How to Develop Communication Skills in the Workplace

EZRA
Dec 29 2023 | Einblicke
A woman in a green shirt is sat at a desk with her laptop, talking and laughing with a colleague.

Although it might sound obvious, effective communication skills are some of the most important workplace skills an individual can have. Why? Communication can help boost engagement, enhance productivity, encourage effective collaboration and promote employee satisfaction and a healthy workplace culture. It is a crucial element of any successful business.


There are many ways that a company or leader can start to increase constructive communication at work, including ensuring regular meetings and 1:1’s are in place between team members, promoting an open and transparent working environment and investing in coaching to boost workplace communication. But how can employees personally work towards developing communication skills at work?

Developing communication skills at work

Let’s explore how to develop communication skills in the workplace as an individual, to grow and develop autonomously. Our tips include:

  1. Think it through

  2. Practice & prepare

  3. Simplify

  4. Work on clarity & concision

  5. Reflect

  6. Think about non-verbal communication skills

  7. Practice active listening

  8. Seek feedback

Think it through

When understanding how to better communicate in the workplace, you first must think about what you’re trying to communicate, who you’re trying to communicate with and what goals and objectives you’re trying to achieve through your communication.

What we mean by this is that communication, specifically in the workplace, can differ dramatically from situation to situation. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll communicate the same with a client or a senior stakeholder within a business vs. your colleagues in an internal team meeting or over lunch.

So, be sure to think through exactly how you should be communicating. In a client meeting or an important business call, your language is likely to be more formal, driven by results and performance. Your goals might be to upsell or persuade your client to move forward with a particular strategy. In an informal team meeting on a Monday morning, however, conversations might revolve more around catching up about the weekend and motivating each other for the week ahead, creating a more relaxed atmosphere for communication.

Practice & prepare

Stemming from thinking your communication through, another tip we recommend when looking to develop your communication skills to get more effective and successful outcomes is preparation.

Especially when you’re going into a formal setting – perhaps a quarterly business review, or a monthly performance overview – preparation and practice is key to ensuring you’re ready to communicate your points well and effectively. Look over slides, prepare notes and think about how you’d like to get your points across. This preparation will ensure you communicate to the best of your ability.

Simplify

Don’t overcomplicate things. Communication is all about understanding and comprehension. If you overcomplicate things, your points can get lost in a jumble of expertise that no one else understands. So, we recommend making bullet points of your main thoughts and objectives, ensuring you explain them in a clear and concise manner and thinking about the language you’re using.

If you’re speaking to fellow experts, then complicated language might actually be timelier; but the chances are others might not grasp what you’re saying, making your communication useless.

Work on clarity and concision

As we’ve already alluded to above, effective communication stems from concise points, directed in a clear way for others to understand. So, practice by going into meetings, however formal or informal, with a focus on clear objectives that you can deliver in a few sentences. Conversations can then stem off the back of those, but try to start with clear and concise ideas, goals or pointers for the best communication to occur.

Reflect

What went well? What didn’t go so well? Whether it’s a 15 minute catch-up with your manager, or an hour-long presentation with a client, reflecting on what could have gone better or what you did well through your communication is key to improving on it.

Think about non-verbal communication skills

Communication isn’t all about speaking. A lot of the very best communication comes through non-verbal cues. Things like eye contact, body positioning, and interactions such as nodding are key to successful communication.

Showing you’re engaged by making eye contact, nodding along to what they’re saying and positioning your body in their direction are all valuable when having conversations, presenting slides, or even listening to others. Closing yourself off can actually make others do the same, causing communication to break down. So, practice these things, and see how much more you get from your interactions with others.

Practice active listening

Actively listening to others is another key way you can develop your communication skills. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s not all about your speech. Actively listening not only helps you understand others better, ultimately meaning you can interact with them far more efficiently, but it also shows to them you’re interested in what they have to say, giving them more of a reason to engage back with you in more meaningful communication.

Seek feedback

Like with anything, feedback is one of the most important ways of improving. So, ask your manager, colleagues and (in some cases where appropriate) even clients what they feel you do well in your communication, and what they feel could be improved on. They won’t be able to tell you exactly how to communicate effectively at work, but they’ll give you ideas for bettering your communication in the workplace. Learning from others is one of the most efficient ways of improving and developing yourself.

At EZRA, we have personalised coaches to help you achieve your goals – thinking about developing your workplace communication? Work closely with experts to set goals and achieve them effectively.

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