Improving Communication in the Workplace

Improving Communication in the Workplace

You probably already know that communication in the workplace makes everything better. It seems like there’s always room for improvement regarding how you communicate with others, yet you cannot pinpoint exactly where to start. Although the effects of poor communication can be easily sensed, communication is such a complex and intimidating topic that it might get you into the “freeze and hope for the better” mode. 

In software development, efficiently communicating with clients and colleagues is essential for success. So, this is the right article for you if you want to improve your skills or you are extremely familiar with phrases such as:


  • “The people on the client’s side don’t communicate with each other whatsoever”, or “Do they even talk to each other?”
  • “Nobody has a clue what’s going on.”
  • “X says we should do this thing, but Y says the total opposite. What do we do?”, 
  • “I had no clue that this was even a subject”, 
  • “I have explained this 3 times before.”,
  • “This meeting could’ve easily been an email.”
  • “I’m simply too anxious to speak up.”
  • “Public speaking… ugh”
  • “Who should I talk to?”

A brief description of communication

As per Oxford Languages, the definition of communication can be conveyed as follows:

“The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings. Means of sending or receiving information, such as phone lines or computers.The field of study concerned with the transmission of information.”

Types of communication

  • Verbal communication: Face-to-face/ 1×1 conversations, meetings, video calls, phone calls;
  • Written communication: Email, formal letters, reports/documentation, text messages;
  • Visual communication: Graphics and charts, screenshots/ screen recordings, presentations, images and photos, videos, symbols;
  • Non-verbal communication: Body language, symbols and gestures;
  • Formal communication: Reports, announcements, documents, alerts;
  • Informal communication: Casual conversation, social conversation.

How can you improve communication in the workplace?

Improving communication in the workplace is a combination of processes, a communication-prone culture, and skills that can be attained individually. By creating an environment where it can flourish, an organization can increase productivity and teamwork and promote employee well-being, leading to employee retention and revenue increase. On the other hand, as an employee in the said organization, improving your skills on the matter will lead to better relationships, reduced stress, and professional growth, to name just a few of the benefits. 

Organizational processes

The first step is to create a structure, a set of rules, processes, and a space that enables productive, safe, and open communication inside the organization. 

  • Roles and responsibilities

Ensuring that everyone’s roles and responsibilities are clearly defined will set the expectations for each collaboration member. Establishing and documenting the roles and responsibilities will eliminate confusion, and everyone will know who to contact for each topic. Being aware of each member’s accountability will improve productivity, eliminating time and effort waste.

  • Communication preferences and rules

Everybody prefers different kinds of communication, ranging from written emails/quick texts to 2-minute meetings or phone calls. When having 1×1 communication, consider the preferred communication channels and how you convey your message. Here are some examples of different communication styles:

  • Quick and concise — getting straight to the point with no time to waste;
  • Perspective-inclusive — including some background information and details on the matter;
  • Personal — sandwiching information between non-work related topics to create a human bond.

In the case of group communication, the manager must accommodate everyone involved and devise a solution that best suits the group.

  • Scheduling meetings 

Setting recurring meetings to check the pulse is a great time to discuss goals, progress, and status and see if there are any blockers, challenges, or issues that can be solved. Double-check that everyone involved or who could benefit from the discussion is invited.

  • Channels of communication

Establishing practical tools that can aid your conversation, creating channels for different topics, communicating frequently on those channels, and keeping the latest news on a roll will keep communication going, plus all the information will be stocked for future reference. Make sure that the tools you use are efficient and that you don’t have too many tools or channels, as it gets confusing and tiresome to use on a daily basis.

  • Continuous improvement

Improvements are a journey, and you can ensure their success by coming up with new solutions to improve the internal communication processes, analyzing the current situation, reacting proactively to communicated feedback, and setting up some success criteria and KPIs so you can clearly monitor your progress, setbacks, and milestones. Furthermore, offering communication training or workshops to develop soft skills across the company is always a great idea. 

  • Changes & Organizational Goals

Changes are stressful for everybody, but they’re also inevitable. You know what’s even more stressful? When a change takes place, and you have no idea about it. Communicating information about the upcoming changes and stating clear steps to follow will ease the way into the new destination. 

