17 Communication Techniques For Professional Success

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Learning how to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, like colleagues, supervisors, clients and vendors, can help you build lasting professional relationships and advance in your career. There are many techniques you can use to engage with others in a respectful and informative way. If you are interested in improving your communication skills, learning some popular techniques can help you achieve this professional goal.

In this article, we explain why communication techniques matter in the workplace and describe 17 techniques that can help you in your career.

Why Are Communication Techniques Important In The Workplace?

Learning to use different communication techniques can help you achieve a variety of professional goals, including:

  • Connecting with people from other cultures and countries

  • Developing strong professional bonds with your colleagues

  • Collaborating effectively on projects

  • Building a positive reputation in your industry

  • Becoming a strong candidate for a leadership position

  • Helping members of your team improve their work processes

  • Leading employee reviews

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

17 Communication Techniques For The Workplace

Here are 17 methods you can use to improve your communication with colleagues, supervisors, clients and vendors:

1. Identify others' communication styles

When you are communicating with colleagues or supervisors, you might get to know them well enough to identify their preferred communication style. While some colleagues prefer casual communication, others might prefer a more formal style. They may also prefer different modes of communication. For example, your team member might prefer a chat tool, while your supervisor prefers to communicate via email. Knowing how to communicate with others can help you have more productive conversations with them.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

2. Use others' preferred names and titles

By learning what your colleagues, clients and vendors prefer to be called, you can form a relationship with them based on mutual respect. This can make your conversations with them productive and enjoyable. For example, using a client's preferred name and title can help you retain their business.

3. Prepare before speaking or writing

While you might not prepare for a casual chat with a colleague, you can prepare for more formal meetings and emails. Creating a list of speaking or writing points can ensure that you remember all the key points that you plan to communicate to your audience. Consider creating a list of questions that your audience might ask you in response to your statement so you can provide more information in the email or speech.

4. Practice giving feedback

Supervisors and team leads often evaluate team members and provide constructive criticism to help them improve. Giving feedback effectively requires tact and clarity, so it can be helpful to practice giving feedback before you do it. If you are a new supervisor or team lead, consider writing down your feedback for team members and practising delivering it to a colleague or other manager. Your listener can give you tips on your tone and word choice.

Related: A Step By Step Guide On How To Give Feedback (With Examples)

5. Give others time to respond

While you might want an immediate response to an email or voice message, giving the other person time to respond can ensure that your conversation remains productive. Some questions require more time and effort to answer than others. Consider specifying how urgent a request is in the message you send. For example, you might ask for a response by the end of the day for an urgent question and give your recipient until the end of the week for a less urgent one.

Related: 20 Examples Of Feedback In The Workplace (With Examples)

6. Listen actively

Active listening is a key part of an effective communication strategy. When you listen actively, you take time to comprehend the other person's talking points and acknowledge them. You might paraphrase what they say to make sure that you understand their perspective. This can be particularly effective in verbal conversations because it gives the other person a chance to correct any misunderstandings.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

7. Ask open-ended questions

An open-ended question allows the other person to explain their situation or opinion in more detail. Using this tactic in communication can help you collect more information before responding with your own perspective. For example, if you are talking to a colleague about a client account, you might ask them open-ended questions about their experience with the client to give them the opportunity to tell you what they think is most important about the account.

Related: What Are Open-Ended Questions? A Complete Guide

8. Set response expectations

For emails and voicemail, it can be helpful to tell your audience when they can expect to receive a response from you. Providing clear expectations for response times can keep the other person from feeling impatient while they wait for a response from you. For example, you might use an auto-response feature on your email that sends a message to anyone who emailed you. The message might thank them for contacting you and tell them that you plan to respond to their email within 48 hours.

9. Choose a method that fits your message

In many workplaces, you can choose whether you want to send an email, leave a voicemail or speak to a colleague personally about a certain topic. If you can choose the communication method you use, consider the content of your message when deciding how to convey it. For example, as a supervisor providing constructive criticism for a team member, it might be appropriate to speak to them in person so they can ask you questions. If you are a sales representative providing a pricing contract for a client, you might use email to leave a copy of the information.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

10. Take notes when others speak

Depending on the type of conversation you are having in the workplace, taking notes can benefit you and the other people in the conversation. While you might not take notes during casual chats, you can write down key points when you are discussing work-related matters. That way, you can remember what you discussed.

11. Recognise others' perspectives

Understanding that your colleagues and clients have different perspectives from yours can help you learn from their experiences and build positive relationships with them. For example, you might work in a team with a colleague from another industry. While you might have a lot that you can teach them, remember that they have a unique perspective. They can teach you about new industry trends and share their perspective.

Related: Note-Taking Skills (With Examples And Steps To Improve Them)

12. Be empathetic

Empathy is the practice of understanding other people's feelings. Using empathy when you communicate can help you resolve conflicts and help people. For example, if you are a customer service representative, you might empathise with clients who call because they are having an issue with a product or service. By recognising and validating their feelings, you can connect with them and encourage them to accept a solution.

Related: Empathic Skills: Definition And Examples (With Tips)

13. Understand your audience

Learning about the different audiences you encounter during your workday can help you choose effective language and use an appropriate tone when you communicate with them. For example, if you are speaking to colleagues, you might use industry-specific language, while you might use more general terms when speaking with customers. Customising your message to your audience ensures that they understand what you are saying to them.

14. Be concise

Concision is the practice of stating your points simply so that your audience can understand them easily. Communicating concisely in speech and writing can help you avoid misunderstandings and show your audience that you respect their time. If you have several points to express to your team or the company, consider writing separate emails, focusing on one topic for each message. By distributing your messages in small, focused pieces, you can help your audience understand and remember your points.

Related: Written Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

15. Check your facts

One way to reduce misunderstandings when you communicate is to check information before you share it with others. You might ask a colleague to check your calculations or attempt to verify a fact before you send an email or start a meeting. By sharing accurate information, you can build trust with your audience, which can lead to more productive communication.

16. Set reminders

If you plan to communicate with someone about a specific topic or issue, you might set an electronic reminder to send them an email or call them. By planning your communication in advance, you can ensure that you remember to contact the people involved in a situation. For example, if you are a customer service team lead, you might set a calendar reminder to call certain members of your team to check on important client accounts.

17. Ask for advice

One way to improve your communication skills is to ask for feedback from your colleagues and supervisor about your communication style. Depending on your job, you might ask your supervisor to read emails or listen to client calls and provide constructive criticism so you can improve your skills. For example, if you are a customer service representative, you might ask a senior member of your team to listen to a taped call with a customer so they can help you improve your conflict resolution skills.

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