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Four Tips for Communication Success

Four Tips for Communication Success

July 10, 2019 in ProDev / by Craig Gerdes

If you want to succeed in the workplace, good communication skills are essential.  After all, communication plays a key role in several other workplace skills needed on the job including conflict management, negotiation, networking, crucial conversations, leadership, teamwork, coaching and feedback, motivation, emotional intelligence, delegation, etc.

For example, poor communication often gets us into conflict situations and good communication skills are the only way to resolve conflict.  Similarly, an effective team probably has a good communicator as a leader and has strategies and processes for handling communication in an efficient manner among members.


Here are four tips to becoming a better communicator:

  1. Ask Open Questions

  • These types of questions always begin with one of the 5 W’s or H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).
  • They encourage people to talk mostly because they cannot be answered with a yes/no response.
  • You should use them to get more information, focus the conversation, solicit opinions, and gain consensus.


  1. Use Probing Techniques

  • Ask an open question
  • Pause
  • Ask a reflective or mirroring question
  • Paraphrase
  • Make a summary statement/question


  1. Improve Your Active Listening

  • Listen intentionally and with interest
  • Avoid assumptions and suspend judgments
  • Listen for what isn’t being said and pay attention to non-verbal clues
  • Do not interrupt
  • Keep your eyes focused on the speaker’s face and your ears tuned to their voice
  • Use non-verbal messages to demonstrate listening and understanding
  • Listen with a positive attitude


  1. Watch the Words You Use and Your Non-Verbal Messages


Helpful Words

Hurtful or Unhelpful Words

  • We
  • Please and thank you
  • Words easily understood
  • When I…
  • Specific days/dates
  • Could you try…?
  • What do you think?
  • Jargon
  • Words that are perceived negatively
  • Vulgar language/Swearing
  • When you…
  • “But”
  • Always/Never
  • Must/Have to/I insist!

Helpful Facial Expressions

Hurtful Facial Expressions

  • Eye contact​
  • Relaxed​/Friendly​/Smiling
  • Alert
  • No eye contact
  • Frowning/tense/angry​
  • Bored/disinterested/yawning​

Helpful Tone of Voice

Hurtful Tone of Voice

  • Variation in pitch​
  • Interested​
  • Patient​
  • Friendly​
  • Can be heard​
  • Clear
  • Monotone​
  • Too fast or slow ​
  • Impatient
  • Too indecisive or abrupt​
  • Too hurried or mumbled​
  • Condescending​

Helpful Body Language

Hurtful Body Language

  • Attending to the person listening​
  • Slightly leaning toward person​
  • Open body movements​
  • Not interrupting
  • Looking at a watch/phone/ ​
  • Arms crossed​
  • Shrugging shoulders ​
  • Hands on hips​
  • Getting too close


To learn more about Communication and Active Listening or other important workplace skills, check out Centriq’s ProDev classes here or fill out the form below.

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