How to Improve Communication Skills in the Workplace?
Wondering how to improve communication skills in the workplace? You’ve come to the right place.
Effective communication between employers and employees encourages everyone to lead with purpose, avoid confusion or misunderstandings, build personal accountability, and build positive relationships in the workplace. Whatever your role may be at work – your ability to communicate with others can also impact the team morale at work.
In this article, we’ll be sharing our top recommended strategies on effective communication skills so you can boost productivity, morale and motivation for work.
Why is Communication Important in the Workplace?
Effective communication, otherwise known as persuasive communication, is a key element to every successful organization. How does this play out in the workplace?
As an employee, do you ever find yourself assigned to a task with unclear instructions, or needing further guidance with a task at hand, but you’re too anxious to reach out for help? Learning to express your needs and concerns effectively can help to streamline your workflow so you can accomplish your tasks more efficiently.
As an employer, do you ever wish you could delegate tasks more efficiently and effectively so internal operations can run more smoothly? Learning to lead by example by conveying your vision and expectations will ensure a smoother workflow for yourself as well as your entire team.
Whether you’re in charge of written communications (such as emails to clients), or delivering internal communications, your job’s success rates can be increased by reflecting on the core values of good communication.
What Does Good Communication Look Like?
Good communication begins when you’re able to convey your message clearly and concisely with confidence. In fact, your ability to pass your job interview is proof of your strong communication skills! By the same token, asking for confirmation, feedback, or opinions are all central parts of a productive working environment, no matter what role you hold at work.
Communication is generally conveyed through your facial expressions, body language, nonverbal cues, as well as other soft skills. If your job requires you to take online meetings or participate in face-to-face interactions with clients, customers or colleagues, it’s important to equip yourself with the skills necessary to provide an engaging experience for the other person.
Good communicators are able to express themselves and their needs in a clear and concise manner. Good communicators are also good listeners who pay close attention to what the other person is saying in a conversation. Good communicators can pick up on verbal cues that require them to respond appropriately to carry the conversation onwards.
Great communicators can read between the lines. They are masters of emotional intelligence, picking up on both verbal and nonverbal cues from all parties in conversation. In a video conference call or in-person meeting, a great communicator will make eye contact with the speaker to indicate that you’re paying attention, suggesting that you care about what it is they’re talking about.
So, the bottom line is: the more approachable and communicative you are during your meeting, the more likely you are to win over the person on the other end. Whether you consider yourself a good communicator, or a great one, let’s take a closer look at effective ways to improve your communication skills at work.
5 Ways to Improve Communication Skills in The Workplace
1. The Power of Effective Questioning
There are 4 types of questions that can help you strengthen your verbal communication skills in the workplace: yes/no questions, ‘W’ questions, opinion questions, and relational questions.
Asking effective questions can help you:
- build connections between you and your peers
- create a place for open discussion
- help with problem solving
- give others a chance to share opinions and ideas
You can learn a lot about someone by asking them questions about themselves, and you can strengthen your work group in the same way.
On the other hand, asking questions at work without a goal in mind can be counterproductive for everyone. Before raising a question, make it a point to consider the purpose or point of what you’re trying to ask for.
By improving your questioning techniques, you could spark a great conversation and strengthen your professional relationships at work, or even inspire an insightful brainstorming session with the rest of your team.
2. The Importance of Questioning Techniques
Now, let’s take a closer look at the 4 questioning techniques that can help you create more engaging conversations.
- Yes/No Questions
This is the simplest question format, as it requires the simplest answer. These questions usually only require a brief ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer in response, making it a closed-ended question.
A: “Is EFFYDESK’s online store open 24 hours?”
A: “Do you use a standing desk?”
The W Questions
Have you ever wondered how to ask questions to get information efficiently? You’ll want to try asking ‘W questions’.
These questions start with who, what, where, when, or why, and can be answered with a short sentence. These types of questions are also generally close-ended.
A: “Where is the best place to shop for a standing desk?”
B: “EFFYDESK.ca offers the best, high-quality electric standing desks in Canada.”
A: “Who should use a standing desk?”
B: “Anyone who spends hours on end working at a desk!”
W questions are an easy way to get quick answers, but you can also try to add a subjective (personal) element to make it about the other person’s opinion for a more elaborate response.
Example: “Where is the best place to shop online for a standing desk, and why?”
Pro Tip: Engaging conversations will always lead with open-ended questions. Oftentimes, following-up on W questions with “why or why not?” can lead to more elaborate responses.
