How To Become an Effective Communicator (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective communication can help a professional build strong relationships in a work environment and have a successful career. To learn verbal skills and techniques, it's important to practise them regularly and remain aware of other people's approaches. By learning fundamental information about how to become an effective communicator, you can select strategies that best work for you. In this article, we define this term, explain why strong conversational techniques are important, describe some job positions that require them, list the steps for how to increase your skills and provide some helpful tips for the workplace.

What is an effective communicator?

An effective communicator is an individual who conveys information clearly and listens to the input of other people. They typically know how to use language in a clear, direct manner and may try to use specific language to help a conversational partner understand their meaning. It's often important to these individuals to both assert their own perspective and stay receptive to the viewpoint of others. When listening, good communicators may use non-verbal communication or affirmative statements to show their engagement and attention.

Here are some additional characteristics of an effective communicator:

  • Contributes actively to their workplace: These professionals are often adept at conveying information to colleagues and listening to their needs, meaning they may conduct more tasks and become involved in varied projects.

  • Holds themselves accountable: When good communicators accept a task from a colleague or supervisor, they typically complete it on time or disclose any issues that arise unexpectedly.

  • Asks helpful questions: Efficient communicators clarify any information they need so they can better understand a colleague's perspective or supervisor's instructions.

  • Observes the traits of others: When having a conversation, these individuals can study body language and other non-verbal cues of another person to gain insight into their emotional state. As a result, they can better assess what information may be most helpful to them.

  • Knows how to simplify complex topics: Professionals with communication skills can typically discuss complex topics using terms their conversational can better understand, removing any field-based idioms or phrases.

  • Develops their own communication style: These individuals often can develop a unique conversational style, which may help others remember their ideas more distinctly. For example, they might have a certain sense of humour or method of telling stories.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Why is effective communication important?

Effective communication can help individuals foster positive working relationships with others, allowing a department to function more productively. Becoming confident in your ability to convey and receive information can increase your value to a team, as colleagues and supervisors often appreciate this trait. When a team has effective communication strategies, they can develop a close bond, improve the quality of their projects through sharing feedback and further a company's overall goals.

Related: Improve Your Nonverbal Communication Skills

Which job positions require effective communication?

Consider the following job positions that require effective communication strategies:

  • Public relations: Individuals in this profession monitor the relationship between an organisation and its audience. They often mediate interactions and research communication techniques to share information constructively.

  • Teachers: When managing a classroom environment, teachers understand how to communicate effectively with children at their developmental level. They also may teach communication skills to help children succeed in the future.

  • Psychologists: These professionals study communication techniques to address the mental health and emotional needs of their patients. They're often especially attuned to certain non-verbal cues to assess a person's emotional state quickly.

  • Food service: Restaurant servers and similar professionals often use communication skills to share important information about menu items with customers, like whether food has any common allergens. They might also ask clarifying questions about their food requests.

  • Medical doctors: Health care professionals often share critical information with each other about a patient's physical health to treat their ailments or injuries. It's important for a medical doctor to communicate effectively, so this information is both accurate and useful.

  • Technology support: Information technology (IT) experts and similar professionals often solve computer issues for colleagues and clients. To better ensure these individuals can understand a situation, technical support teams often provide clear steps to help them resolve the issue.

How to communicate effectively

Becoming an excellent communicator requires consistent practice. Follow these steps to develop your communication skills:

1. Understand your purpose

Take some time to reflect on your communication habits and strategies to see if there are aspects you might change. Then, determine your overall goals when interacting with different individuals by reflecting on typical day-to-day conversations. Knowing this information can help you plan effective strategies, including what method of speech to use. For example, if you deliver a lecture to a student in an instructive and persuasive way, you might help them recall information for a future exam.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

2. Identify your audience

Observe how other people communicate verbally to gain insight into their preferences, motivations and intentions. This approach can help you plan aspects of your interactions, increasing your confidence and the clarity of your language. For instance, a colleague who delivers short, quick sentences may prefer to receive direct information instead of anecdotes. It's also important to remember certain details as you plan, like what their professional status is and what type of relationship you have with them.

3. Prepare your knowledge

Try to understand a discussion topic fully before you engage in conversation. People you encounter daily may appreciate individuals who can offer more valuable insight and detailed information. To prepare for moments where you may require more prior research on a topic, it may be helpful to learn how to express this need politely and ask useful clarifying questions. This method can also be helpful when creating a classroom or work meeting presentation.

4. Learn active listening skills

Active listening involves a capacity to communicate your interest in a speaker's perspective and constructively respond. To practise active listening, consider using non-verbal cues like nodding, eye contact and leaning forward. If you listen more effectively without direct eye contact, it may be helpful to communicate this need to a conversation partner. You can also establish active listening using other methods, like a verbal confirmation or a question that encourages a speaker to provide more detailed information.

5. Study storytelling techniques

Use common narrative techniques to help you convey information in a logical and engaging way, whether you're delivering a few sentences or a longer explanation. Consider separating your material into three distinct steps during your next verbal or written conversation. First, explain why you're communicating about a topic or issue. Then, present your thoughts about the topic or plans to resolve an issue. Afterwards, discuss your results and any other clarifying information a colleague or supervisor might require.

6. Observe tone and body language

It may be helpful to observe how other people adjust their tone and body language in different situations, as you can learn new strategies to use in your own communication style. For instance, you might notice individuals use certain inflexions during a work meeting versus a discussion with a peer. If you're communicating via email or direct messaging, you may observe someone using written tone indicators or images to add an emotional element. Like verbal techniques, you might also use particular writing tools depending on a conversation's context.

Related: Understanding and Overcoming Common Communication Barriers With Examples

7. Respond to the needs of others

Practise using your observation and listening skills when offering services to colleagues or peers. People often value individuals who can understand their needs and provide helpful solutions. If you perform a task for another person, be mindful to ask them for specific instructions so you can best understand how to complete it. Afterwards, you can ask for contact information to ask questions if they arise in the future or provide updates on your progress.

Tips for communicating effectively at work

Here are some tips for becoming an excellent communicator in a workplace environment:

  • Speak confidently. Try using action verbs like evaluate or guide to enhance your professional language, helping you convey motivation and determination. You might also try remaining silent while preparing a response to others so you can speak more fluidly and logically.

  • Remain approachable. It may be helpful to show colleagues and supervisors that you're dedicated to effective communication. Consider leaving your office space open or updating an online workplace status during times you're available to converse with others.

  • Identify shared perspectives. Discovering a shared viewpoint or interest between you and a colleague can add some positive emotions to a workplace conversation, like a project update session or lunch meeting. When people connect with each other, they may communicate more effectively overall.

  • Use diplomatic strategies. If a workplace conflict arises, it's often helpful to address the situation immediately. Try listening to the perspectives of the involved individuals so you can propose a constructive resolution and address all concerns.

  • Manage your emotions. Be mindful of how you express different emotional states at work to help you stay present and focused. It may be helpful to recognise negative emotions as they occur, then address them outside of a workplace at a later time.

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