5 tips for effective communication in the workplace

Take 10 people, share a message with them, and you can guarantee that no two people in the group will have received, absorbed and processed the message the same way. Add in the complexities of most offices, and workplace communications can be a minefield of misunderstanding. When it comes to communicating more effectively at work, it’s best to strip back to the basics – here are five things to consider to strengthen your office communications style.

1. Let’s put this in our diaries: run better meetings

Wasted time and frustrated participants – few things disengage a team and derail productivity faster than badly managed and pointless meetings. On the flipside, well-structured meetings with clear purpose and results can be integral to communicating requirements, updates and achievements, and keeping projects and people on track. There’s not one magic bullet for meeting effectiveness, but here’s a hint – it’s all in the planning. Fascinatingly, very few people are ever trained in how to run a meeting properly, but it’s not hard to learn.

2. Personal delivery: take it offline

In a modern office environment, email or even tools like WhatsApp are the go-to; perhaps you use an in-house direct message system, or prefer to pick up the phone. While these are all helpful tools for day-to-day, they should not be the only methods used – particularly when the message is important and needs to land well. Before you type an all office update or conference in a couple of colleagues, ask yourself how important the message is. If the answer is ‘very’ then it’s time to go old school and arrange a face-to-face.

3. Understand your audience: stop, look and listen

To successfully communicate, whether in a group dynamic on one-on-one, it’s important to observe your audience and note the non-verbal cues that individuals are giving and sharing. They may be speaking volumes without saying a word. Understand how to read the room, and modify your delivery to suit. Communicating well is a two-way dynamic, and your audience’s body language will tell you a lot about how well you’re doing. Likewise, you may be unaware of the subtle ways that your body language is sabotaging your communications goals. While some body language is sub-conscious, much of our body language can be altered to suit the occasion and improve our communication. Simple actions like not crossing your arms can make a huge difference.

4. Get a handle on group dynamics: manage individual strengths

We all know that a well-structured team needs diverse opinions and a variety of backgrounds and skillsets. But it’s important to remember that for all of its potential benefits, a group dynamic can be challenging for some participants. From an extrovert just dying to be heard to a quiet achiever who’d rather not speak up, it’s important to draw all participants into the conversation. Quieting the louder voices so that everyone can have their say is tough, but it’s essential. Bringing everyone into the conversation is a key leadership skill.

5. The power of silence: embrace active listening

Knowing what to say is valuable, but knowing when to say nothing at all can be priceless. It’s not an easy skill to learn, but active listening can be an incredibly valuable communications tool in an office setting. Where to start? It’s all down to eye contact, verbal cues, body language and well-timed questions.

Do you struggle to get your point across in the workplace, or feel that your message consistently falls short? Clarity offers a range of workshops that focus on the most important – and common – communication challenges facing professionals in the modern workplace, from body language and the importance of personal brand, to communication skills and how make your meetings more effective. Get in touch with our team to learn more.


Amy Pepper
Senior Consultant

A senior communications and marketing professional with more than 15 years’ experience, Amy is passionate about helping her clients to tell their unique story. Amy’s experience ranges from work as a print journalist with The West Australian and independent publishers, to strategic brand guidance and award-winning campaign development and management.