By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 25, 2021
Effective communication is important when interacting with others in a professional environment. Learning how to effectively communicate involves developing certain skills. By identifying what effective communication is and how it can benefit your professional career, you can learn to communicate clearly and concisely. In this article, we discuss the definition of effective communication, explain why it's important, explore a few elements of effective communication and provide you with a few tips to improve your communication skills.
Effective communication is the ability to have a conversation with another person in an engaging way that is engaging, focused, consistent and offers value. Communicating effectively involves two or more people who can clearly express their intent and understand the focus or purpose of the conversation, while also allowing each person to get their point across.
Effective communication is important for people to communicate with others while expressing their needs and understanding the tasks or duties given to them. Good communication skills may also be important in certain industries, including sales, as it helps people understand the needs of a customer before then expressing value to them. Some examples of effective communication skills may include:
Nonverbal body language
Empathy and compassion
Related: 21 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills
Learning to effectively communicate can provide value in the workplace. Effective communication is important because it offers the following benefits:
Demonstrates understanding: Learning to communicate effectively can help you demonstrate an understanding of what the other person is saying. Whether you're communicating with a coworker or manager, effective communication can help teams improve productivity and work towards a common goal.
Helps to prevent conflict: Effective communicators have the skills necessary to prevent or resolve conflict. This can help teams overcome challenges or barriers to productivity and progress toward the completion of projects faster, while also improving employee morale.
Improves engagement: Creating teams of effective communicators can also increase employee engagement among team members. This is especially useful as a leader when encouraging team members to work together.
Solves problems: Effective communication skills can help team members identify solutions to common problems. Good communication skills also make it easier for team members to articulate and clearly express their current concerns, leading to a more transparent and honest work environment.
Builds trust: Effective communication skills, including empathy, compassion and consistent nonverbal communication patterns can help team members build trust among each other. It can also help leaders earn the respect and trust of their team members.
Related: Communication Skills for Career Success
Effective communication includes a few key elements, including:
Effective communicators can demonstrate their engagement in the conversation. They may show engagement through verbal or nonverbal cues that demonstrate active listening. Another important part of engagement is encouraging the speaker to continue or encouraging them to respond.
Related: Guide To Improving Team Communication in the Workplace
Effective communicators focus on the speaker, making them feel heard and understood. In addition to listening to the words the speaker is communicating, an effective communicator also pays attention to body language and intonations. This helps them understand how the speaker is feeling, and how the topics they discuss influence them. If you're the speaker, focusing on the nonverbal communication of listeners can help you understand their interest in the topic you're discussing.
Related: 21 Tips To Help You Communicate Better at Work
Consistency is important when communicating with others, as it allows them to understand and gauge the direction of the conversation. For example, discussing a stressful topic but using body language that is expressive and excited may not provide a consistent form of communication. Effective communicators can maintain consistency across various topics of communication.
An effective communicator provides value to those they're communicating with. Communication is a two-way process and for it to be effective, all communicators can provide value to the others involved in the conversation. Learning skills in questioning, including forming valuable questions and identifying a purpose, can also help improve the value that you offer in a conversation.
Managing emotions is another element of effective communication. The ability to understand how one's emotions influence a conversation can help speakers better control them. Emotional intelligence can help speakers further their communication skills, specifically when it comes to the ability to effectively communicate. Empathy, compassion and the ability to be accepting of different cultures, communication styles or ways of expressing emotion are also important parts of emotional management.
Effective communication involves clarity. Before speaking, it can be helpful to first identify your purpose and how best to express it. When listening to someone, identify and summarize what the speaker says to demonstrate your understanding. If you're unsure, you can always ask questions or paraphrase to gain further clarity.
Here are a few tips you can use to communicate more effectively:
Understand the barriers to effective communication. It's beneficial to consider the most common barriers to effective communication so you can be aware of them when communicating with others. Common barriers include stress, feeling emotionally overwhelmed, difficulty focusing or inconsistent body language.
Focus on the speaker. Focusing on the speaker and learning to actively listen can also help with improving skills. If you find yourself distracted, try to ask questions to better understand and narrow your focus.
Try to stay on topic. Interruptions or shifting the direction of the conversation can affect the overall purpose. Aim to stay on topic by contributing to the topic in discussion.
Use nonverbal body language. Body language is an important part of effective communication methods. Identify the body language of others and pay attention to how you respond to certain things to gain better emotional clarity.
Strengthen skills related to communication. Improving certain skills, like teamwork and problem-solving, can also help with enhancing communication. Other important communication skills include active listening, asking questions and problem-solving.
Consider cultural differences. Cultural backgrounds can influence how a person communicates. It's important to consider how someone's background may influence their communication style, and how this may differ from what you consider effective.
Pause between responses. Pausing between responses in a conversation can help you formulate what you want to say. This also allows you to primarily focus on the speaker and what they're saying rather than using that time to create your response.
Choose the right method of communication. Effective communication also requires that you choose the best method of communication for the topic. For example, some topics are best communicated in person vs. email.