Effective communication in the workplace is important for maximizing a company’s potential to succeed. As a business grows, though, it accumulates talents with different personalities who require proper guidance to avoid communication breakdown that can affect your company’s performance. We asked experts to share their best communication in the workplace tips to boost your business.
Here are 30 essential workplace communication tips from the pros:
1. Lead Your Open Door Policy
Jessica Glazer, President/Strategic Recruitment Director, MindHR
Just because the company has an open door policy it doesn’t mean employees feel the door is always open. Check in on employees. Make them feel comfortable. Say good morning, take them for coffee, lunch as a team and separate, but don’t just do it once in a while. Do it often. People want interaction and to know they’re valued and valuable.
2. Host Daily Stand-Ups
Mark Allwood, CEO, GlobalX UK
I’ve tried different methods throughout the years but I’ve found daily stand-ups to be the most effective. You should have your stand-ups first thing in the morning but the trick is to keep them short and sweet. You have to step in if someone is going into too much detail as you’ll lose people’s attention. The goal is to spark conversations outside of the stand-up and to get everyone talking.
3. Make Sure Teams Are Diverse
R. Shawn McBride, Chief Innovation Officer, McBride For Business, LLC
As simple as it is, making teams diverse and allowing team members to speak can do a lot for communication. Often people have insights due to their background we need. Get diverse people involved in projects to get more ways of seeing things.
4. Communicate Regularly Face to Face
Pratibha Vuppuluri, Chief Blogger, She Started It!
Make it a habit to communicate face-to-face. The key to good communication in the workplace is to always talk face-to-face. This avoids miscommunication and, at the same time, helps build a better relationship among colleagues.
5. Use Project Management Software
Maggie Aland, Marketing and Review Editor, Fit Small Business
A busy team of employees is a good sign for any business. However, handling a variety of projects and working toward a number of deadlines requires constant adjustment that can risk miscommunication between employees. Make sure that your team is equipped with tools that promote constant communication and help them stay in sync smoothly to the changing workflow. Monday.com is a highly customizable project management software that effectively simplifies team tasks. It offers features like templates, custom tags, email integration, and cloud storage to help teams manage even the largest projects by customizing data as projects grow and develop. Visit Monday.com for a free trial.
6. Communicate With Vulnerability
Stephanie Wijkstrom, Certified Counselor and Founder, Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh
Leaders don’t always make space to express their humanness, their fears, and their mistakes. This creates a sort of anxiousness and in authenticity in the workplace. Quality leadership shares the struggles that are being faced and encourages the team to support problem-solving efforts. Statements like, “I know I can be demanding when we are nearing the end of a quarter, I fear us not making our quarterly goals” capture the emotions that drive our behavior. Only a person who is very self-aware will be able to identify and communicate in this manner.
7. Turn Off the Electronics
Laurie Brown, Communication Speaker/Trainer, Laurie Brown Communication
Whether in a group meeting or a one-on-one conversation, electronics get in our way. Even when we “silence” our phones the vibration will divert our attention. There is no better way to show respect then to give someone your undivided attention.
8. Increase One-on-one Meetings With Managers
Vivek Kumar, CEO, Qlicket
Quarterly or yearly performance reviews do not provide enough opportunities for employees to share concerns and pain points. Plus, employees are often uncomfortable with expressing discomfort unless they are first asked to do so. More touches with management can remedy this issue.
9. Don’t Hesitate to Overcommunicate
Linda Pophal, Owner/Consultant, Strategic Communications
While business people are often hesitant to communicate the same message more than once, the truth is that most messages must be delivered eight times, in eight different ways before they actually make an impact. This is because others are not likely to be attuned to our message if just delivered once. Today’s business people are continually bombarded with a wide range of messages from a wide range of sources. The chances that they will be eagerly anticipating your messages and be in the right frame of mind to hear what it is you have to say is small.
10. Practice Exchanging Feedback
Nick Galov, CEO, Hosting Tribunal
Giving and receiving feedback is crucial for every business’ success. It enables the creation of a healthy environment and it boosts employee engagement and motivation. It also enables the employee and the employer to be in the loop when it comes to possible problems and stepping points both regarding the ongoing projects and employee satisfaction. By giving and receiving regular feedback, an employer is ensuring that communication is on point.
