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How Can We Communicate Better At Work?

Have you ever received or given ambiguous instructions? Do

you always provide information through memos or other written communication?

Are poor cooperation, lower productivity, tension, gossip and/or rumors

the results?

Experience shows that there are many ways we can enhance our communication

skills. For the next 30 days try some new techniques and follow

the tips for good communication listed below and see the difference!

Communication is a two-way process. The speaker gives information

and the listener provides feedback. If the listener does not provide

feedback, then the speaker must ask for it. Example: As the

listener, paraphrase what you hear the speaker saying or ask questions

to clarify. If the speaker asks for feedback, he/she might say, Awhat

are your thoughts on this proposal?

Understand that not everyone is going to agree with you. Respect

other people’s ideas.

Communicate purposefully. Think about what you want to convey

and ask yourself if your message is clear. Ambiguity is generally

caused by failure to be specific. Example: Instead of

saying, I need this report next week, say what you really mean,

AI need it Monday morning. In the first example, the employee

may operate under the assumption that any time next week is fine, but will

fall short of your expectations when the report is not completed by Monday


Be reliable. Managers and employees who lack credibility fail to

create open lines of communication and inhibit the growth of

trust. For example: If you say you are going to

do something by a certain date, do it. If something beyond your control

interferes with accomplishment of the task, tell the person before the

due date to avoid catching them off guard.

There is no substitute for face-to-face communication with employees.

Written communications such as memos, electronic mail and posting items

on a bulletin board are not as successful as personal contact even though

they are all effective means of communicating some types of information.

Really listen to your employees and colleagues; acknowledge their input

and show respect when they speak. People tend to feel more a part

of the team and will be more productive. Example: Ask questions to

show your interest and acknowledge feelings.

Providing current information to employees helps them to feel like an integral

part of the organization. Withholding information fosters distrust

and allows rumors to perpetuate.

The following examples provide you with tips to improve your communication

skills and cites examples of barriers to avoid in your communication with



1. Listen attentively

2. Ask questions and invite questions

3. Provide feedback to others and ask for feedback

4. Be tolerant of others

5. Be honest

6. Demonstrate respect by being open

7. Clarify your own ideas before communicating

8. Communicate purposely – Focus on your real message

9. Consider the timing, setting, and social climate

10. Acknowledge the other person’s perspectives and explain your own perspectives

11. Consult others when planning to communicate

12. Be cognizant of your tone, expression, and receptiveness

13. Demonstrate empathy

14. Have a sense of humor

15. Look for a common goal (s)

16. Ensure that your actions support your communications

17. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

18. Communicate not only for today, but for the future as well


1. Poor listening skills

2. Lack of interest

3. Lack of trust

4. Stereotyping

5. Power struggle

6. Intimidation

7. Inability to understand the other party or no desire to

understand the other party

8. Avoiding the issues

9. Mechanical problems – inadequate PA system, problems with

integrative technology

10. Language barriers

11. Low self-concept

12. Defensiveness

13. Inaccurate assumptions


Managing Editor In business since 1996, is the world’s leading mediation and dispute resolution website with over 7 million annual site visitors. serves as a bridge between professionals offering dispute resolution services and individuals and businesses needing those services. was awarded the 2010 American Bar Association Institutional Problem Solver of… MORE >

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