Angie Henson - July 28, 2023

Strategies for Clear Workplace Communication (and What to Avoid)

Learn how to become an exceptional communicator at work.

Nothing influences a team’s success more than effective communication in the workplace. Any team’s performance will suffer if members engage in poor communication—no matter how smart or technically skilled they are. Yet in a Gallup poll, just 13% of employees felt their leaders communicate clearly—which doesn’t exactly set their employees up for success.

Let’s discuss how to enhance your team’s capabilities with effective workplace communication principles and techniques.

The Importance of Effective Communication

Effective communication in the workplace fosters close relationships and facilitates a strong project workflow. It also enables different departments to share crucial information. In such ways, good communication eliminates information bottlenecks and misunderstandings that can hinder goal achievement.

On remote and hybrid teams, people need to be especially diligent about communicating effectively. But good communication is equally important to teams that work in person. In either case, productivity and collaboration will soar when communication is flowing smoothly. Plus, teams will have a positive, supportive work culture. All of these factors don’t just enhance outcomes—they’re absolutely vital to organizational success.

Pop-up definition (for “effective communication in the workplace”):

Communication that clearly shares a message between the sender and recipient while maintaining a respectful tone.

Different Types of Workplace Communication

Teams communicate in more than one way. Let’s review four main types of communication—each of which is important to master.


Verbal communication plays a vital role in workplace communication. Language choices and tone of voice affect how others understand what we express.


Nonverbal communication and body language can also communicate volumes. If we’re slouching while making a big announcement, people will think we’re bored—and that it’s not very important.


Written communication can greatly affect a team’s workflow and relationships, too. Sloppy, inconsistent, or overly verbose communication can create confusion. Plus, it makes people look unprofessional or uncourteous.


Visual communication also has an important place in today’s workplace. This can take the form of clear charts illustrating project status, visually appealing onboarding modules, and a well-designed website. Polished visual communications help people to grasp key ideas.

Key Components of Effective Workplace Communication

Ultimately, effective communication is about conveying information and ideas that are properly received. All of these elements contribute to effective communication:

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Clarity and conciseness
  • Use of the right communication method
  • Nonverbal cues and body language
  • Feedback for others
  • Openness to constructive criticism

Effective communication in the workplace is a two-way street. In any interaction, each party should strive to be aware of their body language and show they’re paying attention when it’s their turn to listen.

When considering which communication method to use—such as a text vs. a phone call—ask yourself questions like these:

  • How quickly do I need a response?
  • How complex is the subject I’m addressing?
  • Do I need a written record of the communication?

A verbal exchange often works better than texts for complex topics, allowing you to gauge tone and understanding and answer questions. Following up with a written summary can help avoid future misunderstandings.

Barriers to Effective Communication—and How to Overcome Them

Good communication doesn’t always happen naturally. All of these barriers commonly undermine communication in the workplace:

  • Noise, distractions, and poor time management
  • Cultural differences, language barriers, and personal biases
  • Hierarchical structures, power dynamics, and emotional barriers

However, you can overcome these communication barriers with the right tools. For instance, cultural sensitivity training can reduce bias. And creating a quiet workspace with designated areas for collaboration and conversation will enhance the flow of ideas. Nurturing a culture of respect that values everyone’s ideas and discourages gossip will minimize unhealthy power dynamics.

Meanwhile, if people seem to be experiencing emotional challenges to communication, like feeling hesitant to speak up, talk one-on-one about ways they could join the conversation more often.

Best Practices for Enhancing Communication in the Workplace

Even in high-performing organizations, there’s always room for improvement. Follow these strategies to help your team communicate skillfully.

  • Establish clear expectations and guidelines. Explain them during a meeting and send a written list of points to remember.
  • Encourage open, honest dialogue. Share tips on giving constructive feedback to colleagues. Tell people that their opinions matter—and you want to hear them.
  • Provide regular opportunities for feedback. And ask people to share feedback with you and the company. Offer different methods of doing so, like surveys and a virtual idea box.
  • Utilize appropriate communication channels and tools. Select the method that will be most efficient for the purpose at hand. Schedule virtual meetings when necessary, but send an email if you just need to make a quick announcement.
  • Conduct team-building activities. They’ll build camaraderie and relationships, helping people feel more comfortable communicating openly.
  • Make time for lots of one-on-one interaction. Getting to know team members individually will strengthen trust and relationships as well. Plus, people often feel more comfortable raising ideas or concerns one on one.

Through these steps, you’ll help your team build exceptional communication skills, which will shine through in the results they achieve.

Debunking Common Misconceptions about Workplace Communication

With communication, people often prioritize quantity over quality, as though simply saying (or writing) more words will reduce misunderstandings. But that’s not the case. In fact, more concise communication usually gets the message across better. And constant communication can interrupt one’s workflow. So, focus on the quality of communication—making sure it’s clear, focused, and has an important purpose—not quantity.

Another common myth is that there’s one best way to communicate in every situation. In reality, personal preferences strongly influence which method works best. Some people may prefer a quick, impromptu video call to explain a new idea. Others may strongly prefer an email with a follow-up phone call or text exchange if needed.

Further, people often ignore the impact of nonverbal communication. In reality, if a person’s body language or expressions contradicts the words they’re saying, listeners will notice.

FAQs on Effective Workplace Communication

Here, we answer some common questions on communication that may be on your mind.

What is the role of emotional intelligence in effective communication?

Emotional intelligence helps us understand how others are feeling—and why—as well as how we are feeling and why. Work to build emotional intelligence by tuning into how the other person feels, paying attention to their tone, expression, and body language.

How can I handle communication challenges with remote teams?

Establish team communication norms for different purposes, and create a chart illustrating them. Ask individuals about their personal preferences, too. And hold virtual collaborative sessions to promote the exchange of ideas.

What are some tips for giving and receiving constructive feedback?

Be straightforward and maintain a neutral tone; avoid giving feedback when you feel upset. Allow time to listen to their response. And follow the “strive for five” principle: Give five pieces of “positive” feedback for every constructive observation.

In Conclusion

Now you know some great ways to enhance workplace communication—and overcome common challenges. As you leverage these strategies, you’ll notice teams collaborating more effectively, relationships growing stronger, and workplace culture growing more harmonious. For all of these reasons, effective communication in the workplace will help take your organization to the next level of success.


Tags: Business Growth Business Leadership

  1. About the Author:

  2. About the Author:

    As a Principal at Valesco, Angie Henson serves in key roles related to new investment origination, portfolio management, and investor relations. She directs the firm’s strategic acquisition planning and program management as acting head of research and business development operations since 2002. Angie holds a Bachelor of Science from Tarleton State University and a certificate in entrepreneurial studies from Southern Methodist University.

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