- Opinion Questions
Opinion questions are subjective, and a great way to connect with people. When asking for someone’s opinion, you’ll most likely have a set of options for them to choose from.
B: “I like the L-Shaped Desk best!”
Opinion questions are great even outside of a set of options. Hearing someone’s opinion can help you expand your horizons.
A: “What did you think of the new Marvel movie?”
B: “It wasn’t my favourite.”
A: “Oh, why not?”
Pro Tip: Try not to bias your questions with your own opinion. “That new Marvel movie was awful, wasn’t it?” People are less likely to state their own opinion if you’ve already given yours. Keep it neutral!
- Relational Questions
These types of questions are great for relationship-building. These open-ended questions help you to connect with someone else.
Here are some examples of relational questions:
- “What do you like to do in your spare time?”
- “Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it?”
- “Tell me about your vacation!”
Pro Tip: It’s easy to ask these questions to someone you’ve already met, since you can recall prior information to build from. Meeting someone new for the first time? Pick a neutral topic and establish common ground for easy conversation.
3. Recap: How to Ask Effective Questions?
Let’s review how you can make use of the following types of questions for effective business communication. Armed with these tips, you’ll become a more productive worker and a better conversationalist in no time.Close-Ended Questions
- Be specific when you ask for information. It avoids confusion or the need to repeat yourself multiple times.
- Ask questions to clarify, even if you’re pretty sure of the answer. In a group setting, it can be helpful for others in the room.
- To foster more discussion, follow your close-ended questions with simple open-ended questions. “Oh, I see! Why do you think so?” is a simple way to deepen the conversation.
- Silence is golden – don’t shy away from it. With open-ended questions, sometimes people need a minute to ruminate on their answer.
- Listen to what the other person has to say. Thinking of your next questions while the other person is talking defeats the whole purpose.
- Ask questions that they will enjoy answering. It’s much easier to converse with someone when they like what they’re talking about.
- Sympathize with and recognize emotions before asking a question. For example, “you don’t seem too excited about this – what’s on your mind?”
4. Mastering the Art of Active Listening
When it comes to effective communication, non-verbal communication skills are equally as important as your verbal communication skills. Listening skills are essential to a successful workplace, whether you’re an employer or an employee.
Did you know that employees who feel heard at work are nearly five times more likely to deliver their best work? Team members who practice active listening are also able to hear, understand, and absorb what the speaker has said to them. This helps to establish trust and transparency between team members about the work at hand, and encourages team collaboration to get the job done efficiently.
5. Giving and Receiving Feedback in the Workplace
Now that we’ve covered both verbal and non-verbal communication skills in the workplace, what are the best ways to give and receive feedback at work?
In order to give quality, constructive criticism at work, ensure that all parties are on the same page. With the task’s objectives in mind, you’ll be able to point your colleague or employee in the right direction to help them meet their goals. Constructive criticism builds rapport among team members, leading to increased employee engagement and improved productivity.
When receiving feedback, it’s important to assess how you can apply the comments to improve your performance. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask for further direction on how you can improve. Practicing healthy coping mechanisms and positive affirmations can help to improve our confidence towards ourselves and our work, as well as to improve our abilities to manage stress.
Want More Ways to Work More Productively? EFFYDESK Can Help!
EFFYDESK is Canada’s leading office furniture company based in Vancouver, Canada. Knowing that our bodies are made to move, our ergonomic office furniture collection has helped 500+ offices and thousands of desk job workers across Canada implement proper ergonomics in the workplace to prevent the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Shop our signature Standing Desks, Office Chairs, StandMats, and Monitor Mounts designed to boost workplace productivity, so you can get more done, more comfortably.
Local partnerships and efforts to improve environmental impacts are also at the forefront of EFFYDESK’s values. The TerraDesk is a perfect example of the best ergonomic and eco-friendly sit-stand desk that's made in Canada. Each butcher block tabletop is handmade from 10,852 recycled chopsticks, reducing eco-waste to provide a greener future for our environment. 10% of proceeds from each TerraDesk purchase is donated to One Tree Planted in their efforts to plant trees across the world. As a leading sit-stand desk supplier, in collaboration with strategic partners like ChopValue, we’re building towards a zero-waste, circular economy by offering environmentally-friendly furniture for desk job workers all across North America.For more great reads on workplace efficiency and ergonomics, be sure to check out our FAQ page or browse the blog archive for other helpful articles on productivity and ergonomics in the workplace.