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How to Improve Your Workplace Communication

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Good workplace communication is a vital tool in your soft tools arsenal. Without it no amount of skills or qualifications will help you.

At Gramerci, we often hear from potential candidates who wish to move on because they feel they’re not connected with their colleagues or direct reports. We also hear from companies for whom finding the right person isn’t just a matter of industry knowledge and experience, it’s important that they’re the right fit for the company’s culture.

Workplace communication is crucial to companies because it allows them to be productive and operate at peak effectiveness. Employees can experience an increase in morale, productivity and commitment if they are able to communicate up and down the communication chain in an organisation. Some people are natural communicators, some struggle. But whatever your personal style, there are some key skills that you need to have at your fingertips in order to be an asset to your company.

Communicate With Intent and Be Clear

Don’t be offhand or careless when you speak. Whilst short-form communication is very common, it’s important in the workplace to take extra time and effort to communicate specifically and to make sure what we say isn’t full of clichés, nonspecific words like “thing” or fillers that we repeat so often that we don’t hear ourselves saying them.

Avoid Seeming Judgmental

In order to communicate effectively with someone, you don’t have to like them or agree with their ideas, values, or opinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand a person. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed, can lead to the most unlikely and profound connection with someone.

Be an Active Listener

This is so important. Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they’re communicating, and knowing their intent, even if the actual words may nor bear what they need or want.

Don’t Interrupt

This also includes trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns, by saying something like, “If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me.” Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You can’t concentrate on what someone’s saying if you’re forming what you’re going to say next. Often, the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind’s elsewhere.

Show Respect for Other Cultures

While it's natural to be drawn to individuals who share your cultural background, your time at the office provides an exceptional opportunity to interact with a diverse range of cultures. Engage actively with those from different cultural backgrounds by starting meaningful conversations. Make it a point to listen to their narratives and life experiences, without making any judgments or criticisms. Show curiosity and sincere interest in understanding the nuances of their cultures. This will not only enrich your global perspective but will also foster a greater respect for cultural diversity when it surfaces.

Be Yourself

You’ve heard this advice before: “Just be yourself.” But perhaps you never believed it would help. Trying to be someone you’re not can be draining, so the best advice is to showcase your best self on the job or in any situation.

Show Your Interest in What’s Being Said

It may not be what you say, but how you say it. Communication isn’t just about your words; it’s the whole package – body language, spatial awareness, eye contact, attitude, and tone. It’s all of you. If you slouch, jam your hands into your pockets, shuffle your feet and avoid eye contact, people will get the impression you don’t want to communicate with them. Pry your eyes and thumbs away from your electronic device. Pretend that your colleague is your best friend who you would drop everything for if she walked into the office (your boss is another matter!).

Also remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Park your ego at the door. If you open yourself to other opinions and perspectives, you’ll find it much easier to get your own message across. Take a quick survey at your next meeting, draw the other people out, and show that you value their input.

Communicating effectively in the workplace might seem like an easy task but it actually takes skill. It includes choosing your words carefully, adjusting your body language and making sure your message gets across.

Be concise, be clear and keep in mind your audience. Be just as intentional about communicating clearly as you would be about understanding the subject matter.



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