11. Be Approachable and Trustworthy
Ed Krow, HR Strategist/Speaker/Author, Ed Krow, LLC
Leaders are influencers and coaches. Both roles have to do with building trust. If your people see you as a genuine, flawed human who they can respect, they’ll be willing to follow you because of your vision. Once you have someone’s trust, you can influence their daily actions, their paths, their view of the organization and even their view of their career. At that level of trust, they open up to you and tell you what they need to achieve their goals. When someone does that, it’s a sure sign of leadership. That’s why leaders must be approachable. This takes trust on both sides, but the best thing a leader can do is adopt a style that encourages feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your people for their viewpoint. They’ll be honest if they think you genuinely care about their response.
12. Encourage Transparency
Tony Arevalo, Co-Founder, Carsurance
Make sure that each person on the team knows what every other person is doing. Talk about it loudly and clearly, and be open to questions and suggestions. If there is an unclear task, talk it out and decide with the team who should take the task over.
13. Understand the Difference Between Dialogue and Discussion
Cara Wade, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Executive Consultant, Leadership Worth Following
Understand the differences between dialogue and discussion, and use both as appropriate. Dialogue is an opportunity to leverage divergent thinking — to explore, ask questions, understand, and discover. It is not about deciding and closing off possibilities. Discussion requires convergent thinking to close in on a solution or decision. In discussion mode, people negotiate, talk about trade-offs, and analyze.
14. Create a Structured Agenda for Meetings
Stan Acton, Founder, Acton ADU
Meetings are a slippery slope. Many times they are needed because a phone call or face to face meeting can really speed communication up, but only if the meeting is structured. Every meeting called with anyone on any topic in the company should have an agenda. The agenda should be structured with an objective, list items for discussion (or review), logistics for how long the meeting will take, and the desired outcome of the meeting. Following the process speeds things up and has for the most part cut our meeting times in half and forced every team member to think in terms of efficiency. Why am I calling this meeting? What do we need to get out of it?
15. Assume Responsibility in Your Communications
Dr. Russell Thackeray, Founder and Director, QED
Stop playing the blame game in your communication. Always take accountability for your actions in the workplace. This includes how and what you communicate to others. Allow a healthy dialogue to develop where you avoid blaming other people or joining in with blaming or moaning about others with co-workers. Role model a conversation that allows people to see you admit your mistakes, fix things, and avoid making the same mistake twice.
16. Listen to Your Team
Sean McPheat, CEO, MTD Training Group
Give your team a good listening to. Communication is a two-way street. You’ll get far more out of your team if you have open lines of communication by encouraging everyone to ask questions and to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas. This engages your people and makes them feel empowered. You also keep a lid on the office rumor mill and any underlying currents. Your staff need a good listening to rather than a good talking to, so at every opportunity ask for feedback and input from them.
17. Customize Your Office Communication
Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation
Communicate with team members in the manner that best works for them. Communication is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some employees communicate best via email while others may like to meet in person and have discussions. Talk to each team member about the best avenue for communicating successfully with them and utilize that approach when working together. Make sure other team members know, too.
18. Manage Information Overload
Chris Chancey, Founder, Amplio Recruiting
When people are bombarded by pinging app notifications, emails, and other streams of information, there is bound to be a culture of disorganization and inevitably, one of miscommunication. If your workplace does not have one yet, consider implementing a communication policy. Such a policy would act as a guide for things like when to initiate face-to-face communication, how to communicate important issues by focusing only on those concerned, email courtesy, and what constitutes open communication. Organized communication means less overwhelm and more effective exchange of meaning between individuals and across teams.
19. Agree to a “By When”
Christine Tuttle Conrad, Founder, CALT Assistant Services, LLC
Initial conversation at the time of the request; after hashing out the content and structure of said report, you and the requesting party need to agree to a by when — by when you will deliver the report to them. This verbal commitment solidifies everyone’s expectations and time-frame and can be applied to any request for you to do anything. It may seem a little corny and awkward at first, but practice, practice, practice and after a while it will become natural to the flow of your communicating and interacting.
20. Try to Understand the Other Person’s Perspective
Sylvia Melena, Founder & CEO, Melena Consulting Group
Misunderstanding is often the culprit in workplace miscommunication. When someone says or writes something that rubs us the wrong way, it’s easy to make assumptions about the person’s intent. However, there are frequently other factors at play, such as communication styles, cultural nuances, and even the pressures of home and work. We can alleviate the unnecessary conflict that arises from miscommunication if we seek to understand the other person’s perspective. When we respond with kindness and caring, the other person is most likely to reciprocate.
