Lost In Translation: Effective Communication At Work

by Mark

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​Effective communication is the very lifeblood of any successful workplace and, likewise, a breakdown in communication can demolish a business very quickly. Ability to communicate is one of the key soft skills for any aspiring manager, and yet many people struggle to convey their messages clearly and simply, or struggle with the tonal delivery. In today’s blog, we take a dive into communication and reveal eight effective strategies for mastering it.


The importance of communication

Whether you're collaborating with colleagues, presenting ideas, or resolving conflicts, strong communication skills are essential. By enhancing your communication abilities, you can build better relationships, foster teamwork, improve team engagement and boost productivity. And in the age of flexible working, this has never been more important.

A 2021 study from the McKinsey Institute about the future of remote work suggested that employees who feel included in more detailed workplace communication are almost five times more likely to report increased productivity.

Furthermore, in a recent survey conducted by Grammarly shows that 72% of business leaders believe that effective communication has increased their team’s productivity, and 52% of the 1,001 surveyed knowledge workers agree, with 56% claiming that it increased work satisfaction as well.

So what are the best approaches for effective communication?


1. Develop Active Listening Skills

As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, effective communication begins with active listening. To be an active listener, focus on the speaker, maintain eye contact, and avoid interrupting. Show genuine interest by nodding, using affirmations, and asking clarifying questions. Paraphrase and summarize key points to ensure understanding. Active listening builds trust, encourages open dialogue, and helps avoid misinterpretations. By valuing others' perspectives and insights, you create an environment conducive to collaboration and problem-solving.

2. Practice Clarity & Conciseness

Clear and concise communication is essential to avoid misunderstandings and ambiguity. Be mindful of your word choices and strive for simplicity. Organise your thoughts before speaking or writing, ensuring your message is structured and coherent. Use bullet points, headings, and subheadings to enhance clarity in written communication. When speaking, be mindful of your tone and pace, adapting them to the situation and audience. This clear and concise approach applies to all forms of communication – from keeping PowerPoint slides simple to delivering powerful verbal presentations to writing effective emails and reports.

3. Understand Your Audience

You should adapt your communication style, content and tone to suit the audience. Your language should be adjusted according to factors such as the level of technical understanding or current knowledge of your project in the room. Some colleagues prefer direct and assertive communication, while others thrive in a more collaborative and supportive environment. Furthermore, what are the questions your audience are likely to want answers to? And what are they looking to get out of this interaction? Putting yourself in your audience’s shoes will help you to better communicate to them, while tailoring your communication style to the preferences of others demonstrates respect and empathy and can minimise conflict.

4. Use Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal cues significantly impact communication. Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Maintain an open posture, make appropriate eye contact, and use hand movements purposefully to emphasize points. Additionally, be aware of others' non-verbal cues to gauge their emotions and reactions. Aligning your non-verbal communication with your spoken words creates a consistent message and fosters better understanding among colleagues.

5. Embrace Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is a powerful tool for growth and development. When providing feedback, focus on specific behaviours or actions, be objective, and offer suggestions for improvement. Similarly, when receiving feedback, adopt a growth mindset and remember to actively listen. Avoid becoming defensive and instead, seek clarification to better understand the feedback. By creating a culture of constructive feedback, you promote learning, skill enhancement, and continuous improvement within your workplace, as well as openness, trust and a sense of shared effort.

6. Invest in Technology

Many technology tools can enhance workplace communication – ranging from collaborative platforms and project management software to video conferencing tools and chat services. These can streamline communication channels and improve efficiency. Remember to use email etiquette and consider the appropriate mode of communication for different situations, as it might be face-to-face, phone calls, or written correspondence, rather than over a tech platform. Embracing technology allows for seamless communication, even in remote work settings, and enables efficient sharing of information and ideas – but it needs to be used wisely and with care. Some people who are great verbal communication can be terrible emailers, reminding us of our second point above – clarity and conciseness – but without coming across as abrupt.

7. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence

Develop self-awareness by recognising your emotions and managing them appropriately. Practice empathy and consider the emotions of others when communicating. Create a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves. By understanding and managing emotions, you can navigate challenging conversations and use them to build stronger relationships with colleagues rather than allowing them to descend into a mess of antagonistic emotions and conflicting ideas. Mastering emotional intelligence allows you to resolve conflict rather than create it.

8. Consider Training

In order to practice, and then really embed, the principles listed above, individuals or teams can often benefit from professional coaching – such as writing for business (which will cover clarity and conciseness and written communication etiquette), public speaking and presenting, or even a body language coach. Simply setting the time aside to listen, practice and fully comprehend these skills and approaches can make a significant difference to your, or your teams, communication performance.


With communication being so pivotal to the proper functioning of any organisation, it’s certainly worth investing time and resources into getting it right – be that on a personal level, or as part of company training. If implemented well, the learnings from communication training can create improvements in productivity and cohesion almost immediately. But even on a personal level, simply getting familiar with the above techniques and using them in your day-to-day work environment will improve your communication confidence, clarity and comprehension – and therefore your relationships with coworkers and stakeholders.