How To Communicate Better With Coworkers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 9, 2021 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated June 9, 2021

Published October 7, 2019

Communication is the key to maintaining positive relationships at work. You can improve communication in your relationships with coworkers, family and friends by practicing these skills on a daily basis. In this article, we will discuss the different types of communication, how to communicate effectively in a working relationship and the importance of communication in the workplace.

Related: Communication Skills at Work: 4 Key Tips

In this video, Jenn, a career coach at Indeed, discusses 4 important questions that will help you improve your communication skills at work.

Types of communication

In the workplace, we use different types of communication to interact with coworkers. These types of communication include:

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is the combination of sounds and words we use to speak with other people. Good verbal communication skills are essential in any working environment. Some elements of verbal communication include speaking with a confident voice, using active listening techniques and avoiding filler words like “um” or “like.”

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is communication without using words or sounds. Nonverbal communication cues include gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, body language and posture. When you use these skills, you pay attention to your coworker’s cues throughout the conversation.

Written communication

Written communication relays your message using only written words. In the workplace, you use this type of communication in the form of memos, reports and emails. Effective written communication is simple and clear. When you communicate through writing, you can address one idea at a time, look for messages to clarify and make sure to edit your words.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is face-to-face communication that can take place between two people or among a group of people. This type of communication uses both verbal and nonverbal communication at the same time.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication Types

Image description

Types of Communication

  1. Verbal

  • Use a strong, confident speaking voice.

  • Use active listening.

  • Avoid filler words.

  • Avoid industry jargon when appropriate.

  1. Nonverbal

  • Notice how your emotions feel physically.

  • Be intentional about your nonverbal communications.

  • Mimic nonverbal communications you find effective.

  1. Visual

  • Ask others before including visuals.

  • Consider your audience.

  • Only use visuals if they add value.

  • Make them clear and easy to understand.

  1. Written

  • Strive for simplicity.

  • Don’t rely on tone.

  • Take time to review your written communications.

  • Keep a file of writing you find effective or enjoyable.

How to communicate better with coworkers

Apply these communication habits in your workplace to share and receive messages more clearly:

1. Use face-to-face communication

Face-to-face communication is more personal than sending an email. When you are face-to-face, both you and your coworker can discuss things openly, quickly and professionally.

2. Listen

As your coworkers speak, it is important to listen and pay close attention to what they are saying. Listening will show your coworkers that you genuinely care about their point of view. If you are unclear on the speaker’s message, ask politely for clarification.

3. Make eye contact

In any conversation, you can make frequent eye contact so the other speaker knows you are listening and engaged in the conversation. Making eye contact shows you are paying attention to the speaker.

4. Pay attention to nonverbal messages

When you are having a face-to-face discussion with a coworker, pay attention to any nonverbal messages. For example, if your coworker’s arms are relaxed and open, they are ready to listen. If your coworker is making eye contact, they are ready to focus and hear what you have to say. It is also a good idea to be aware of your own nonverbal messages during a face-to-face conversation with a coworker. Try to keep a neutral body posture and tone of voice and make eye contact throughout the conversation.

5. Be present and engaged

You can show you are present and engaged in the conversation by focusing on your coworkers as they speak and by keeping your phone and other distractions put away. Acknowledge your coworker’s statements and respond accordingly.  In a face-to-face conversation, you can respond with a smile, nod of the head or polite gesture that illustrates your feelings regarding their statements.

6. Participate in the conversation

When communicating with coworkers, use the opportunity to demonstrate whether you understand the message or need clarification. Both parties must actively participate in the conversation for communication to be effective. If your ideas are different from those of your coworkers, be sure to be respectful and considerate of their feelings. However, be honest, and politely let them know your idea.

7. Speak calmly and openly

When it is your turn to speak, remember to be professional. Remain calm, take deep breaths and think about your words before you speak them. Always respectfully let your coworkers know if something is bothering you and how they can help.

8. Acknowledge their time

At the end of the conversation, acknowledge your coworker’s time and thank them for talking with you. Acknowledging the discussion shows your coworker that you genuinely care about their ideas.

As you develop effective communication skills, you can build confidence and learn to be more comfortable communicating in the workplace. Using these communication tips each day will help you keep your workplace running smoothly.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Benefits of effective communication in the workplace

Effective communication has a significant impact on the workplace. Communication affects everyone including the employees, managers and the overall business, as well. Effective communication in the workplace is important for the following reasons:

Conflict resolution

Effective communication is necessary for resolving conflicts among employees in a business. Once the conflict is resolved, you can move forward, and business can continue.

Increased productivity

With good communication, your workplace may see an increase in productivity. Productivity could rise due to elevated employee involvement and engagement, a sense of cooperation among coworkers and the promotion of new ideas and creativity.

Morale boost

Team morale is an essential part of efficiency in the workplace. For the workplace to operate at its highest level, every employee must contribute. With effective communication, everyone has a voice and can contribute accordingly to the overall function of the workplace. Typically, a boost in morale leads to an increase in productivity, which is optimal for a functioning business.

Effective communication among all employees within the business, as well as with clients outside the business, is important in the workplace and will help the business thrive. With practice, your communication will become clearer and easier to understand. By applying these communication skills and tips, you can become an effective communicator in your working relationships.

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