21. Segment Your Communications
Matt Stolpe, Content Creator, Bonfyre
A communicator’s messaging strategy must be cognizant of the fact that only certain groups need certain updates. Although it may seem obvious to some, this is a common stumbling block for communicators. Before you sit down to craft your message, think long and hard about the target audience for your communications. By identifying the parties you need to communicate with in advance, you will be able to create stronger messages tailored specifically to your audience’s needs.
22. Make Following Up a Habit
Kristen Fowler, Vice President, JMJ Phillip Executive Search
Be sure to be clear and concise about what your expectations are and always be sure to follow up after the initial conversation. After having a verbal discussion about the task or assignment, be sure to follow up by sending a quick email summarizing what was discussed. This way if there were several things mentioned, the employee has a point of reference to be sure that all tasks are completed. Following up with employees ensures that the task is being completed and to your expectations, and provides opportunities for the employee to ask more questions when needed.
23. Make Eye Contact
Jeffrey Deckman, Coach, Speaker, Trainer and Author, JeffreyDeckman
Put down the pen or look up and away from the computer screen. Communication begins with connection and eye contact initiates connection. It starts by connecting you to them, which in turn increases their ability and willingness to connect with you. As humans we strive for and thrive on connection. So when we are given an invitation to connect, which eye contact initiates, we normally accept the invitation. When that happens the amount of and quality of communication automatically increases.
24. Be Sensitive During Changes in Leadership
Katie Horan, Co-Founder and VP of Operations, Giving Assistant
It’s important to deal with misunderstandings and miscommunication when there is a change in leadership or procedures. Make sure there is awareness and understanding of the problem and, hence, the necessity for change. Explain why or how the proposed change will benefit the worker. Basically, you need to create the desire for them to want to change. You’ll also need to buy into the proposed solution yourself and share plenty of knowledge on how the change will actually take place. Finally, properly train people and empower them to utilize their skills, then reinforce the change and check in to make sure things are going smoothly.
25. Learn From Your Mistakes
Shavon Lindley, CEO, ion Learning
If you have found that you’ve said something you shouldn’t have said, or created a situation that is outside of your integrity: stop. We all get caught up in the moment, lose our way, and misstep from time to time. The key is to self-correct and not let one bad decision turn into a series of bad ones.
26. Open a Dialogue After Your Weekly Meeting
Shaan Patel, Founder and CEO, Prep Expert
Reserve the last 20 minutes of your weekly hourlong company meeting to address any specific concerns about issues with the company or morale. Provide a safe space that lets everyone constructively discuss issues of concern and brainstorm on the best ways to work through them in a timely manner.
27. Limit Email for External Communications
Mike Swigunski, Founder and CEO Global Career
Email is becoming too slow and can really stunt efficiency. This is why applications like Slack or Google Hangouts are essential for communicating quickly with your team. They cut down greatly on the back and forth caused by email and they keep your inbox decluttered and focused on external exchanges.
28. Run No-fuss Meetings
Kate Gorman, CEO and Founder, Fort Mason Games
People watch you for cultural cues. If you start meetings late or recap for late arrivals, they’ll come late. If you don’t prepare an agenda, they’ll think it’s OK to be unprepared as well. Run your meetings with the type of behavior you expect from your team and effective communication during those meetings will increase tenfold.
29. Ask for Context
John Reid, President and CEO, JMReid Group
Have you ever been in a situation where perhaps your manager or direct report made a call that leaves you feeling like your work just got a little harder? When this happens, both you and colleagues are missing context from each other. If you are the one noticing this disconnect, it can be helpful to ask for context and/or respectfully give them information they might be missing from your perspective. Similarly, when gearing up to make a decision, be sure you gather all the information you need and give context around your thinking to whoever you are communicating to in order to foster more complete communication.
30. Commit to a Collective Goal
Vanessa Keating, Owner, Evolve Creative
Create and commit to a collective goal to strengthen team communication. Each project or goal should be clearly communicated with measurable markers for success known as standards that all can agree and understand. Allow all on the team to communicate their “why” or commitment with measurable standards for success. Once all on a team can collectively create standards and commit to the same goal with steps to achieve it, safety and structure within a team is created, which greatly impacts how the team can communicate with each other.
There are so many different methods of communication today that it can be hard to identify which one is appropriate for your message. Use these tips for communication in the workplace from experts to help develop a healthy working culture to motivate your employees.
Did we miss out on your favorite workplace communication tips? Let us know in the comments.