When you walk into work after a dreadful commute, sometimes the first thing we hear from our manager is, “Did you do … [fill in the blank]” Or, “when are you going to close that deal”? This is all too common and it’s never easy to communicate what you need at work. Especially if you want your manager to give you some space. However, sometimes the workload isn’t the issue, maybe it’s about feeling more included at work with coworkers, but you’re not sure what to say. 

So how do you communicate at work without feeling uncomfortable? Let’s get right into talking about how to improve communication skills at work, even with people you walk by every day but still don’t know their name.

Here are 6 strategies you can use to communicate better at work.

#1. Learn to manage your feelings. Give it 24 hrs to communicate if you’re frustrated. 

If you’re feeling anxious about a deadline or an error you made, and you feel the urge to have a conversation, take a step back, breathe, and find a better time to communicate. You’ll feel more calm, even thirty minutes later.

If you’re upset, stop and step back. Make it a habit to take a short break before continuing or starting a conversation.  If a colleague wants a response now, do your best to tell them you need a moment to think things over before you give an answer. Then focus on what you want the other person to hear to get your point across. 

wait to communicate

#2. Improve how you communicate at work by asking for clarity. 

Many things we say get lost in translation, so we need to ask for clarification so we’re not confused. Clarification makes it easier for you to understand what other people need which helps in reducing anxiety. When you have less anxiety you have a clearer mind to communicate your thoughts. 

Clarifying with people involves two things: non-judgmental questioning and asking for feedback. Here are some examples:

“I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re telling me. Can you give me more detail?”

“I don’t feel clear about the issue here.”

“Can you tell me more about what you mean?”

“So I can improve, can you give me examples?”

be prepared for work

#3. Prepare for what you’re going to say. You’ll feel more confident if you do.

When you’re prepared for a speech, an interview, or a work meeting you’ll react 100x better to the situation. When it comes to speaking up for yourself at work about an idea, prepare a presentation about why it’s a good idea and how it will work. If you want to finally talk to your manager about something else besides a spreadsheet, have a few conversation starters ready to go. 

Being prepared will help you feel more confident, however, preparation doesn’t mean memorization. Use preparation as a helpful tool and a basic guide.

#4. Build rapport at work with your manager and colleagues.

Learning to build rapport or in other words, create a bond with someone, especially at work is another great skill to master because it’s a great way to build valuable relationships. 

Creating rapport means gaining the trust of the person you’re talking to and one way to do this is by finding something in common. Humans are attracted to others who have similarities. If you can find that one thing where someone says, “me too” you’ve hit the conversational jackpot.  

According to Mindtools.com remember the Basics:

  • Be culturally appropriate.
  • Smile and Relax.
  • Remember people’s names.
  • Listen carefully and attentively.
  • Don’t outstay your welcome.

#5. Learn the secret of deep conversation. Small talk.

A lot of people hate small talk because they think it’s superficial. However, small talk is a skill that requires confidence and technique. Imagine skipping the small talk and going straight for a conversation about politics, family, or past experiences. The conversation wouldn’t last long and would be awkward.

Small talk can reveal a lot about who the other person is. Are they whiny, sad, happy, a positive, judgmental, or a potential friend or client. It’s all about using the information you have around you and in front of you to build the conversation. Remember, small talk is the entryway into having a good conversation with a coworker or manager. 

be a drama free zone

#6. Improve communication in the workplace by being a drama-free zone.

We all know the downer at work. The downer complains and always wants validation. Don’t be this person because a positive person pays dividends and directly impacts your life and future. If you’re a positive person people will look at you differently. People will look at you as a support system and an encouraging coworker. This will increase your chances of making friends in the office.

Summary

Being able to improve your communication skills at work increases your ability to achieve success. If you ever ask yourself the question, “why should I improve my communication skills at work,” let this next part sink in: 

Your ability to communicate effectively with others is the one personal skill that has the most impact on your job satisfaction, the potential of a promotion, and career success. Implementing these techniques into your daily conversations will help you become a more effective communicator at work. 

You’ll see a difference almost immediately once you learn and implement these strategies. This is how to improve communication skills at work!