Similarly, keeping everyone in the loop regarding the organizational goals is a great way to create a reassuring, safe environment and it helps motivate employees who are more likely to be involved if the common goal is clear and appealing.

Environmental standards

The second point on our list that leads to top-notch communication in the workplace is being part of a culture that nurtures and encourages free, no-fear-of-judgment communication. In a company, it is the management’s duty to ensure that the environment is enabling everybody to express their thoughts and that it provides access to learning opportunities on the soft skills front, as well as on the technical side.

  1. Sharing is caring: being part of an environment where you can openly share your ideas and concerns. Additionally, encourages collaboration by creating a space where you can ask for help when needed.
  2. Feedback: It is a great practice to provide and receive constructive feedback as frequently as needed. You can read more on this topic in one of my previous posts.
  3. Allowing mistakes: Mistakes are natural, and even more important, they are the greatest way to learn and integrate information. Treating mistakes as opportunities and nurturing an environment where mistakes are not the end of the world will encourage people to collaborate and freely report any roadblocks. 
  4. Space to speak: To communicate, you must have time to share your thoughts. Daily syncs and 1×1 meetings ensure that everybody is being heard. 
  5. Feeling accepted and recognized: When you feel that you’re part of a whole, knowing you are making a difference and being accepted for your individuality, you are more likely to be open, honest, and communicate with confidence.
  6. Available and open managers: Have you ever had a manager who is unreachable, always busy, and you didn’t contact them out of fear you’ll bother them? A manager’s life is busy, but it should never be too busy to listen to you. You should have time to share your feedback and express your concerns, feelings, and needs as part of a healthy collaborative environment.

Gainable skills

Independent from the role you have in a company, developing the following set of skills will help you create and maintain productive relationships. Most of them will transcend into your personal life and help you effectively communicate with both close ones and new acquaintances. Win-Win!

  1. Written communication: Some tips for improving written communication include creating a structure for your message, using bullet points and paragraph formatting for readability, proofreading with care for spelling and grammar, and avoiding acronyms and abbreviations.
  2. Verbal communication: Active listening, maintaining eye contact, using clear language, asking open-ended questions, staying on topic, and avoiding a negative tone of voice will surely elevate your speech. Be mindful of not seeming arrogant but confident, and always pay attention to cultural differences.
  3. Non-verbal communication: Gestures, posture, and expressions all impact our conversations, which is why it is best to have video or face-to-face communication rather than written or just audio as often as possible.
  4. Visual communication: Visual communication can come in handy when conveying a message, especially for visually oriented people, and can also be a useful add-on to other types of communication. Use clean designs and appropriate visuals, make the most important aspects pop, utilize color in your favor, use intelligible fonts, make use of white space, pay attention to accessibility, and insert some charts and graphs here and there. 
  5. Presentation skills: Knowing how to create a presentation deck and perform during a speech is one of a professional’s most useful skills. You get to explore and improve both written and verbal communication, learn how to engage an audience, and communicate a message in a clear and attractive manner. Read more about how to deliver a presentation in the following article:

Now you have some ideas of the areas you could research for more information and train your newly gained skills in on every occasion.

Questions to ask yourself when communicating a message 

Until proficient communication becomes second nature to you, here are some questions you could ask yourself when you are trying to convey your thoughts:

  • Audience: Who am I addressing? Am I communicating the message based on the other person’s preferences and needs? Am I adapting the conversation based on the other party’s input?
  • Scope: Do I know the purpose of my message? What is the goal of this conversation?
  • Structure: Is my message structured? Does my message have a beginning, middle, and end?
  • Language: Is my message easy to understand? Is my language suited for the conversation partner/s? Do I communicate in a positive and constructive manner? Am I being professional, polite, and empathetic? Do I have a respectful tone?
  • Clarity: Am I avoiding unnecessary details? Am I being consistent in my communication?
  • Timing: Is the timing right for this conversation?
  • Engagement: Am I engaging the conversation partner/s?


Communication is not easy but detrimental to our relationships in all areas of our lives. It’s the way we express ourselves, and it helps us navigate through the challenges coming our way; therefore, it is worth investing in developing our collective and individual communication skills. Have you pinpointed some actionable items you could take on to improve communication in the workplace?


Article by

Manoila Miruna
Project Manager