Talk the Talk: Skills for Good Communication

Boost your career with essential communication techniques. Discover key strategies and explore real-world examples to help you articulate your ideas clearly and confidently
Charlotte Barber, BCs, PGC, BABCP®


  • Communication in the workplace involves more than just speaking; it includes written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication skills.

  • Leadership communication skills are vital for creating a positive work environment where employees feel motivated and understood. Leaders also need to continuously improve their communication abilities to foster open dialogue and address issues proactively.

  • Professional communication skills are crucial for success in the modern, digitally-connected world. These skills enhance teamwork, negotiations, and online interactions.

Positive communication skills are essential for getting along with others at work. However, communication doesn’t just involve the words we use, but also how we use our face and body, and the way we sound when speaking. Whether we are giving an important talk, sharing ideas with our team, talking about problems with our bosses, or explaining things to clients, effective communication skills and techniques can make all the difference.  

This guide will look closely at the role of communication in the workplace while also providing some information about how we can enhance our communications skills. 

Communication Skills: The Four Aspects of Communication 

Being an effective communicator involves four key areas, each of which is important for conveying and receiving messages clearly:

Written Communication – Speaking and listening are the main ways in which we interact at work. This can be in casual talks or formal meetings. It's important to really listen to what others are saying. This helps us connect better and improves how we share information.

Verbal Communication – Verbal exchanges are the cornerstone of workplace interactions. As you probably know, these vary from informal conversations to structured meetings. Either way, speaking is only one part of it. Active listening—fully engaging with the speaker to foster a deeper understanding and connection, further enhances the overall communication process.

Non-Verbal Communication – The way we move, our facial expressions, and how we look at each other says a lot, even when we're silent. Whenever possible, our body language should match our words to make sure we're understood correctly and to help avoid confusion.

Visual Communication – Visuals like graphs, charts, and infographics can help explain our ideas better or even take the place of words in some instances. Good visuals are clear, interesting, and support what we're trying to say. This helps others get the point more easily and remember it longer.

The “Leadership Communication Skill” Relationship

n the business world, communicating well is considered a key factor in making things run smoothly and keeping employees happy. When leaders are good at communicating, it creates a place where everyone feels comfortable talking openly and efficiently. This is crucial for making employees feel motivated, happy, and trusted. As a result, everyone in the company works better together, and the company's goals are clearer to everyone. This shows how important it is for bosses and managers to communicate well, starting from the top and going all the way down through the organization.

But even though it might seem simple, talking and listening well can be quite tricky. There are many ways things can go wrong, often leading to misunderstandings, disagreements, and hard feelings, which can happen both at work and outside of it. This is why leaders must keep working on improving their communication skills and be ready to change their approach as needed.

For leaders, good communication skills are more than just talking clearly or writing well. They need to understand people's feelings and perspectives, be able to listen carefully, and giving feedback that helps rather than hurts.  

Leaders should also try to encourage a culture where everyone feels safe to share their ideas and concerns without fear of being judged. This kind of environment helps prevent problems before they start and makes it easier to deal with issues when they do come up.  

In short, for leaders, being great communicators is not just a nice skill to have. In fact, it's a crucial part of their job that can make or break their team's success.

The Value of Professional Communication Skills

In our modern, digitally-connected era, where information is everywhere, being able to communicate effectively is about much more than just passing messages back and forth. As we’ve been saying, it’s about really getting the feelings and thoughts behind the information. This deep level of understanding helps in sharing messages and creating relationships that have real meaning.

But while we might often focus on leaders, communication skills are actually essential for anyone in the professional world. Whether it’s everyday conversation, working together on projects, or in high-stakes negotiations, communicating well is key to success.

Good communication skills help professionals in many ways.  

  • They make teamwork smoother, as everyone can share their ideas and feedback openly and respectfully. In turn, this openness leads to more creativity and better solutions.

  • In negotiations, being able to express your position clearly and understand the other side can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. 

  • Of course, in a world where we often interact through screens, being able to communicate effectively online is just as important as in-person. Writing clear emails, participating in video meetings, and using social media professionally all require strong communication skills.

For professionals aiming for success, developing communication skills is not optional—it's essential. These skills enable not just the achievement of personal and organizational goals but also contribute to a more collaborative and understanding work environment.

