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Human Writes Tip Of The Week


February 27, 2017

 How to Avoid Communication Mishaps in the Workplace 


We communicate with loved ones, friends, coworkers and even strangers at the bus stop, but do you every stop to consider how effective we really are when communicating?  Are you clear?  Direct?  Respectful?  Empathetic?  Do you say exactly what you mean so that your message is conveyed in the manner n which you intended?  Does your body language match your verbal language?  Do you listen with the intent to understand?  Effective communication in the workplace helps managers and employees create productive and efficient teams.  It creates trust and reduces competition within or among departments - employees know their roles and know they are valued.

Here are a few examples of effective communication skills for the workplace:

  1. Be a good listener.  Listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply.  Being a good listener is the first step in becoming a good communicator.
  2. Be clear, direct and concise.  If you are unclear, indirect or ramble on, you are certain to lose your audience and your message.  To help with this, think about what you want to say before you say it.
  3. Body language.  Make sure that your eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice match the verbal message you are trying to convey.  A relaxed demeanor will make you approachable and encourage people to listen to you.
  4. Be empathetic.  Even if you disagree with the person, it is important to listen and understand their point of view.  Lean to disagree without being disagreeable.
  5. Be nice.  Kindness goes a long way in effective communication.  If you cannot say something nice, perhaps this is a good time to take a step back and be quiet.
  6. Talk to each other.  Technology has given us click-of-a-button speed and we love it.  However, some information is better understood in a face-to-face meeting.  Too often the intent of a message gets lost in translation when delivered electronically.  You cannot understand body language, tone, facial expressions, emotion, or attitude in an email.
  7. Be consistent.  Information should be conveyed clearly and consistently so that everyone is receiving the same necessary information it creates confusion and distrust.
  8. Have an open door policy.  Employers appreciate being able to not only address big problems with upper management, but also small issues.
  9. Be patient.  All people do not have the same communication style or preference.  Today's workplace is very multi-cultural and you have to be mindful of the cultural differences in communicating. 
  10. Provide feedback.  Develop ways to respectfully give and receive feedback.  Sometimes a simple "good job" goes a long way.


The Illinois Department of Human Rights' Training Institute offers a variety of trainings centered on reducing friction in the workplace by learning to communicate effectively.  Check out our website for a list of course offerings.. 


  For information on events and training, check out our Facebook and Eventbrite pages.