Communication. You hear that term all the time.
Maybe in relation to your friends, family, or loved ones. Or maybe in relation to the delivery guy you’re still waiting on to receive that one package.
Cue internal monologue: Darn you, Bill! It went from Mississippi to California?! I’m in New York!
Just communicate with me!! End scene.
Communication itself seems like such an easy thing to do and be good at. After all, you just walk up to somebody and start talking, right?
Well, communication is a little more nuanced than that. And in the workplace?
Communication is the absolute key to success. A workplace environment without good communication is going to lead to a bunch of different problems.
It’s just a fact. But luckily, there are ways to improve this unique ability simply by following these tips below.
That’s right. We have absolutely mastered the art of communication and life is now sublime!
In fact, Bill just texted us that your package is now on the way! So get to reading and learn how to communicate effectively in the workplace.
Maybe Bill will even text you too. Fingers crossed!
See Related: Why Is Communication Important In The Workplace?
Non-verbal communication tips
Notice your body language
Body language is the first way we communicate with other people. I mean, you’ve picked up a vibe from the barista before even putting in your order, right?
Well, the same goes for your workplace too. Think about employees on their first day at the job.
Some will walk in confidently. Others will walk in with their shoulders hunched.
Already, their communication is loud and clear. And most likely, their body language will inform how another person in the office chooses to respond.
Now, turn that lens back onto yourself. What does your body language say about you?
Do you look like a person employees feel comfortable approaching? And if not, how can you practice being that kind of person in the workplace?
Start with your body language. Make sure you communicate empathy and respect for your fellow employees from the get-go.
Work on your active listening skills
Strong communication skills are somewhat of a misnomer. Because a strong way of communicating with others is actually through listening.
An employee might be speaking to the whole company. And already, such a venue can feel nerve-wracking.
But there you are in the audience, nodding your head. Asking questions and being engaged.
That’s active listening. And that’s a great way to improve your communication through non-verbal means.
When you listen to employees, they feel that their ideas are worthwhile. And they tend to give you the same amount of respect when it’s your time to speak.
Any team member should know how to hone this skill and quickly. After all, listening to what a person is saying is one of the quickest ways to improve your communication skills.
Make eye contact
Let’s say you’re really hungry. Then a person from the team comes up to you with something important they want to say.
But all you can pay attention to is the sandwich they’re holding. That’s not the greatest way of communicating your interest, is it?
Eye contact can be so subtle. But it’s a great way to show employees where your focus lies.
If you’re focused on the sandwich, then you’re obviously hungry. Or jealous if it’s a really good-looking sandwich.
But you want employees to know that you’re listening to the ideas that they are sharing. Make it a point to look them directly in the eye.
You’d be surprised at just how crucial eye contact is for your ability to communicate effectively. The next time you hand out an assignment, use this trick.
Employees will respond to your sense of calm and authority. And it will help the team feel more on track with one another.
Know your audience
Let’s say you’re on your lunch break with the team. And you have a funny story you want to tell.
But Angela from accounting isn’t the biggest fan of crude humor. And your story is far from squeaky clean.
Maybe consider the communication of that story if you were to tell it. Doesn’t seem like the most appropriate way to engage with employees in the workplace, right?
Especially if you know that one employee feels uncomfortable around certain subjects. Well, communicating is about taking all of this into account.
It’s about understanding how your message will come across. Whether you’re telling it to your intended audience or simply the company of employees you find yourself with.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t hire a comedian to come into the office and spout out crude humor.
You’d do your research. And you’d find a comedian with clean and professional material to offer.
The bottom line is you should know your audience before you speak. Even if it’s a presentation and you want to create a lot of buzz around your new business initiative.
Tailor your words to meet and respect the ideals of your fellow employees. It’s not only a sign of respect.
It’s also a great way of showing how flexible you are. Communication skills go far beneath the surface than simply the words that you’re saying.
Bonus: What Do People Find Funny?
Verbal communication tips
Maybe you’re already incredibly versed in non-verbal communication. And you’re actually looking to improve your communication skills – that is verbally.
Well, keep reading for more tips on the job. And start communicating in a clear and succinct manner.
Speak with confidence
Remember how we said that body language can immediately communicate confidence or not? Well, your words can do exactly the same.
Maybe communicating with other employees has never been your strong suit. But you have a message that you desperately want to get across.
Just speak in a confident tone. Create a clear message and get your point across.
Then, leave the ball in another employee’s court to decide how to respond. All you can do is present your ideas in a direct manner.
