Nine Tips for

Effective Communication at Work

How you communicate through speaking can have a big effect on your career.  Speech is how we express ourselves, our motives, our thoughts, our intentions.  Ensure that your speaking is expressing exactly what and how you want to communicate.

Clear and concise language is the key.

You want to practice ways of expressing yourself through speaking to ensure that your message is truly being communicated in a way to be understood.  There are many ways to get off track in speaking.  Practice what you can control.

For example, the tone of voice is very important as you speak.

Early on in my career, I had a habit of escalating my voice several pitches higher when I was under stress or upset.  This was pointed out to me by one of my managers as well as a senior leader who was to the point…“Emotions have no place in the workplace.”  While I didn’t appreciate their feedback at the time, it really gave me pause to think that the subtle cue of my voice tone escalating was communicating information about me (stressed, upset) that I should have found other ways to communicate.  From that time, I am very careful to listen to my tone of voice.

A few tips to ensure that your verbal communication always hits the mark:

1. We start with nonverbals.

Yes, this plays a critical part in communication.  Just as my tone of voice conveyed a message, you may also be conveying one by not saying a word.  I could write a whole article on this, but one of the biggest ones to watch out for is eye-rolling, or crossing your arms in front of you.  This conveys emotions and possibly not believing in what you are saying. In business, you want to show a willingness to engage and be open.

2. Get to the point.

Storytelling is fine with your friends, but normally in business, no one has time for a full story.  Get to the point quicker and more effectively.

3. Watch your expressions like “Yeah” or “Huh”

These are often learned habits and they can be unlearned when you watch them.

4. Similarly, stay away from “You know” or “Um”

These are fillers that indicate a lack of confidence and that you’re stalling for time as you’re just not sure what to say next.

5. When it comes to meetings, a little preparation goes a long way.

Have you ever been in a meeting where you wanted to interject but chose not to?    In my career, I’ve worked in groups and with bosses who were unwilling to accept input, and it was very frustrating.  But again, I realize that I didn’t take the time in advance to anticipate the direction of the meeting and find ways to put myself out there.   Taking a step out of my comfort zone, but a knowledgeable one worked so much better.  Be prepared.

6. Avoid the F-Bomb, etc.

I know there are corporate cultures where this is acceptable, and that’s fine.  I myself have “been there, done that.”  However, with clients and others outside the area, this may not be well received.  There are still fellow employees who find this offensive.  I once had a colleague who went to HR because her female boss was a constant curser. You really don’t want that kind of reputation just to let off a little steam.

7. Record yourself speaking or presenting.

Though this may be difficult to watch, it is so effective.  As a new manager, I thought my public speaking was good until I had to watch myself in a video!  Oye!  What a learning that was!

8. Consider your audience.

Always think about what they are looking for, what level you are at, and what they expect you to communicate.  As a Senior Director, I would often have to deliver difficult news to employees, but nothing matched the day I had to call employees into a conference room to announce the untimely death of our co-worker.  It was essential that I put my emotions aside temporarily and truly deliver communication in a respectful and caring way.  (I broke into tears later and alone).

9. Especially as leaders, you set the tone and your communication is critical.

Employees read things into your speaking and this necessitates an approach of honest and direct yet caring communication.

The art of communication and it truly is an art, takes awareness, practice, asking for feedback, and continuous improvement.  The results can be amazing for your career.


Try out one or more of the tips above this week, but most importantly NOTICE your communication and make changes where needed.  You can also notice how others communicate around you and see if you observe and hear some of the tips above.

Happy Communicating!


Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.


Active Listening Tips

Communication is essential to success in your career. How you express yourself, both in writing and in speech, as well as nonverbals, ensures that you are advancing in that career. It also helps in fostering relationships, and increasing teamwork, among many benefits.

But there is another side to communication that can get overlooked…the importance of active listening. Listening to learn, listening to understand. Listening is a critical communication skill to master in your career.

How are your listening skills?

Do you listen to comprehend or do you listen to speak next? Listening to speak next is about concentrating on what your response will be rather than fully engaging in listening.

Now, I consider myself a good listener. Listening is a very critical skill as a coach, and a good part of our training was focused on better and more nuanced listening. I learned many new things in a skill that I always thought I was good at.

And there is always a place for continual learning!

Studies show that most of us are very poor listeners. How many times have you been interrupted in a conversation or done the interrupting yourself? We do it ever so cleverly to one another but it’s an interruption none the less. Or, have you ever spoken to someone who is multitasking while you’re speaking…like texting on their phone or poor eye contact because they are distracted by something? I submit…they are truly not listening.

Another form of poor listening is offering solutions. Have you ever been in a conversation where you are stating a problem or challenge and the other person has a ready solution for you? “If you just do (fill in the blanks) you wouldn’t have this problem!” Yikes! When that’s done to you, do you feel you’ve been listened to?

So how do we become better and more active listeners?

I think it starts with really wanting to give someone the gift of listening. By being fully present in the exchange…not half-listening but completely engaged in the dialog. I think it’s also a matter of deciding that communication is important enough that I need to fully engage.

The following tips will help you to become a better and more active listener:

  • Making eye contact and eliminating distractions. Stay in the moment in the communication, as much as possible and get that phone out of the conversation.
  • Recapping what you just heard. “So what I hear you saying is……” This is an especially good technique to keep emotions out of the exchange and mirror back to the other person, as well as confirm what you are hearing.
  • Nodding or saying “Um-hum” shows that you’re connected to the conversation. This is especially useful for phone conversations.
  • Asking questions instead of offering advice, based on what you heard…”It sounds like you’ve had a lot of disruptions that kept you from making progress today…did I hear that right?” Note that confirming what you heard is a great tool…” did I hear that right?” This also allows you to recap the communication to the other person in a way that allows them to consider what they just communicated.
  • Telling the speaker if this is a good time for you or not. If you have to finish that email or text, then ask for a moment or two to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
  • Listening more than speaking in the interaction.


Catch yourself in situations this week and see what kind of a listener you are.    Can you try some of these techniques or others?  Can you give someone the gift of active listening this week?


Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW. Contact [email protected] for more information.