Workplace Communication Skills
Effective communication skills are essential for success in the modern workplace. The ability to share information, ideas, and feedback with colleagues, managers, and clients is crucial for building positive relationships, making informed decisions, and achieving professional goals.
This article will explore the communication skills necessary for workplace success, including verbal and written communication, active listening, nonverbal communication, interpersonal skills, and conflict resolution.
We will also discuss how these skills can be developed and improved to help individuals communicate more effectively and achieve greater career success.
11 Communication skills for workplace success
1. Drop the Superiority
Yes, you are likely someone’s superior if you’re reading this. No, you do not need to speak to them like you’re better than them.
You must speak sternly when reprimanding subordinates, but walking around the office with a chip on your shoulder won’t bring you respect. It will just make people fear and loathe you.
Unless there is a reason for you to drop the hammer, you should speak to your employees like they are your equals. They will appreciate that and reciprocate that action by performing at their best.
This is a big problem for new managers but should be dealt with immediately. You’ll lose support fast if you act like you’re on a power trip.
It is essential to be confident in your interactions with others. Confidence shows your coworkers that you believe in what you’re saying and will follow through.
Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Avoid making statements sound like questions.
Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.
3. Keep it Professional
Few things are worse than going to work, talking to someone you barely know in a professional environment, and listening to them go off the rails like they’re in a high school locker room. We’re all adults now. Act like it.
This means that, even if Brad or Jenny in accounting is attractive, you keep it to yourself and refrain from making lewd comments. You keep it to a respectable tone when celebrating a big win instead of screaming like a testosterone-filled linebacker.
If something is bothering you in the office, you might talk about it but don’t turn it into office drama. We’ll get into that more in the next section.
In general, if you wouldn’t be comfortable acting in a certain way in front of your mom, don’t do it in front of your coworkers.
4. Avoid Gossip and Drama
If you’re on a team long enough, you’re bound to get the opportunity to gossip about another team member or get caught up in the drama. Please don’t do it.
You’re at work to complete tasks and get paid. You are not there to talk about your coworkers’ business, vent your frustrations about people, or generally speak about things that aren’t somehow work-related.
This can be difficult when small teams are prone to gossiping when things get rough, but that’s one of the best ways to split a team up and lower the quality of work put out. Just say no to gossip and drama.
5. Don’t Be Judgmental
Depending on your position and what’s happening, you might need to tell someone they’re doing the wrong thing. That’s just part of being higher on the totem pole.
Let’s say Timmy messes up a task. You’re his manager, and it’s your job to correct him. That’s perfectly fine. However, refrain from language that comes off as you picking on Timmy for messing up, and refrain from insinuating that the mistake will be repeated.
These things can break down an employee’s resolve, cause a high turnaround, or cause them to reduce their job performance on purpose. In general, you get nothing good out of walking around judging people.
Even in your head, being judgmental causes you to look at team members differently. That can impact your work relationships, which is never a good thing.
6. Avoid Sensitive Topics
Talking about complex topics is helpful, but in the workplace, it’s detrimental. You might think that all your work buddies want to discuss your favorite politician losing an election, but the fact is, they probably don’t.
What you thought was an innocent, necessary conversation might end up being a trip to the HR office because you bothered a coworker.
The same goes for comments regarding race, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, and similar topics that are likely divisive. Keep the controversial talk out of the workplace.
7. Be Patient
Everybody isn’t a social butterfly. Just because conversing is second nature to you does not mean it’s second nature to everyone else. Some of your coworkers might find it difficult to speak as confidently as you; afford them the time and patience needed to organize their thoughts and adequately communicate.
We know the business world is busy, but it’s not so busy that you can’t give your coworkers a bit of common decency.
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who cares only about putting in her two cents and does not take the time to listen to the other person.
If you’re not a good listener, it will be hard to comprehend what you’re being asked to do.
Take the time to practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”).
Through active listening, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say and can respond appropriately.
9. Stay Positive
Work isn’t easy or fun. That’s why it’s called work. However, it’s not appropriate for you to be candid and open about that unfortunate fact. Everybody will work for their motivations, and it’s just as hard for them as it is for you.
Don’t make their day harder by complaining nonstop. Keep it positive. Instead of complaining about a mandatory overtime shift, get excited about the extra money you’ll get. Instead of getting mad at a sudden increase in workload, welcome the challenge and push yourself.
If you take everything in stride, your teammates will likely do so. In time, that will significantly impact the company’s success and your ability to climb the corporate ladder.
10. Lift Your Teammates
Finally, the most critical communication skill you can learn is to uplift and empower your team. Each member will have their struggles in life, but by lifting them, you can ensure they reach their potential and overcome challenges. Don’t hold your coworkers back with negativity; lift them.
Being able to give and receive feedback appropriately is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors should continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback through email, phone calls, or weekly status updates.
Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” or “thanks for taking care of that” to an employee can significantly increase motivation.
Similarly, you should be able to accept and even encourage feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and try to implement the feedback.
As you can see, the most critical communication skills involve caring about and empowering your teammates in the workplace.
Things such as mannerisms and speech patterns are also essential but not as crucial to succeeding in the workplace as we had mentioned above.
We hope this helps, and best of luck with your career!
Title: Communication skills in the workplace