And it’s okay to fake that confidence to begin. It’s almost like you’re an entertainer in the corporate setting.
All you have to do is show up and do your part, and over time, you’ll get the hang of it. It’s true that communication in the workplace can feel somewhat intimidating.
Especially if you don’t have strong communication skills. But just focus on what you want to say.
Then say it with gusto. Over time, you’ll find that your workplace communication will naturally improve.
Be wary of your tone
Tone is a funny thing. You could have a really positive message that you want to convey.
But you could also yell it at the top of your lungs. Take that delivery guy Bill again for example.
Maybe after delivering your package, he screams, “Have a good day!!” An otherwise nice and pleasant exclamation.
But said in a highly aggressive manner. I’m sure you’ve heard a comedian play with this before in their set – just maybe not in the corporate office.
But try translating that same idea into your workplace communication. No, don’t actually scream nice things at your fellow employees. But you get the point.
No matter the message, the key is always how you say it. A team might be receiving constructive feedback that can easily focus on the negatives.
But when said in an encouraging way, employees feel validated and motivated to do better. So listen to the way you say things in the workplace.
And adjust it to meet your needs and improve communication overall. Maybe you need a sweeter timbre in your voice – or maybe even a more assertive one. Who knows!
Give positive and constructive feedback
Communication in the workplace can easily break down when someone feels attacked. In fact, that’s where most workplace communication disputes come from.
But feedback is a necessary part of any person’s career. And it’s crucial for a team to be able to improve their communications amongst each other.
If you ever give feedback to a team, make sure it’s constructive. You can touch on certain points that might otherwise be negative.
But always phrase it in as a “ways to improve” sort of style. Effective communication means getting your point across and getting your fellow employee on the same page.
And they definitely won’t be on the same page if you tell them they’re doing a horrible job. So phrase your communication in the workplace delicately.
And always encourage employees to look for ways to improve. That way, everyone is on a level playing field.
Ask for feedback too
Now, feedback is a two-way street. You can’t just be handing it out without expecting to receive some in return.
So, instead of waiting for feedback to find you, seek it out. Ask your team how you can better support and listen to their ideas.
Seek out resources in the workplace that could help you improve communication. There’s no better way to do business than to accept constructive criticism from others.
In fact, that’s the only way you and your career will grow. So don’t be afraid to ask a fellow employee how you might be able to improve your communications with them.
They may be surprised that you asked. But it’s better than not asking at all.
Written communication tips
Most communication in the workplace occurs over email anyway. And there’s nothing worse than a dint in your communication skills due to typos…
Use software resources
Maybe your communication in the workplace is stellar. But your written communications still leave something to be desired.
Didn’t think so. Keep business as straight-laced and professional as possible. Especially when anything is in writing.
Get your message across effectively
Written communication is a great way to spread info to the team. But sometimes, there’s that one employee who rambles on and on.
Encourage the company to make emails as efficient as possible. Save those funny weekend anecdotes for the breakroom.
Don’t try to shove it all into a business email. Besides, effective communication is efficient communication.
And nobody needs to know how a raccoon got into your pool this weekend. It won’t help you improve communication. It’ll just be weird.
Recognize your tone of voice
Ah, that fickle word again. But even over written communication, an employee can demonstrate their voice and emotion.
You don’t have to be the email example of the life of the party. You know, exclamation points and emojis galore.
But effective communication still relies on some exchanged pleasantries. Even a simple “How are you doing?” or “Hope you have a nice weekend!” is great.
Besides, these are skills any employee can take with them to advance their business. A personal touch can do wonders to improve communication in the workplace.
Don’t treat work like social media
Ok, I know I said “personal.” But written communication in the workplace is no place for social media slang.
Not that I talked to them. Or that it came up in the breakroom but…
Just keep it professional. Show off those communication skills that’ll make you feel like you’re adulting. (There. Happy?)
Best wishes, warmest regards
Communication skills can be tough to master. There are a ton of tiny nuances in everything that we do, say, and write.
But these skills are not impossible to master at all. They just take a little practice here and there.
And a lot of consideration and thought. But that’s exactly what you want in an employee, right?
Someone who’s conscientious of their coworkers and surroundings? And knows how to get the message across without going on a tangent about their weekend adventures?
Don’t get me wrong – those tangents can sometimes be a delight. But in the workplace, communication is best left at a pleasant and efficient rate.
So amp up your communication skills and use these tips to help you get along in the workplace. Besides, these tips might just even help you in your everyday life.
Not that I told you so. But… you know.
Keep Reading: How To Get Into Comedy Acting
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.