Whether you are an employer or an employee, good business communication skills in the workplace are very important. Clear communication can increase productivity and understanding among team members or between team members and the company.
Maintaining motivation, a positive attitude, active listening and empathy towards other colleagues helps to create stronger bonds. These tools will also be useful to avoid or solve conflicts that may arise.
- We spend a lot of time at our workplace, and we need to communicate with the rest of the team. To build a good working relationship, we need to apply the right skills.
- Learning how to communicate, how to pay attention properly and how to motivate our colleagues is crucial for effective work.
- Relevant factors are not only how we communicate, but also the ways we communicate and the tools we use specifically for the work environment.
What you need to know about essential business communication skills
Communication between people is very complex, as there are many barriers that can prevent the message from reaching the listener properly.
There may be physical barriers, such as noise or distance, or physiological barriers (such as a case of a cold). And here we will focus on all of those that are within our reach and can be improved.
What are essential business communication skills?
Good communication skills are essential for creating and strengthening bonds between people. In the workplace, it can make the difference between the success and failure of a project.
They can result in increased productivity, and being more effective and efficient, but it also means an increase in the morale of each member of the team.
How to improve business communication skills?
We tend to give more importance to other types of skills, such as those acquired through training or experience, which are based more on how to do and organize the work or on specific knowledge of the subject.
And of course, they are very important, but we must also pay attention to the way we communicate and how this influences our job and our working relationships.
Learn to listen actively
We often focus on our own monologue or our own thoughts and do not pay enough attention when we are spoken to. This negatively affects our relationships.
But active listening is far from just listening. It is based on the following elements:
- Pay attention to both verbal and body language
- Paraphrase, i.e. summarize what has been said, highlighting the most relevant parts
- Give signals that you are listening to the other person, such as nodding your head
- Respect the silence in the conversation
- Do not get distracted by anything else, for example, your cell phone
- Do not reject the emotions of the other person
- Be open-minded
- Ask for clarification if something is not understood (1)
Choice of communication channels
The way we communicate is fundamental, taking into account that what we want to transmit reaches the other person correctly. But we must also pay attention to the channels of communication we use.
Nowadays, we have a lot of different channels of communication, such as calls, instant messages or e-mails. Depending on the situation or the person you are addressing, one or the other will be more appropriate.
There are other tools that are designed for communication between different departments of a company, or even for members of the same group.
They are very useful for fluid communication when working on a project since unexpected events can occur, and they need to be solved quickly
Improve writing skills
It is essential to transfer these communication skills into writing too, for better communication and correct message delivery. We must know when to use formal or colloquial language.
Practice is necessary in order to develop these skills, as in any other field. Here are some recommendations to improve your written communication:
- Taking notes during meetings
- Organizing project information and materials
- Using didactic writing resources
Motivate others in the workplace
Motivation is what keeps us working towards a goal, so it is essential in a team. If we transmit this feeling to our colleagues, listening to their ideas and valuing them, they will be more participative and feel more involved.
This term refers to asking our colleagues, even superiors, about our communication skills.
Constructive criticism helps us to improve communication and our relationship with other staff.
The most important essential communication skills in the workplace
Now that we know the importance of these communication skills and how to improve them, let’s see which of them are more relevant.
We know assertiveness as a form of communication where we express our ideas and opinions or make suggestions in a clear but respectful way.
We tend to keep quiet about what we want to say or do it aggressively. If we learn to communicate assertively, we will do so without reaching either of these two extremes (2).
The attitude we have towards the events of our daily lives is in our own hands. Our attitude at work will affect both the work we are doing and the people we interact within the company.
Whether it is due to a lack of motivation or not having clear objectives, our attitude becomes negative and disinterest takes over us. That is why we advise you to follow the above guidelines to be more comfortable in your job.
Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes can help us understand the thoughts and actions of others. An empathetic person can be recognized by being honest, having the ability to listen to others and understanding another person’s thoughts and experiences.
The benefits of empathy at work are:
- Emotional attunement: relationships are more fluid, increasing productivity
- Objectivity: prejudices and assumptions are eliminated
- Consolidation: allows relationships to be stronger
- Greater conflict resolution: understanding the other makes it easier to reach an agreement
We are not aware of everything we express through our bodies. Our posture, facial expression and eye contact give a lot of information to other people.
We can also pick up messages through the nonverbal communication of others. Below you will find the most common ones that can help you understand others.
|Eye contact||If maintained for a long period, it could mean that the person is lying. On the other hand, if he/she looks sideways, it would mean boredom.|
|Touching the nose||The person could be lying or angry.|
|Tone and volume of voice||If it is low and solemn it could mean sadness, when both are low it could mean disinterest and if the volume is medium-high and spoken quickly it could indicate nervousness.|
|Nodding the head||Shows interest and agreement|
|Crossed arms||It ignifies rejection or disagreement, although depending on the context it could indicate that the person is simply cold.|
Nonverbal language can provide us with a lot of information, but we must take into account other factors such as context and environment to interpret them correctly (3).
Clarity and conciseness
We will apply this both when we express ourselves orally or in writing. As we have mentioned before, improving our communication skills at work will enable us to express our ideas more clearly.
Be clear about what you want to communicate and avoid repetition. Use short sentences and eliminate unnecessary words so that it is easy to understand.
This is an important point when working in a team. We will agree more or less with some people’s ideas, but we always have to express ourselves with respect.
Using patience to remain calm and letting others speak without interrupting them, even if we do not agree with their speech, are recommendations to keep in mind.
Many of the skills we have mentioned in this article are closely related to each other, and most of them can be included in other areas of our lives. Often, it is the lack of communication that leads to misunderstandings and arguments.
Let’s be more objective, keeping in mind that our point of view is only ours and that, sometimes, it is necessary to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to understand them a bit better. And let’s be clearer and more respectful to everyone.
1. Hernández Calderón Karen Andrea, Lesmes Silva Anggy Karina. Active listening as a necessary element for dialogue. [Internet] Revista convicciones, 2018 [cited 2022]
2. Aguilar Morales Jorge Everardo. Assertive communication. [Internet] Organizational behavior management consulting, 2019 [cited 2022]
3. Cestero Mancera Ana Mª. Nonverbal communication and effective communication. [Intenet] Universidad de Alcalá, 2014 [cited 2022]