How To Improve Communication Skills in the Workplace

Updated March 29, 2023

Communication is a valuable soft skill for the workplace, whether you're working in the office or exchanging messages over an instant messaging app. Competent communication enables you to collaborate with your coworkers, deliver instructions for work assignments and take responsibility for your professional conduct. Aiming to become better at communication can enhance your work performance and your reputation in your industry.

In this article, we define the importance of strong communication and discuss seven tips to help you improve your communication skills.

Why are communication skills important?

Communication skills can impact the relationships that you build in the workplace. Here's a list of reasons that illustrate why practicing effective communication is important:

Clear expectations

When spearheading a project, communication is a tool you can use to establish clear expectations for every member of your team. You can discuss why the project is important to the company and the results you're anticipating from the team's hard work. Clarifying your thoughts can help professionals understand their role in the group and what they can do to ensure that the project is successful.

Related: Steps and Components of the Communication Process

Collaboration with coworkers

As a part of a team, you can prioritize good communication with your coworkers. Knowing how to express yourself can allow you to share your expertise to contribute to the team's workflow. You can also resolve interpersonal conflict and foster trust to make collaboration easier and more productive. For example, if you're working with a coworker who's new to the company, you can talk about the department's policies and approaches to projects. Your coworker may appreciate that you're upfront about how to complete the assignment and you're dedicated to showing them how to be successful.

Related: Communication Goal Examples for Effective Business Communication

Career opportunities

Improving your communication skills can also help you advance your career. You can impress prospective employers with your ability to articulate your thoughts, engage them in a conversation and build strong professional relationships. As a strong communicator, you can connect with experts in your industry who may be willing to speak on your behalf to representatives of companies that are hiring.

Related: 10 Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace

How to improve communication skills

Improve your communication skills by following the steps below:

1. Record yourself communicating

Whether working on a group project, giving a speech or simply just speaking with others, record a few communications and evaluate opportunities for improvement. Discovering where you can improve is a good first step to establishing a baseline for skill development. Pay attention to the pronunciation and enunciation of your words and the pace at which you speak to determine if it's easy for your audience to understand you. Identify the areas that you feel you're proficient at and the areas that you want to target as you aim to enhance your communication.

Related: 4 Types of Communication and How To Improve Them

2. Improve your listening skills

Besides speaking, a successful conversation in a work setting involves listening and responding. Practice active listening, a technique that requires you to use verbal and nonverbal techniques to hear and interpret what your conversational part is saying. Paraphrase what they say to show you're paying attention to the discussion. Your responses can also incorporate your interpretation of what they say to propel the conversation forward.

3. Learn to manage your emotions

Good communicators build skills that help them control their reactions and react appropriately. Learning how to communicate with others means learning more about yourself and your own emotional development. Think about subjects you're passionate and sensitive about so you maintain you're composure when speaking with someone. Your emotional intelligence can also refer to your ability to identify emotions in other. When you broach a new subject or respond to a question, observe your audience's reaction so you know how they feel about your speech patterns.

4. Improve your nonverbal communication

Non-verbal communication is important to understand what you and other people might be conveying beyond words. Pay attention to someone's body language and facial expressions and listen to their tone. What they're saying and what they're doing could be conveying different things. Eye contact is also an important part of nonverbal communication. Doing something as simple as making eye contact while speaking and listening can help maintain your focus on the conversation.

Related: How To Use Nonverbal Communication in an Interview

5. Prioritize soft skill development

Soft skills, such as empathy and open-mindedness, can improve the way you communicate. With an open mind, you can show you welcome perspectives that differ from your own and are willing to learn new things from your conversational partner. You can also empathize with your partner's feelings to alleviate tension and show you care about how they feel and what they want. Another soft skill to consider is adaptability. Practice shifting a conversation to maintain positivity and reach your goals.

6. Be receptive to feedback

When speaking, pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal feedback. If your coworker says they don't understand something, provide more explanation to answer their questions and educate them on the topic. If they're nodding their heads, then you can conclude they agree with your assessment and are curious about what else you have to say. Receptiveness to your audience's feedback accentuates your adaptability skills, and you can make sure the conversation you're leading is productive.

Related: Positive Feedback: Why It's Important and How To Deliver It

7. Communicate clearly and regularly

With both verbal and written communication, make sure you're staying on topic and giving your audience all the relevant information they need to understand. Think of ways you can simplify complex topics or relay your message in a concise way that helps the audience follow along with the discussion. You can also communicate regularly with your intended audience. For example, send reminder emails to colleagues about upcoming meetings to ensure they know when it is and to set time aside.

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