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Mastering The Art of Effective Communication Skills in The Workplace

Effective communication skills

Communication is vital in the workplace. This is the way one facilitates collaboration, builds relationships, increases productivity and prevents miscommunication, ultimately leading to improved outcomes and efficiencies. 

MANCOSA offers a Communication in the Workplace short course that’ll help you develop effective communication skills. 

In this article, we’ll look at workplace communication and why it’s essential. We’ll also look at the different types of workplace communication, strategies for effective communication, and more so you can become a more skilled  employee.  

What is workplace communication, and why is it important?

According to Mitel, close to 15% of an employee’s work time is wasted on miscommunication. This leads to slower processes and lower levels of productivity. 

As a result, employers value workers who can communicate well in different situations with their co-workers and clients. 

Workplace communication differs from regular communication. 

It refers to the exchange of information between employees or clients in a work setting. This includes face-to-face communication, chat messages, video meetings, emails, and phone calls. 

While people typically think of communication as verbal or written, it can also include body language, facial expressions, etc. 

Communication in the workplace is vital since it boosts employee engagement and ensures better team collaboration. Ultimately, it helps businesses avoid misunderstandings and achieve better results. 

Effective communication is especially vital for managers and team leaders since they give orders and manage the team’s output. They should be able to motivate their team members and create a good working environment. 

Types of workplace communication

There are mainly four different types of workplace communication. This includes: 

1. Verbal communication

This is the most common type of communication involving talking to co-workers and managers. 

Verbal communication is excellent for building relationships with others. It allows you to ask questions, get clear on instructions, ask co-workers if they need help, and more.

There are mainly three types of verbal workplace communication: 

  • One-on-one meetings where you speak with one person face-to-face, over the phone, or on a video meeting. 
  • Conversations with a group of people can include an entire team or specific team members. 
  • Presentations and speeches where you speak in front of a group of people — either giving them information or teaching them something. 

2. Written communication

Written communication is communication done in writing. It can take many forms, including email, brochures, instant messaging, social media, newsletters, etc. 

When it comes to written communication, employees and managers need to plan, organise, edit, and revise their words so it comes across professionally.  

They also need to ensure that everything is easy to understand and back up their claims with facts whenever possible. 

3. Nonverbal communication

Through nonverbal communication, you can communicate messages through gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and other methods.

  • Gestures: Some common gestures include pointing, nodding, waving, using fingers to indicate numbers, etc. 
  • Facial expressions: These include expressions of happiness, anger, sadness, confusion, and more. Since facial expressions are the same universally, they’re straightforward to understand. 

4. Visual communication

Visual communication is often used to support verbal communication. This is because many people are visual learners, meaning they understand information better when seeing it visually through images, graphics, or videos. 

Visual communication is handy for marketing, and it’s also excellent to use in reports when large amounts of data need to be delivered in an easily understandable way. 

Common barriers affecting workplace communication

Here are some common barriers to effective communication in the workplace: 

  • Physical barriers: Not being able to see someone’s physical reactions, gestures, and body language can make communication less effective. 
  • Language barriers: Miscommunication may occur due to vernacular differences or translation difficulties. Some employees may also find it hard to understand someone with a strong accent with which they are not familiar
  • Emotional barriers: Some employees may find it hard to express their beliefs and opinions on more controversial matters, such as politics, religion, etc. 
  • Jargon and acronyms: Many companies often have their own terminology, which could be difficult for some employees to understand — especially when they’re new to the company. 
  • Psychological barriers: For example, people with low self-confidence may feel anxious or intimidated when speaking to their managers — which could result in them missing out on essential details being discussed. 
  • Cultural differences: The norms of social interaction and how emotion is expressed differ greatly based on where you were born and your culture. This could lead to miscommunication or even conflict. 

Best strategies for effective communication skills at work

Here are some tips you can implement for more effective communication skills at work. 

  • Talk face-to-face when possible

It’s always better to talk face-to-face. This includes in-person as well as over video conferencing. 

Not only does face-to-face communication result in more swift responses, but it also means you get to see your co-workers and manager’s facial expressions and body language. 

This is especially important when the conversation involves more urgent topics, such as sudden changes to critical processes. 

  • Communicate at the right times

There’s a time and place for everything. 

The same goes for conversations in the workplace. You need to choose what times are best to talk about certain things. 

For example, if your manager is in an important meeting, don’t disturb them to bring up minor issues. On the other hand, if a big problem arises, it’s essential to bring it up to the right staff members as soon as possible so it can be addressed immediately. 

  • Connect over departments

It’s a good idea to talk to and get to know people in different departments. In many cases, this will help create more seamless processes. For example, people in the sales and marketing departments must communicate so these two teams work better together. 

  • Use visuals

If you’re sharing detailed information with your co-workers or manager, you can use visuals to make it easier to understand. For example, when giving a presentation, you can use graphics to better demonstrate a large amount of data. 

Getting adequate workplace communication skills training can help you know how to talk when to talk, and with whom to talk in certain situations. 

Explore a business communication course with SkillMe

Online learning is an excellent way to study and improve your skills. 

If you’re interested in building effective communication skills, consider taking the Communication in the Workplace short course. 

You can also look at MANCOSA’s other short business courses that’ll help you improve your abilities in the workplace, including telephone skills, emotional intelligence, and more. 

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