Good communication is essential in all aspects of our lives. Whether in our school or at work, it is important that we maintain a fluid communication to succeed in each of our tasks.
Effective communication is essential for things to run smoothly because if we reach an understanding with our work team, we will be able to perform better and accomplish individual and common goals. Below you will find valuable information about effective communication at work.
- Communication is important in any area of our lives, but you have to learn to communicate effectively to perform better at work.
- Good communication depends on meeting your work goals and building relationships that will help you develop your career.
- An organization that has effective communication is more motivated to achieve common and individual goals for the good of the entire work team.
What you should know about effective communication at work
Communication is a sharing, since its purpose is to establish a relationship between people, promote understanding and generate bonds. We are all communicators by nature and, the most important thing is to understand that everything communicates, what we say and what we do not say. Therefore, effective communication is a pillar within human relations (1).
Learning to communicate effectively can open up better job opportunities, prepare you for a raise or a promotion that will boost your career. On the other hand, if you don’t know how to communicate well, you can be the victim of misunderstandings that could lead to dismissal, mistreatment with colleagues and bosses, or unemployment.
What is effective communication?
For communication to exist, there must be understanding. Without this last element it is impossible to establish a satisfactory communicative process. Therefore, a combination of verbal and non-verbal elements must be sought within a conversation to achieve objectives and fulfill purposes.
Effective communication is when there is such understanding and therefore, a purpose can be fulfilled, be it individual or collective.
It turns out to be a fundamental part of any organization, since it fosters a good work environment with motivated workers who love their work. On the contrary, when this does not occur, there is a tendency to procrastination or inefficient work performance.
What are the elements of effective communication?
Let us remember the elements that must exist within the communicative process:
- Sender: the person or group of people who emit a message.
- Receiver: the person or group that receives and decodes the message.
- Code: all participants in the communicative process must share the same code for there to be understanding.
- Channel: the means by which the message is shared (in person or through different technologies).
- Message: everything that is to be transmitted, whether it is information, data, feelings, perceptions, moods, etc.
Ideally, all messages transmitted should be clear and concise for effective communication to take place. Establishing internal communication channels is the key for the whole organization to be clear about the tasks, objectives and goals to be fulfilled.
This also allows establishing a differentiation of roles and functions that will help reduce ambiguity in the work team, thus achieving a clear direction for the development of activities and the achievement of objectives.
How to communicate effectively at work?
In organizations, effective communication enables satisfactory interactions among all team members. Having good organizational communication means having a team willing to work for the common good, which also translates into successful processes (2).
In an organization, there are different communication channels such as meetings, emails, text messages, calls, assemblies, among others.
However, we will focus more on face-to-face communication channels that allow combining verbal and non-verbal communication.
You will realize that most of the interactions you have with your coworkers on a daily basis can be very meaningful and help you perform better and enhance your interpersonal relationships.
Correct use of nonverbal communication
Non-verbal communication provides relevant information about what is being said. Thanks to it we can know what is the mood of our interlocutor, their feelings or concerns.
It is important to pay attention to our own nonverbal communication as well as to that of others. The following is a list of the most important types of nonverbal communication and their characteristics:
- Posture: conveys a person’s confidence regarding a conversation. Always maintain an upright posture and hold your head high to convey confidence.
- Gestures: they can help to adapt to the conversation and to regulate it. Care should be taken with gestures towards others so that there are no misunderstandings.
- Proxemics: refers to the space between a sender and receiver.
- Paralanguage: refers to the way we speak. It has to do with the tone, volume and clarity of our voice.
- Appearance: it has to do with the way we dress, the accessories we use that represent our identity and personality. All these tools also communicate something.
Keep a good attitude in front of everyone
Although we all have good and bad days, don’t let negative situations change your attitude towards your coworkers. Always remain cordial and respectful when dealing with requests you have to make to others.
Try to pay attention to whoever addresses you, make eye contact and avoid other activities while they are talking to you.
A good attitude will eventually bring you many advantages, as people will hold you in good esteem and will be more likely to help you when you need someone to lend you a hand. On the other hand, always try to have an honest and upfront attitude, and if there is a situation that makes you uncomfortable, try to resolve it without going beyond the limits of cordiality.
