Effective workplace communication makes the difference between a chaotic environment and one that moves like a well-oiled machine. To improve communication skills in the workplace, there are several methods by which you should adhere. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to ensure you are keeping top-notch communication at work. 

1. Meet face-to-face

Face-to-face meetings allow your team members to listen not only to what you’re saying, but to tune into your body language as well. You may be covering a serious project that requires all hands on deck or you may be congratulating an employee on a milestone and offering other recognition incentives. When your team members can see you, they can get a better gauge of performance requirements and can enjoy a more light-hearted conversation among one another if they perceive you in a relaxed state.

Although in-person meetings may not always be possible, particularly if you or another team member is traveling, you can engage with video calls to connect more effectively.

2. Meet one-on-one

There are times employees may feel uncomfortable speaking up in a group setting; this could be due to the sensitivity of a matter or personality type. Either way, when dealing with communication in the workplace, it’s important to offer one-on-one support to employees. Oftentimes, without the pressure of a group setting, you can get right to the heart of a matter to quickly move forward with action – whether you need to correct an issue or prevent one altogether.

3. Write it out

Emails are used for memos, company policy updates, special announcements, and regular day-to-day information tracking. This method of communication is crucial, especially when your team members are engulfed in projects. You can get your thoughts and direction out without interrupting their flow. In addition, following up with an email after a face-to-face helps you and your team members stay on task with a short summary and action items clearly outlined to optimize workflow.

4. Keep it simple

Workplaces tend to be incredibly diverse, which means your team members may have different vocabulary levels. Keep your communication, both verbally and in writing, clear and concise. If too many undecipherable words are used, ambiguity is activated, creating an unnecessary back-and-forth as team members grapple with understanding; worse even, if team members don’t ask for clarification and move forward on a project without a clear set of directives. It is always better to keep it simple to keep tasks flowing. 

5. Try visual aides

Just like each team member operates with a different vocabulary, some team members are visual learners, as opposed to auditory or even kinesthetic learners. Some of your staff requires visual aides to cement their understanding for directions provided on a project. Use charts, graphs, or other visuals to offer clarity whenever you can. Sometimes, just writing down the workflow of a project on a whiteboard can give your team the insight they need to fully comprehend the details of the plan at hand.

6. Encourage safety

Inevitably, there will be moments of conflict in the workplace. Create an environment that fosters safety in communication and encourages employees to speak up when they require assistance resolving conflict. Often, conflict can be assuaged without external input but when issues escalate, you must ensure your team knows how to follow chain of command and how to request one-on-one meetings. It is vital they feel safe communicating outstanding issues, so you don’t experience kinks in the chain of productivity. Make yourself available as needed and encourage the flow of communication through appropriate channels.

7. Lead by example

Investing in management communication skills can enhance performance and help with trust-building. When an expectation is set for employee communication, the management and high-level executive teams must lead by example. Team members follow not only the explicit direction provided by their leaders, but also their behavior, which includes styles of communication. Earn trust, build stronger teams, and improve efficiency with communication training that breathes new life into your organization.

8. Incorporate humor

Humor creates a receptive environment when used correctly. Friendly jokes cause team members to laugh and relax and it’s in this state they are most responsive. When you have important messages to get across, some light humor or even humorous games can help you create an environment wherein your team is calm, disarmed, and ready for your next key communication. This is a particularly important method when you’re all dealing with a high-stress project and tensions are high. Some lightheartedness goes a long way to break up the pressure and keep you all moving forward diligently.

9. Ask questions

Communication is always a two-way street. No matter how clear you feel you’re being, there may still be some uncertainty on the other end. Ask pointed questions and request confirmation of understanding so you can all walk away from a meeting on the same page. Allow for open questions at the end of every meeting, call, or email. This opens the door for team members to feel comfortable seeking extra clarity when needed.

10. Act on feedback

To create the kind of communication required for a cohesive team environment, you must be willing to address feedback. There will be occasions when feedback is unrealistic; however, most of the time, you’ll find that team member suggestions are helpful for the overall goals of the team. Taking the time to incorporate feedback helps your team feel understood and as if they belong. With that sense of belonging, there will be more participation and even greater efficiency overall.

Why is communication important in the workplace? Because it transforms connections, eases workplace relationships, and ultimately results in an environment that fosters efficiency. Don’t forget to keep providing your team with positive feedback when behavior that adheres to the standards you set is performed. Your own experience combined with the tips above will help you create the most enriching environment that benefits you, your team, and your customers/clients. Effective communication takes just a little extra effort and it goes a much longer way!