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How Communication Skills Impact Organizations  

Beyond leaders, managers, and employees, having great communication skills is very important for organizations in general. This is because they not only help create a good work culture, but also play a big role in helping a business succeed. As we’ve been discussing, people who are good at communicating can solve disagreements, encourage their coworkers, and get everyone to work together towards common goals. If you get better at these skills, you can make a big difference in how well employees work together, make decisions, and work with different departments.

There's currently a vast need for excellent communication skills across multiple industries because they play a key role in handling and sharing complicated information, solving problems, and creating a place where everyone trusts and respects each other.

10 Essential Communication Skills

To be a really good communicator, there are some key skills you need. Here are some of the most important:

Active Listening

Active listening, sometimes called “appreciative listening” or “mindful listening,” means paying close attention to who you're communicating with by engaging with them, asking questions, and rephrasing when needed. Practicing active listening can build respect with your colleagues and significantly increase understanding in the workplace. As you actively listen, focus on the speaker and avoid distractions like cell phones and laptops. You can also improve your active listening skills by paying attention to other people's facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Instead of preparing what you plan to say next, focus on what the other person is saying and how they're speaking. If you want to clarify something, ask follow-up questions or rephrase what they've said to confirm that you understood them correctly.  


In the workplace, people are more likely to respond to ideas presented with confidence. Of course, there are many ways to appear confident, including making eye contact when you're addressing someone, sitting up straight with your shoulders open, and preparing ahead of time so your thoughts are clear. Additionally, to display confidence, avoid adding filler words such as “like” or “um.”  

Knowing the Right Communication Method

Knowing the right way to communicate at any given time is an important skill. Communicating is better when you consider your audience, what information you want to share, and the best way to share it. For example, if you're communicating with a potential employee, it may be better to send a formal email or call them on the phone. In the workplace, you may find it easier to communicate complex information in person or via a video conference than by email.  


Friendly traits like honesty and kindness can help foster trust and understanding when communicating at work. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with a positive attitude, keep an open mind, and ask questions of the other person to help you understand where they're coming from. Small gestures such as asking someone how they're doing, smiling as they speak or offering praise for work well done can help you foster productive relationships with team members. Another way to practice friendliness is by remembering small, thoughtful details about your colleagues or past conversations. For example, if a colleague tells you their child's birthday is soon, and you connect with them again later, you might ask them how the birthday party went.

Having empathy means that you can not only understand but also share in the emotions of others. This communication skill is important in both team and one-on-one settings. In both cases, you attempt to effectively read and translate other people's emotions and select an appropriate response. For example, if someone is expressing anger or frustration, empathy can help you acknowledge and even diffuse that emotion. At the same time, understanding when someone is feeling positive and enthusiastic can help you get support for your ideas and projects.


A key aspect of respect is knowing when to initiate communication and respond. In a team or group setting, allowing others to speak without interruption is a necessary communication skill tied to respectfulness. Respectfully communicating also means using your time with someone else wisely—staying on topic, asking clear questions, and responding fully to any questions they've asked you.

Providing Feedback

The key to effective feedback is sharing specific examples of the issue and its consequences, then asking questions to formulate solutions. Strong communicators can both accept constructive feedback and provide constructive input to others. This feedback can answer questions, provide solutions, or help strengthen the project or topic at hand. A great way to learn how to give feedback is to take notes from others on the feedback they offer you. When you come across a well-explained piece of feedback, take some time to observe and analyze why it was good, why it resonated with you, and how you might apply those skills in the future.

Volume and Tone

When you're speaking, be clear and audible. Adjusting your speaking voice so others can hear you in a variety of settings is a skill, and it's critical to communicating effectively. That said, speaking too loudly may be disrespectful or awkward in certain settings. If you're unsure, read the room to see how others are communicating. Another aspect of verbal communication is vocals and tonality. This involves how your tone moves up and down, your pitch, which words you place emphasis on, and the pauses you place between phrases. Such details can help you effectively communicate emotions and offer your audience insights into how others interpret your message.