Don’t have meaningless meetings
Surely, it has happened to you that you have attended meetings designed to solve important issues for the organization, but at the end of the day, they have served for nothing. This usually happens due to the lack of clarity in the issues to be resolved and the absence of work plans.
To prevent this from happening, the ideal is to set objectives for each meeting. It is also important to establish an agenda and not to deviate from the topics discussed for anything in the world. When meetings achieve their objectives, team members will not feel that they have wasted their time.
Please remember that this is also an opportunity to motivate your team and bond with each member, so allow everyone to participate in the meetings by expressing their opinions and contributing ideas.
Keep an open mind to new possibilities that come from the ingenuity of your co-workers. Encouraging everyone by taking them into account will always be fundamental for effective communication.
Express yourself clearly
Don’t be afraid to express yourself as precisely as possible about the different aspects of your job or what is expected of the work of others.
Always use a tone of voice that conveys friendliness and warmth.
Speak in a loud voice and avoid using crutches, as this will help you convey your message better. Remember that accompanying your message with elements of non-verbal communication will enrich the communication process by adding useful information for the receiver(s).
If you want a task to meet certain parameters and produce certain results, you should be as clear and precise as possible. Accept comments and suggestions from your collaborators and clarify any doubts that may arise in the process.
On the other hand, if you are the one who must follow someone else’s instructions, always be aware of their observations on your work. Ask all the necessary questions until you are clear on how to proceed and ask for help when necessary.
However, try to balance this last point by resolving most issues yourself, as this will save time and improve your productivity.
Teach by example
If words are not enough, the best thing to do is to demonstrate what you need. Giving examples of what you want others to do and accompanying them with visuals can enhance effective communication. This way you will make your instructions clear, reduce uncertainty and get better results.
Again, we want to emphasize that these tips are ideal for increasing the level of motivation of employees.
When they do not feel alone in their tasks and there is an environment of respect and constant learning, the achievement of goals and objectives tends to occur more frequently and easily.
Remember that if you have a leadership position you will have to be in a permanent decision making process, which includes designating tasks, giving feedback and showing how certain tasks should be performed. A boss or leader must solve problems, predict results and maintain a close relationship with the work team. Therefore, he/she leads by example (3).
Promotes a collaborative and respectful environment
Maintaining a pleasant work environment for all team members is an important part of effective communication, so make sure that all employees feel comfortable with your treatment. From your work area, you can propose ideas that improve the work environment and promote teamwork among all.
Respect is the fundamental pillar in any communicative interaction. Always be respectful with your peers, superiors or inferiors, this will indicate that you are a person with good values and others will give you the same respect in any circumstance. Another tip is to inform the proper authorities when something goes wrong within the group or when you do not feel comfortable with a specific situation.
Don’t forget intrapersonal communication
Intrapersonal communication is the communication you have with yourself. Knowing ourselves and expressing to ourselves the needs or problems we have can be as challenging as communicating with others.
However, reflecting on our own work and understanding our areas of opportunity and talents will give us a great advantage in communicating with others. Knowing how to express something to ourselves is the first step in expressing it to others.
Keep in mind that self-knowledge implies facing our mistakes, expanding our strengths and developing ourselves better as people. This will be reflected in our work and in the future, in the possibilities of moving up or taking our careers to another level (4).
Effective communication at work helps all members of an organization to feel at ease in the different areas where they must perform and, therefore, they can work in a better way to achieve common objectives and goals.
Communicating properly will reduce uncertainty within organizations and will serve to enhance the career of each worker. Since knowing how to express oneself well and make oneself understood can clarify doubts and correct mistakes, effective communication is a tool to achieve promotions or better visibility within the work environment.
1. Báez C, Effective communication. Inst. Tec de Sant Dom. 2000.
2. Huaylla K, La comunicación efectiva. Univ Priv San Juan Bau. 2021.
3. Viveros J, Leadership, effective communication and resolution. Of Int del Trab. 2003.
4. González C, La comunicación efectiva. Grup, Edit ISEF. 1997.