10 Helpful Tips for Communication Skills in the Workplace
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 4 November 2022
Published 9 May 2022
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.
Strong communication skills are an important asset to have as a working professional, no matter what industry or role you're working in. They can help you build strong relationships in the workplace, improve your career prospects or impress prospective employers. Understanding what communications skills are and how to improve them can increase your chances of securing a role or promotion. In this article, we provide some tips for communication skills and discuss how they can help you in the workplace.
What are communication skills?
Communication skills refer to your ability to convey, receive and process information. They can aid you in requesting information, asking questions, understanding others and relaying information in a clear and concise way. Some of the most common communication skills you might use in your day-to-day work include active listening, giving presentations, collaborating with colleagues and writing. Effective communication often requires emotional intelligence, respect, open-mindedness, confidence, feedback, positive body language and friendliness.
Clear and concise communication is important because it plays a significant role in helping you form successful relationships and gaining employment. It's essential in both your professional and personal life. You may use communication skills when interviewing for a job or speaking with colleagues or customers. Strong communication skills are often in demand in the workplace because they help you establish expectations and work goals. Having these skills can also improve your career prospects and help you in your career advancement.
10 tips for communication skills
Here are some tips for communication skills to help you convey information clearly and build workplace relationships:
1. Know your weaknesses
When you identify what skills you're lacking in, you can plan ways to strengthen them. Some common weaknesses in communication include presentation skills and public speaking. Knowing which areas to work on can help you set goals and deadlines for improvement. With practice, you can become more effective at connecting and communicating with others.
2. Take more time to listen
People often assume that communication mostly involves talking to others and conveying information, but listening to others also plays an important role. Active listening involves taking the time to hear what others are saying so that you can better understand and respond to them. When practising active listening, it's important to acknowledge the speaker. You can do this by repeating what they've said or nodding to indicate you've understood them. This helps you process and understand what they've said and also shows that you're paying attention. Improving your active listening skills can help you improve your overall communication.
3. Practise non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication helps you communicate with others without speaking. It can include body language and facial expressions, which are great tools for analysing someone's mood. When speaking to others, it's important to maintain eye contact. This shows that you're engaging with them while being open-minded and receptive. You can also use cues like tone of voice to get a better idea of someone's feelings.
Related: 4 Types of Communication
4. Understand the context of a conversation
When you're speaking to someone, it's important to note that there are different communication styles. A private conversation with a single colleague may require a completely different communication style than a presentation to your entire department in the workplace. Knowing how to speak to someone and structure your sentences can help you communicate effectively to different audiences. It's also important to note your volume, tempo and your ratio of speaking to listening in different situations to avoid causing offence and ensure your audience can understand you.
5. Make space for silence
Often, silence can be a necessary aspect of communication. When communicating with an employer, client or colleague, it's useful to allow natural silence to occur. This gives both parties time to process information, think of a response and decide how to formulate it clearly.
6. Clarify anything you're unsure about
When conveying or receiving information, it's important to clarify anything you're unsure about to avoid miscommunication. When speaking to someone, it's useful to take some time to ask them to explain or expand on what they're talking about. If you're unclear about something they've said, you could ask them to repeat or rephrase their sentence. Asking questions also shows the other person that you're listening to what they're saying and that you want to understand their ideas or perspective.
7. Be receptive to others and their ideas
Communication breakdowns often happen when both parties cannot agree due to having different points of view. Pay attention to others' verbal and non-verbal cues when they speak to you, especially if they're nodding to agree with you or shaking their head to show disagreement. Keeping an open mind and attempting to find solutions everyone agrees on can help you build positive relationships with others. Being receptive to other people's ideas can also help to keep the conversation tension-free and productive.
8. Research the company or subject
Before you attend a job interview or give a presentation at a client meeting, it's important to conduct sufficient research on the company or subject. When attending a job interview, it's useful to prepare for and practise answering questions that the interviewer may ask you and memorise the important information on your resume. This allows you to answer them promptly and confidently. Preparing for conversations in advance can also give you more confidence when communicating with others.
9. Be clear and concise
When communicating with others, it's essential for you to speak clearly and use as few words as possible to get your point across. When starting a conversation with someone, be sure to start with your key point so that it's clear to the other party. Keeping the conversation brief helps you to highlight the important aspects of your point. Being concise helps to keep the conversation balanced and gives other parties the opportunity to speak and raise their points.
10. Validate previous points
After listening to someone share their points and views, it can be important to take some time to validate and recognise what they have said before adding on to the conversation. This helps to show others that you're listening while they're speaking and acknowledging what they've said. Validation also helps to keep the conversation calm and collected by assuring other parties that you've heard what they have to say.
Examples of communication skills
Here are some examples of important communication skills that you can develop to improve your employability:
Active listening: Active listening involves attempting to pay attention to the speaker and indicating that you've heard and understood them. This can help you gain the respect and trust of others.
Writing skills: Most jobs require you to have good writing skills since your role may involve frequently writing reports, social media posts, presentation slides or emails. You can also develop your skills in using writing applications to improve your writing skills.
Presentation skills: Some roles may require you to give presentations to your teammates, clients or managers in an office or meeting. To boost your presentation skills, it's important to have confidence in public speaking.
Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence includes aspects like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. It's an important skill for building strong relationships. This helps you to empathise with others, work well in a team and avoid conflicts in the workplace.
Confidence: Confidence is key when communicating with others in and out of the workplace. This helps to assure others that you can perform your responsibilities and deliver results. It also helps you to convince and persuade your audience.
Friendliness: Being friendly can open many avenues of communication, since it relaxes others and encourages them to speak to you. When interacting with others, be sure to be genuine and give sincere responses.
Body language: When communicating with someone, you can use cues to help you interpret their meaning. Non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, body language and facial expressions, can help you identify what others are thinking or feeling during a conversation.
Respect: Showing respect to the person you're speaking to is important, since it leads to meaningful conversations and collaborations with others. Acknowledge the opinions of others even if you don't agree with them, and try to remain open-minded.
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