Whether you're returning a phone call or sending a reply to an email, fast communicators are always perceived as more effective than those who are slow to respond. However, there are variables to consider as well. Is this a request or question you can answer in the next five minutes? If so, it may be a good idea to address it as soon as you see it. If it's a more complex request or question, you can still acknowledge that you've received the message and let the other person know you're going to respond in full later.

Nonverbal Cues

As we discussed earlier, some communication happens through nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and eye contact. When listening to someone, you may pay attention to what they're saying and their nonverbal language at the same time. However, it’s important not to judge others based on their body language, as not all people display the same physical gestures due to cultural or ability differences.

10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills 

Enhancing your communication abilities is a continuous journey. It involves utilizing a variety of  methods to improve how effectively you convey and receive information. Below are a few key strategies for effective communication skills

Prioritize Listening – Make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying, setting aside your own thoughts for the moment. This involves asking questions if something isn't clear, ensuring you fully understand their message. Giving your full attention, especially during conversations or calls, signals to the other person that they are valued and heard.

Adapt Your Language to Your Audience – The way you communicate should vary depending on who you're talking to. While casual language and acronyms might be fine with friends, professional interactions require a more formal tone. Learning how to tailor your message to fit your audience avoids misunderstandings and ensures clarity.

Think Before You Speak  – Take a brief pause to think before speaking. This can help you choose your words wisely and avoid potential misunderstandings.

Opt for Direct Communication – In situations where email communication might lead to lengthy explanations, consider making a phone call instead. Direct verbal communication can often convey nuances more effectively and allow for immediate clarification.

Mind Your Body Language – Remember that non-verbal cues play a crucial role in communication, especially in person or during video calls. Adopt an open stance and maintain eye contact to demonstrate your engagement and openness to the conversation.

Proofread Your Messages – Before sending any written communication, take a moment to review it for spelling and grammatical errors. Ensuring your message is clear and error-free helps convey your points more effectively.

Maintain a Positive Attitude – Positivity is infectious, even through the phone. Smiling and maintaining a cheerful attitude can positively influence your interactions, encouraging a more receptive and friendly exchange.

Be Concise and Clear – Whether speaking or writing, aim to be succinct yet detailed enough to convey your message without being vague. Practicing this balance can prevent misunderstandings and keep the conversation focused.

Document Key Points – Taking notes or recording discussions or meetings ensures you capture important details without relying solely on memory. Follow up with an email to confirm your understanding and the next steps, reinforcing the accuracy of the communication.

Practice Equality and Respect – Approach every interaction with respect, treating others as equals regardless of their position or relationship to you. This helps to foster a more open and respectful dialogue.

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Communication F.A.Q.s

What are the key aspects of communication in the workplace?

The key aspects of communication in the workplace include written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication. Effective workplace communication involves clear conveyance and reception of messages, incorporating active listening, appropriate body language, and supporting visuals to enhance understanding.

Why is leadership communication skill crucial in a business environment?

Leadership communication skill is crucial because it directly influences the work environment's quality, employee motivation, and organizational clarity. Good communication from leaders ensures a culture of open dialogue, which is essential for team collaboration, problem-solving, and alignment with company goals.

How can professionals improve their communication skills?

Professionals can improve their communication skills by practicing active listening, demonstrating confidence, choosing the appropriate communication method for the situation, being friendly, showing empathy, respecting others, providing constructive feedback, adjusting tone and volume appropriately, responding promptly, and being mindful of nonverbal cues.

What impact do communication skills have on an organization?

Effective communication skills positively impact an organization by fostering a collaborative work culture, enhancing problem-solving and decision-making, and facilitating better teamwork across departments. These skills are critical for organizational success as they help manage and disseminate complex information and maintain trust and respect among employees.

How does communication skill benefit teamwork and negotiations?

Good communication skills benefit teamwork by facilitating open and respectful idea sharing, leading to increased creativity and better solutions. In negotiations, clear expression and understanding of positions can result in mutually beneficial outcomes, emphasizing the importance of these skills in professional settings.

What are some ways to enhance communication abilities?

To enhance communication abilities, prioritize listening, adapt your language to your audience, think before you speak, choose direct communication when necessary, be aware of your body language, proofread messages, maintain a positive attitude, be concise and clear, document key points, and treat everyone with equality and respect. These practices contribute to more effective and meaningful interactions in the workplace.

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