Workplace communication

5 Ways to Improve Workplace Communication Skills

21st October 2022

In whatever industry you work, or intend to launch a career in, having good communication skills are essential for your success. When preparing to embark on our careers, we often don’t pay much attention to soft skills, however the ability to effectively communicate is one of the most important soft skills that employers look for in their candidates.

Workplaces are changing rapidly, with many companies embracing hybrid or fully remote working arrangements, and with these changes come adjustments to the ways we communicate with colleagues and clients. In the increasingly digital world, the ability to communicate well over email and social media is now just as important as in person and telephone communication.

These skills can be developed through practical participation in the workplace, and as you progress through education. At Anglia Ruskin University, all of our courses offer you a chance to develop your communication skills, and if you wish to take your communication abilities to the next level, then you we also offer a specialised Applied Linguistics with TESOL course that will give you a greater understanding of communication and how language is used around the world.

If you’re looking to improve your workplace communication skills, then here are just five ways that you can become a better communicator and advance your career.

1. Level Up Your Listening

One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to ensure that you know how to listen to others. Honing your active listening abilities will help you take in information and be more approachable to others. 

Active listening techniques include not interrupting and paraphrasing points made and applying these to both open ended and specific questions in order to demonstrate your understanding of what has been said. By demonstrating your active listening skills in an interview setting, you’ll demonstrate to a potential employer that you possess this sought after soft skill – a far better tactic than telling them that you possess the skill. 

Try your best to make eye contact with the person who is speaking, and where possible keep your attention focused on them. Making notes is of course a good idea, but try to avoid doodling on your paper – if the person speaking notices, they may assume that you’re not listening to them. 

By making a conscious effort to listen, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak, you’ll find communication much easier and become someone that people want to engage with. And remember, it’s okay to ask for a little time to consider what has been said, this way you will demonstrate that you’ve paid attention to the other person and want to absorb the information. 

2. Practice Written Communication

One of the most widely used forms of communication in the workplace is email, so having a good email manner is now just as important as having a good telephone manner. 

Mastering written communication can be a challenge, and if you struggle with spelling and grammar, then it may be worth investing in tools that check your phrasing, tone of voice and sentence structure. 

One of the best ways to improve your writing is through practice, and the academic writing you complete on our distance learning courses will provide you with a grounding in formal writing. 

Proofreading is essential, not only for emails, but for anything you write, so reading over everything before it goes to a colleague or client will not only ensure that it’s free from errors, but make sure that the tone you’re hoping to convey comes through in your words. When editing your writing, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just be editing to catch spelling and grammar mistakes, you should also be editing to ensure that the point you are trying to make is as clear as possible. 

Speak to your employer and find out if there are any tone of voice or style guides that you should keep in mind when writing internal and external communications.

3. Brush Up on Remote Engagement

Nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal communication, and learning to understand body language, pick up on queues, and develop an awareness of how you express yourself without words. In fact, research indicates that only 7% of all communication is verbal, a strong understanding of nonverbal communication is a vital skill to master.

There are three different ways that nonverbal communication and verbal communication interact: it can substitute verbal communication, it can reinforce verbal communication, and it can contradict verbal communication. It is essential, in the workplace environment, to try and avoid nonverbal communication that contradicts verbal communication. Your colleagues won’t appreciate mixed messages, and if you give the impression that you mean what you say, you’ll be a much more approachable communicator. 

When you understand different aspects of body language, you’ll be able to gain a better grasp on what people really mean. It’s also essential to evaluate your own body language. Make sure that your words and actions are aligned. Pay close attention to how you stand, where you place your arms, whether you’re making eye contact with the person you’re talking to. These simple adjustments will make you much more approachable and easier to communicate with. 

Our body language informs others in the workplace what kind of colleague and employee will be, so ensuring that you demonstrate positivity, integrity, and openness, along with other qualities that make you fit in with your company culture, will help you succeed in your career.

4. Be Aware of Body Language

Engaging with colleagues and clients in a remote setting is more common than ever before, and a study by the Office of National Statistics has found that the number of people undertaking a hybrid work arrangement post-pandemic has risen. Many companies have made the decision to operate a  work from home or a hybrid system, meaning that employees need to rely on email, video, and telephone communication methods. 

It can be difficult to learn how to work remotely, especially if you’re coming from a traditional college or university environment. However, working and communicating remotely involves a unique set of skills that differ from the traditional office based environment.

While remote working has numerous benefits, particularly to our work life balance, there can sometimes be a disconnect between employees that would traditionally share office space. There are, however, habits that you and your coworkers can get into that will make remote working a little more personable, thus improving your overall communication skills. Consider using instant messaging features that come with most email service providers, this can replicate the more open and friendly dynamic of casual conversation, rather than communicating solely through formal emails – you could even use it to greet your team with a friendly ‘good morning’ every time you log on for the day. Similarly, instead of relying on phone calls with your clients and colleagues, opt for video calls instead. This way you’ll come across as a much more approachable person, making future communication easier. 

With a distance learning course, you’ll benefit from the opportunity to learn effective remote communication skills before you launch your career at a company that relies heavily or even exclusively on the work from home model. The courses that we offer at Anglia Ruskin University are studied remotely – with a few exceptions for the occasional temporary residential – and thus the communication that you make with your tutors and peers will be undertaken online. 

Our students and staff use a Learning Management System, Canvas to submit assignments, offer feedback, and collaborate on projects – and this will give you the opportunity to to master the art of remote communication.

5. Learn How To Take Feedback

Taking feedback gracefully, and learning how to effectively put it into action will not only help you to improve your performance, but will also demonstrate that you’re committed to growing your career and the company as a whole. 

Make an effort to seek out feedback from your colleagues and employer in order to show that you’re committed to self-improvement. While much of this feedback will probably be positive, it’s important to prepare yourself for negative – but constructive – feedback. Remember that feedback, whatever it may be, is an opportunity to grow your career and improve your abilities and skills. 

At Anglia Ruskin University, our tutors will provide you with constructive feedback on your assignments, that will not only help you to improve your work, but give you the chance to practice receiving your feedback gracefully and putting it into action. 

As you progress through your career, particularly if you’re moving up to management positions, it’s also essential that you learn how to give appropriate feedback. This means that your criticisms should always be constructive, allowing your team to clearly see how they can improve for the future. Giving feedback also includes regular praise for a job well done, and simply affirmations such as ‘well done’ or ‘thank you for doing that for me’ are a great way to increase motivation and demonstrate your appreciation. 

Workplace communication skills are one the most important things that we need to master in order to grow our careers. These skills are often picked up throughout our lives, but there are steps you can take, such as mastering transferable skills on one of our distance learning courses, that can help you along the way. 

By improving your workplace communication skills, you’ll also help to build loyalty and increase morale in the relationships that you have with your colleagues, contributing to a better working environment. If you want to learn more about our distance learning courses, and how they can help you improve your workplace skills, contact our team today.