7 Ways to Communicate Effectively (Plus Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 31, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated May 31, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

Communicating with customers, employees, merchants, and investors is an essential business responsibility. Effective communication can ensure that everyone interacts in both a positive and a professional manner. Communication skills may also help you build trusting relationships and solve problems more effectively at work. In this article, we discuss the benefits of effective communication, provide methods for how to communicate effectively, and offer tips for improving your communication skills.

Why is learning how to communicate effectively important?

Developing ways to communicate effectively can have a variety of benefits, including:

Prevention and resolution of conflicts

Effective communication can help you prevent conflicts and solve problems in the workplace. Rather than creating a misunderstanding, people who communicate well often help their co-workers understand complex concepts. Communication skills can also help you ask thoughtful questions, which can elicit straightforward answers from managers and help you complete tasks efficiently.

Efficient collaboration and team building

Effective communication can help build better teams in the workplace. When team members actively communicate with one another, they often improve their collective negotiation, collaboration, and decision-making skills. These teamwork skills can help boost individual and team productivity rates.

Increased engagement

When team members understand how to best collaborate with each other, they may become more engaged with their work. Professionals can become more enthusiastic about their jobs and willing to take on additional responsibilities when they feel confident that their team supports them. This can ultimately lead to greater employee satisfaction and progress in the workplace.

7 ways to communicate effectively

Here are seven ways to communicate more effectively with other professionals or clients:

1. Communicate your availability

To communicate more effectively, you can tell clients, co-workers, supervisors, and vendors what time they can contact you. Technology gives organizations a significant opportunity to reach customers and fellow professionals in various ways. Remember to tell your professional network how to contact you through phone calls, emails, website instant chat features, or social media channels.

Effective communication with customers may take different forms than with your supervisors or co-workers. Customers may prefer a more traditional communication channel, such as speaking on the phone. To show you value your customers' time, it's important to return any missed phone calls promptly. Businesses typically respond to customers within 24 hours to ensure a positive communication experience.

2. Personalize each interaction

You can strive to build positive professional relationships by personalizing each interaction you have. While it's helpful to practise your responses to frequently asked questions, using scripted answers may make a conversation feel less genuine. Instead, try having authentic conversations by using positive language and focusing on helping others solve their challenges.

For example, if a customer is searching for a product that's out of stock, you could focus on providing positive information. Instead of saying the item isn't available, you might tell the customer that it's available at another store. Then you could offer to call the store and reserve the item for the customer or place an order for the item and contact the customer once it arrives.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set To Advance Your Career

3. Ask questions

To communicate effectively, try to ask more questions when interacting with others. Asking questions can help you learn more about other people or their ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. When possible, ask open-ended questions rather than questions that only require a yes or a no.

For instance, instead of asking if someone likes a product, you could ask them what they think about the product. This open-ended question gives the person you're communicating with an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. Asking this type of question can also help demonstrate your empathy and personal investment in their opinions. When people know that you have a genuine interest in their views, it can be easier to build trusting and meaningful business relationships.

Read more: 65 Icebreaker Questions

4. Be observant and look for nonverbal cues

During in-person interactions, you can look for nonverbal signals that someone may use while speaking or listening to you. Hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions can all offer clues about a person's current emotional state. When you're talking to someone on a phone or video call, you can also listen to their tone of voice to interpret what they're feeling. Noticing these types of nonverbal communication cues can help you adapt your communication style to best fit a variety of circumstances.

5. Offer empathy

Empathy is important for efficient communication with customers, vendors, co-workers, and supervisors. People often appreciate when others listen to and acknowledge their perspectives. To help someone solve a problem or address an issue, you can empathize with their circumstances and show that you care by offering your support and communicating your respect.

6. Monitor your stress level

Effective communication is typically positive and free of stress. While some social interactions may be challenging, managing your stress level can help you navigate the interaction in a positive and friendly way. If you need more time to plan your response, consider asking a few questions. If the interaction is emotional, you can also take a break and return to the conversation at a later time. A key aspect of effective communication is understanding your emotional state and knowing how to conduct professional interactions positively.

Related: 14 Ways To Start a Conversation (With Examples)

7. Communicate directly

You can communicate more effectively by using assertive language and actions. This can help others clearly understand what you want, need, or think. Expressing your thoughts or feelings in a direct and clear way can also encourage others to communicate in a straightforward manner. This can help you prevent conflicts, discuss challenging topics from an objective perspective, and develop friendly relationships in the workplace. To communicate directly, try using respectful language, conveying your ideas, and asking polite questions.

Tips for improving your communication skills

The following are actionable steps you can take to improve your communication skills:

Practise

One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to practise. Practising your communication skills helps you develop them in an active setting. As you practise effective communication, you may begin to feel more comfortable interacting with all types of people in a variety of settings.

Consider practising with friends, family members, or other people you trust. You can ask them for feedback about the strategies you used to communicate. Then, try applying that feedback as you practise communicating with your internal professional connections, such as your manager, supervisor, or co-workers. Finally, you can apply what you learned to have effective conversations with your external connections, such as clients, customers, vendors, or suppliers.

Take classes

You can enrol in communication courses offered online, through a professional association, or within your organization. A variety of courses can help you learn about communicating more effectively in the workplace. You could take classes on topics such as customer service skills, networking, or teamwork. You can view developing your communication skills as an ongoing learning process that you can continually engage in throughout your career.

Make quality a top priority

While you may interact with many people during your workday, it's helpful to prioritize the quality of your interactions over the quantity of them. You may develop effective communication skills more quickly if you focus on having a few successful interactions rather than many adequate conversations per day. Try to ensure that you give each person your full attention by listening actively, asking questions, and helping them solve problems.

Related: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Maintain authenticity in your conversations

Being authentic in your conversations with other individuals can help them respect you as a leader and a team player. Authenticity means you show genuine interest in and commitment to having a successful interaction. When people feel you're truly interested in their opinions or concerns, they're more likely to trust your problem-solving abilities and approach you with future questions.

Listen actively

Actively listening to someone else's concerns, questions, or opinions is a crucial part of effective communication. When you pay close attention to what others say, it can help you offer useful advice, provide useful solutions to problems, and ask thoughtful questions. When someone's talking, try to focus on what they're saying rather than how you plan to respond.