4 Different Ways To Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 5, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Communication Types

There are many methods for clear communication and using them in a combination that’s most effective for your workplace can help to ensure communication problems are minimal going forward. For anyone in a management role, effective communication is a must.

In this article, we explore four different methods of communication that can help you achieve the goals you set for yourself and your team.

Ways to communicate effectively in the workplace

Effective communication can make you and your subordinates more productive. It can also help people become more skilled at their jobs, get promotions and progress in their careers.

1. Verbal communication

When you communicate with people verbally, you can build strong relationships with others. You can ask if employees need help, make sure they understand instructions, get useful feedback about your leadership and more. Here are some effective ways to communicate verbally:

  • One-on-one meetings: One-on-one communication will help some team members understand instructions more clearly, especially if the individual is more introverted and uncomfortable in a group setting.

  • Conversations with a group: Open group meetings can include your entire team in an open forum. Direct communication in this kind of meeting will let your team see your passion for all of your projects. It also gives people a chance to interact with you and provide feedback about your ideas.

  • Presentations and speeches: Presentations and speeches can help you teach team members new skills, inform people about future plans for the company and more.

2. Nonverbal communication

Through nonverbal communication, you can send wordless messages with your tone of voice, choice of gestures, facial expressions and other methods. Here are some useful ways you can communicate nonverbally:

  • Gestures: Common gestures include waving, pointing, shrugging and using your fingers to indicate numbers. For example, you can nod to show you understand and agree with what another person says.

  • Facial expressions: The look on a person’s face is the first thing you see when you meet them. Facial expressions for happiness, anger, fear, sadness and other emotions are the same across cultures, making them very understandable.

  • Paralanguage: Paralanguage, or paralinguistics, is your tone of voice, volume and pitch. Tone can make the same statement sound enthusiastic, hesitant, angry, sad or sarcastic. Paying attention to your paralanguage can help your employees perceive you as relaxed, confident and authoritative. 

Related: Nonverbal Communication Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Written communication

Written communication is essential for press releases, brochures, memos, contracts, handbooks and more. Leaders and managers must write clearly and precisely to convey their thoughts and ideas to everyone.

You should plan, organize, write, edit and revise your words as needed and draft everything with the intended readers in mind. Use concise titles and subheadings where appropriate, and write simple words in clear, short sentences and paragraphs. 

Make sure that everything is easy to understand, and back up your opinions with as many facts as possible. Always summarize the main points of your writing at the end and let the reader know what will happen next. Here are some common written communication methods:

  • Email: You can communicate with one person or with your entire business through email. The subject line should let people know what your message is about, and you should use clear, concise and professional language.

  • Letters: A letter takes longer to reach its destination than an email, but many people are more likely to notice it. People are unlikely to lose print mail in a spam folder like they might with email, so they make excellent communication methods for advertisements. 

  • Newsletters and memos: A weekly or monthly newsletter or memo can let all your employees know about changes in your business. You can inform people about new regulations and technologies or introduce new managers quickly and easily.

  • Social media: You can create social media networks to help your employees communicate with each other or let customers know about new products and sales. Social media can help you cultivate a fun yet productive company culture.

  • Instant messaging: Instant messaging lets you reach people outside of work without interrupting their activities with a phone call. You can send an instant message to one person or a list of recipients. Most smartphones will alert their owners when there’s an instant message.

4. Visual communication

Visual communication can make verbal communication easier to understand. Many team members retain information better when it’s presented to them visually or verbally.

Presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, can let you create varied, interesting presentations with ease. You can transfer many types of digital presentations to team computers, allowing all of your employees to refer back to the data when needed.

For example, a useful diagram or a video may help people assemble a piece of furniture better than several pages of written instructions. Here are some common types of visual communication:

  • Graphics, images and videos: With the right graphics, images and videos, you can show your employees how to complete tasks instead of just telling them. That way, you can avoid misunderstandings and make your instructions more entertaining. 

  • Data representations: Many different types of charts are used in data representations:

Vertical bar charts:Vertical bar charts are best for comparing data that is divided by category. They work best when there are only a few groups to display, usually no more than 10. Each bar is separated by a blank space, which indicates that there is no set order to the groups.
Stacked bar charts:Stacked bar charts are best for comparing the size of one group to another and illustrating the makeup of a group set in relation to others.
Histograms:Histograms are interesting combinations of vertical bar charts and line charts. The variable shown on the x-axis determines the heights of the bars.
Horizontal bar charts:Horizontal bar charts are a lot like vertical bar charts, but they often have more than 10 categories or categories with longer labels.
Pie charts:Pie charts are eye-catching, interesting ways to understand parts of a whole. The pie always adds up to 100%, and the breakdown it displays can involve almost anything.
Line charts:Line charts display information based on a continuous variable, often time or money. They’re effective for displaying projections that go beyond available data. For example, if you plot your monthly sales data on a line chart that covers three years, two past and one upcoming, readers may be able to identify future trends easily.
Area charts:Area charts are similar to line charts, but the space between the x-axis and the line is filled in with different colors. These charts are useful for displaying part-to-whole relationships, such as individual contributions toward production for a time, individual data and overall trend data.
Scatter plot charts:Scatter plot charts show the relationship between a pair of variables. If the data points shown form a band from the lower-left corner to the upper right corner, there is likely to be a positive correlation between the two variables. If the band runs from upper left to lower right, a negative correlation is more likely. If there is no apparent pattern, there could be no correlation between the variables.
Bubble charts:Bubble charts are similar to scatter plots, but they can introduce a third variable to the layout through the size of the bubble display. This is a good option for understanding the relationships between continuous variables.
Funnel charts:Funnel charts represent how something moves through the different stages of a process. It displays values as progressively decreasing proportions, and they amount to 100% of a total. The chart begins at 100%, and it continues to lower percentages as the factor being represented drops out of the process at each stage or step.
Bullet charts:Bullet charts display performance information about a specific goal. They reveal progress toward a goal, compare it to another metric and give context in the form of ratings and performance information.
Heat maps:Heat maps show the relationship between a pair of items and grant rating information, such as high or low, poor or exemplary, or negative or positive. They provide a quick visual summary of information, and more complex heat maps can allow viewers to understand complex data sets.
Box plots:Box plots give you a speedy way to summarize data. These charts can show variations, average values, outlying information and other data forms.

Related: A Guide To Pie Charts: Definition, Types and Tips for Creation

Tips for communicating in the workplace

Here are some additional tips to help you communicate at work:

Create a positive atmosphere

Think about the way your meeting environment feels. The space should be purely functional, and the layout should facilitate your team’s process and increase their productivity.

If your organization runs into a bad result, be uplifting and positive. The atmosphere and feeling in many workplaces flow from the top down. If you remain confident in the face of new challenges, your staff should as well.

Use technology to make your communication more organized

Electronic documents made with word processing programs, emails and mobile phone messaging systems are effective, swift means of overcoming barriers to interpersonal communication.

They don’t require all team members to be in the same place at the same time to receive the same data. People can find anything they need in a database of digital files quickly and efficiently.

Avoid repetition

Tell your team members the information they need to know and ask them if they understand or if they have any questions. Repeating yourself without being asked wastes time that could be used more productively. 

Listen and observe

Don’t be afraid of feedback or constructive criticism, and watch the non-verbal cues and activities of your team members as you communicate with them and they give you feedback. 

All of these communication tools can help you forge a strong, stable and productive workplace. Using them to your advantage will keep you from having communication issues with your team.

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