly.

Assert yourself

Assertiveness is a mode of communication utilized by individuals to speak out in a positive, open, and appropriate way. Assertiveness is a way of being, not a set of rules. It involves one’s ability to be self-assertive and to be able to speak up for oneself. Assertiveness is about making choices—both in the behaviours that we choose and in our own internal responses.

Be consistent

Consistency in communication applies to frequency and repetition. Repeating your messages shows that you’ve overcome the difficulty of listeners missing a point, so emphasize them repeatedly. Consistency in communication also indicates repeating salient points and synchronizing your messaging. Don’t let your key messages lapse; repeat them often. Visuals can be useful in this process as well. No matter the situation or project, creating a regular communication schedule can solve the problem in-frequent communication.

Read body language

Body language helps you understand your colleagues’ emotions or intentions on the basis of nonverbal clues. Nonverbal communication can reveal if someone is using honest communication or if he is trying to deceive you. It also gives an accurate representation of their understanding. Considering the importance of body language in the workplace can help you better understand the messages you’re sending to others.

How to improve communication when working remotely

workplace communication skills
Working remotely can offer many benefits, such as increased flexibility and freedom. However, developing strong communication skills is essential to ensure that remote work relationships are productive and successful.

Here are three tips for improving communication when working remotely.

1) Establish regular check-ins

Regular communication helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and avoids any misunderstandings. Scheduling regular check-ins (e.g., once a day or every other day) can help to keep everyone on track. Consider team-building activities as a potential means to kick off scheduled check-ins.

2) Use video conferencing whenever possible

While written communication and digital communication can be effective, it can also lead to misinterpretations. Video conferencing can help to avoid these misunderstandings by allowing people to see each other’s body language and facial expressions.

3) Be specific in your messages

When sending messages, be as specific and clear as possible. For example, when you are asking someone to do something, don’t say “Do this.” Instead, ask them “Please send the following documents to [other person’s name] by [date]. The good news is, that there are a number of free tools that you can use to help make your emails more effective. For example, you can use specific templates and canned messages to avoid having to write the same message over and over again.

By following these tips, you can improve communication and work more effectively as a team.

How to improve your workplace communication skills

workplace communication skills
Improving your workplace communication skills doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult. It’s important to remember that like improving any skills, becoming a better communicator is a process. The good news is, you can get started on it right away by simply taking mindful action.

Clarify expectations

To communicate your expectations clearly, it’s important to recognize what you want from people. Setting realistic goals, reasonable deadlines, and specific tasks sets everyone up for success. From here, it is primarily an issue of communication. You must know how to lay down what you want and need, as well as who will be responsible for each process and deliverable. Knowing what must be done and how it will be done is fundamental to ensuring the success of your team’s efforts.

Utilize two-way communication

In two-sided communication, communication is negotiated between both parties. Both participants take note of each other and calmly exchange information in an attempt to find a mutually beneficial resolution. Their goal is to come to an agreeable compromise. It is a good way to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

When possible, communicate face-to-face

Any type of communication during which two or more people are visible to one another, one-on-one, can be considered face-to-face communication.

Face-to-face communication is often more effective than digital communication because eye contact and body language allow us to more effectively communicate. Effective leaders understand that face-to-face communication strengthens the bonds with their staff and teams.

Focus on quality

Think about improving communication by focusing on its content and process. Carefully consider the information you communicate to make sure it is appropriate. Additionally, be sure to be mindful of how you communicate with others. Do not make people wait too long for a reply and be sure to anticipate who needs to know. This can ensure that your messages are accurate, on time and relevant.

Utilize informal interactions

Informal communications encompass the emails and chats you take part in all day long. Besides the main purpose of advancing the work of an organization, these informal communications also establish social connections, build culture, and create trust.

Start communicating better today

workplace communication skills
It’s no secret that successful careers depend on good communication skills. Whether you’re trying to build a strong relationship with your boss or networking with potential clients, effective communication is key.

Northstar’s Leadership Training Program has an entire module dedicated to developing communication skills. We offer this as a stand-alone module or as part of the longer course.


Workplace communication skills tips

To help you get started today, we’ve pulled ten tips from the course that you can put into place now.

1. Establish clear goals and expectations from the start

Make sure everyone understands what you need and want from the relationship, and be upfront about any deadlines or expectations you have. This will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

2. Listen carefully

Don’t talk at people, listen to them. Give them your full attention and be ready to ask questions in return. Show that you’re interested in what they have to say and don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

3. Be respectful of others and their time

If you’re late for a meeting, apologize and explain why you were late. Being on time is important but so is showing respect for your co-workers.

4. Respect privacy

Don’t always share information with others, unless you are asked to do so. If someone has a question or concern about something that’s personal, they should ask you first.

5. Be helpful

Offer to help others. People appreciate it when you do.

6. Use appropriate language

Don’t use foul language or inappropriate expressions in the workplace. It’s not only not professional, it can be offensive to others who may hear you and could have a negative impact on your work relationships.

7. Don't make assumptions about people's motivations or intentions

Don’t assume that others are trying to take advantage of you, or that they are incompetent.

8. Don't be a gossip

Gossiping can hurt your reputation and lead to unnecessary conflict with others at work.

9. Give credit

Be willing to give credit and positive feedback where it is due.

10. Be honest

Honest communication is the key to a solid working relationship. If you’re not sure about something, say so. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something and don’t make up an answer just to please someone else.

Conclusion

Being an effective communicator in the workplace is essential to your job performance and will improve your relationships with co-workers and supervisors. The key to effective communication is learning how to listen and communicate in a way that will benefit both you and the person you are talking with. Remember, communication is reciprocal. Always be willing to listen and communicate in a way that is meaningful for your listener.

By following the workplace communication skills tips provided in this article, you can learn to effectively communicate with your coworkers, improving the overall productivity and functioning of your workplace.

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