Best Ways to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

Alexa Lemzy October 8, 2019
Company meeting at the conference room

Any communication in the workplace should be clear, friendly, and easy to evaluate. This is true no matter who the intended audience is. Failing to communicate effectively can impact a business.

In fact, in a survey of 1,000 IT businesses, more than 1 in 4 projects were unable to meet their deadlines. Why? Poor communication. This can happen in any industry. With the right knowledge, situations like that are entirely avoidable.

How to create effective communication in the workplace

Communication is important to achieving success in a team setting. Connections help you set goals, coordinate efforts, create new ideas, and more. Then, workers complete successful projects on-time. More importantly, leaders adjust their goals as needed.

Ineffective communication can compound problems and create delays. The longer the project takes, the higher a poor impact communication will have.

If you would like to know how to communicate more effectively in the workplace, the following steps are a great place to start.

Know who you’re speaking to

To communicate effectively, you must first consider who you’re speaking to. Not everyone processes information in the same way or responds well to individual communication channels. Choosing the best way to communicate is the most important part of successful workplace communication.

For example, those in higher positions within a company are often the most receptive to criticism and “negative” feedback. In many cases, they will ignore positive comments altogether. To these people, information that is objective and based on hard fact is often the most valuable.

Keep your message clear

Once you have considered what the receiver might respond to, it’s key to know what you’re going to say. Keeping things clear and easy to understand helps a listener stay focused on just what they need to.

Stay receptive and self-aware

If you remain positive and approachable, you’re sending the signal that you can communicate effectively. Workers feel like it’s possible to have a conversation with you. When people develop a reputation for being unapproachable, it can be hard to change that opinion.

Accept feedback

Feedback is challenging to deliver. It can quickly be taken to heart. However, if you wish to communicate effectively with your staff, it should be accepted. Rarely is communication clear-cut, especially when a team is involved.

When accepting feedback of any kind, it’s important to remain an active listener. You must evaluate what is said objectively, and then come up with a response. If there’s a lot to work out, thank the other person for their input and get back to them once you have an appropriate response. Rushing to a conclusion can slow down communication efforts.

Different types of communication in the workplace

Not every type of communication is appropriate for every group and situation. Culture and background can influence what forms of communication are most effective or are the easiest to use for a given group.

However, it’s also essential to limit the communication channels used by a given team or for a project. If too many channels are in use, it can significantly increase the time it takes team members to find critical information.

Below are sections devoted to the four most common tools to communicate effectively in a work environment. There are also statistics and tips to help you select the best communication option for your workplace.

Group presentations and meetings

Meetings can be handy tools to communicate effectively if you keep a few rules in mind. First, your sessions should be 15 minutes max. This keeps everyone on task. It also prevents the meeting from running too late.

Fifteen minutes should be plenty of time to cover a topic. You can answer the most pressing questions and assign tasks. To help things along include visual aids. You can do this with a bulleted summary of points covered as well as critical assignments and dates.

Further, short presentations to smaller groups can help prevent cognitive or social fatigue. This helps foster effective communication throughout the workday.

If possible, incorporating a visual element can help workers remember the information.

This can mean

  • setting up a slideshow
  • creating a chart or list
  • including an imageboard.

Anything that can help the other people visualize the information you are presenting can lead to a more memorable meeting.

Face-to-face meetings

Many workers prefer constructive criticism when it is delivered objectively. They even prefer it 7% more than positive feedback. However, many managers avoid giving criticism or suggestions for improvement because they find the process uncomfortable.

Private face-to-face meetings can help make delivering or receiving criticism helpful. However, older workers are more open to conversations about how to improve and prefer face-to-face meetings.

Conversations are a great way to cover difficult topics. Conversations prevent conflict. However, it’s never a bad idea to follow up face-to-face meetings with a text or email reminder. Review the key points and highlights of your converstaion to create a record.

Workers who are new to a field, young, or who have lower levels of confidence may have a harder time with fact to face communication. They prefer email or text message.

Text messages

construction supervisor reading a text message

Using text messages in a workplace is a new method of communication. However, if you’re looking to improve communication within a team, especially a team comprised of younger members, text may be the way to go.

Text messages come with positive outcomes. First, they’re visual. Visual communication methods are 25% more effective than oral communication. If you combine the two approaches, say with an oral presentation and a text-based follow-up, you can expect to see a 55% increase in retention compared to just the presentation.

Smartphone owners are also very familiar with texting. That data says, 97% of smart phone users text every week. Compared to other chat-type communication options, texting is familiar. 80% of current professionals use texting for business, and 70% would encourage this behavior.

As great as text messages can be for providing an easy-to-refer-to record, they can be difficult for some to interpret. This can make it easier to use workplace chat and text apps to stay on-task and to the point. Any emotion-charged conversation, such as criticism or constructive feedback is still best-given face-to-face.

Texting is also one of the most preferred mediums for workplace scheduling or sharing updates and bulletins. In a study conducted by West Virginia State University, participants were four times as likely to prefer text-messages for positive updates and meeting notices.

Email and newsletters

Email may be the most productive way to send and receive workplace communications. The average employee receives well over 100 work-related emails a day it is quickly falling to the wayside as a preferred communication tool.

The youngest generations entering the workforce today rarely send emails.

  • Only 6% of Gen Z participants in a 2012 Pew study sent any emails at all.
  • Email is not the right communication tool if you need to communicate important information.

Today’s inboxes are overloaded.

  • As many as 60.8% of employees have knowingly ignored workplace communications via email.

  • Nearly 1 in 2 reported that another communication tool would have been better.
  • Workers claim email actually reduces communication.
  • Texts messages see a 97% read rate.

Benefits of effective communication in the workplace

Companies that have a high level of successful communication see 47% higher returns according to a 5-year study.

Successful communication is defined as the ability to know what their employees want. Also, it means you know how to communicate successfully within the business’s industry. You plan and make goals that are consistently met.

Further, successful team communication reduces conflict and company turnover by 40 to 50%, depending on the industry.

Conclusion–Yes, You Can Communicate Effectively

These facts make it clear. It’s easy to see how the companies included in this study communicate effectively. With a little help, you can communicate effectively in the workplace. Find the right innovate tool within your given industry.

You can quickly get your message across. Communicate effectively, and your message is understood. The truth is, effective communication can lead change to take root faster. It leads to higher levels of acceptance.

Remember, you communicate effectively when you give constructive criticism and communicate openly. Why? Simply. Employees can improve and receive feedback that allows them to do so.

Alexa Lemzy


Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.

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