FAQ: Why Is Communication Important in the Workplace?

Updated February 3, 2023

Two people engage in a conversation at a construction site, with both smiling, as the person on the left looks on at a tablet.

Communication is vital to both team and individual success in the workplace. Clear communication at work can help you avoid misunderstandings, develop strong relationships with your coworkers and establish yourself as a valuable member of the team. As with any ability, you can strengthen your communication skills with daily practice. 

In this article, we review why communication is important and how you can improve it in your own workplace.

Why communication is important in the workplace?

Successful communication at work can prevent tension and help people work as a team, which is important in any industry. Clear communication between team members or between your team and the client can lead to a successful project.

For example, clear communication skills can help you negotiate for a raise or delegate responsibilities to the right people on your team. The skill can also determine your upward mobility. A good leader knows how to use words to motivate their team members, help them reach their potential and define the company's expectations.

Related: 10 Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace

What are the different types of communication?

There are four types of communication. Each type offers its own advantages in the workplace. As you develop your communication skills, you can learn which types of communication are better for different situations. The types include:

Verbal communication

Verbal communication involves sending and receiving information through the spoken word. Almost every daily social interaction, including conversations, meetings and presentations, require the use of verbal communication. With strong verbal communication skills, you can show that you are confident and knowledgeable about the subject you're discussing.

Related: Verbal Communication Skills: Examples and Tips To Improve Yours

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions and gestures, can be just as important as spoken communication. Regardless of what you're saying, your nonverbal cues can indicate your true intentions and feelings.

Related: Nonverbal Communication: 9 Types and How To Read and Use It

Written communication

Written communication is any form of communication that involves the written word. Different types of interactions require written communication, including letters, emails, presentations and proposals.

To maintain healthy relationships with others at work, you can strengthen your written communication skills. A clear and well-written email, for example, can help ensure your coworkers know how to adjust their workload while you're on vacation.

Related: 5 Steps for Great Business Writing (With Tips)

Visual communication

Visual communication is the use of visual media to send a message. Examples include photographs, videos and charts. Visual communication can be an effective way to transfer data such as statistics, which might otherwise be challenging for others to follow. For example, if you're presenting the data you obtained after a few weeks of research, you can communicate it and its significance with a slideshow presentation.

Read more: How To Use Visual Communication in 6 Steps (Plus Tips

How can you improve your communication skills?

Follow these steps to improve your communication skills at work:

1. Practice active listening

Active listening is the ability to focus on a speaker, understand their message and respond appropriately. Unlike passive listening, which is essentially listening without comprehending and responding, active listening involves engaging the other person in conversation.

The skill can help you build trust with members of your team since you can better understand their thoughts and lead more meaningful conversations. Active listening can also make it easier for you to collaborate, which can enhance the quality of work that you produce.

Read more: Nonverbal Communication: 9 Types and How To Read and Use It

2. Paraphrase

You can ensure you're communicating clearly by repeating to the other person what they said and asking if you understood correctly. This technique shows that you're listening and want to understand what the other person is saying, which in itself can build camaraderie.

It also gives the person you're speaking with the opportunity to clarify what they're saying and expand their message. For example, if you're discussing a proposal with a coworker, you might say, “What I'm hearing is that the current layout is challenging to read. Is that correct?

3. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions can often help you get far more information than a typical yes-or-no question. An open-ended question can allow the other person to share the knowledge you may not have, especially if you ask them to expand on what they've already told you. For example, if a coworker mentions that they think your weekly meetings could be more productive, you might ask them what your team could do to add to them.

Related: Open-Ended Interview Questions: Types and Tips for Answering

4. Show empathy

Put yourself in the other person's position and try to understand why they're responding to a situation the way they are. Connect with the other person and show empathy. If you show that you care about their situation, you can build trust with them, making it easier to collaborate as a team in the future. You might say something like, “I'm sorry you're having this problem. How can I help?” or “That sounds difficult. Is there anything I can do?

Related: FAQ: What Are the Key Components of Emotional Intelligence?

5. Recall previous conversations

Remember the key points and information a team member has shared in other conversations. Doing so can show you have a long-term interest in them, which can encourage them to share more information. It also shows that you can remember details, which can build the other person's confidence in your abilities as a member of the team.

6. Ask for feedback

Honest feedback is an excellent way to improve. Ask your coworkers for their opinions on your communication skills, and integrate their advice into your communication style. Several things may be difficult to see on your own, but a coworker can easily point them out and help you improve on them. Soliciting feedback can only help you find out where your strengths and weaknesses are.

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

7. Aim for clarity

Focus on what you want the other person to hear instead of what you want to say. Focus on the other person's reactions and adjust your speech and conduct accordingly.


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