Want to improve workplace communication? Read these 7 articles.

Jun 7, 2017 · 5 min read

I’m sure we’ve all felt the frustration of explaining something clearly to a coworker (or so we thought), only to see them furrow their eyebrows in confusion. We’ve all disagreed with teammates at some point, or felt like we weren’t getting the constructive feedback we needed. This is what happens when communication falls flat, through the gaps, or goes straight over our heads — and it’s far too easy to do.

Fortunately, effective communication in the workplace is a skill we can learn and master like any other. These seven articles can help.

7 questions you should ask to develop effective communication at work

By Wavelength

It’s not news that being an attentive listener is just as important for effective communication as being an articulate speaker. One simple way to improve your listening skills in work conversations is asking questions.

In this article, leadership coach Michael Bungay Stanier outlines seven different types of questions to help you have better — and more mindful — conversations at work.

From the the kickstart question (“what’s on your mind?”) to the strategic question (“if you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?”), these seven types of questions can help teammates better get to the root of what’s being said.

These are six communication styles every person uses

By Fast Company

Do you ever feel like you’re experiencing a language barrier with someone even though you’re technically speaking the same language? Well, even though you might both be using English or French or German, you might not be speaking the same perceptual language.

According to Taibi Kahler, “perceptual languages are the different processes of how people communicate.” There are six of them, and we all have a favorite, or base, that we talk from most frequently. Understanding the base perceptual language of the person with whom you’re speaking, and communicating with them in that style, can help reduce conversational misunderstandings.

In this article, Stephanie Vozza defines each type of perceptual language, how to identify them, and ways to communicate across them.

Blunt, effective feedback, in 3 stories

By Wavelength

Feedback is one of the most anxiety-inducing types of workplace communication — but it doesn’t have to be if you learn how to do it well. To help demonstrate, Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein uses three stories to take us through his key principles for giving effective feedback:

  1. It’s not who you are, it’s what you do.
  2. Go beyond “nice job” or “this sucks.”
  3. Speak your feelings, without accusation.

“I count myself on the side of those executives who believe ‘employee engagement’ is key to achieving business goals,” says Rosenstein. “But even if we’re wrong about that, feedback and engagement makes our workplace a far better place to grow, learn, and thrive together.” Use these lessons to help your team improve.

8 ways to get a difficult conversation back on track


Difficult conversation at work? No decision about a huge business move? It may be the fault of communication style — not subject matter.

Leadership coach Monique Valcour takes us through the story of one business leader who continuously found himself struggling to get on the same page with his employees and the eight tactics he used to get back on track. From verbally communicating the intent of the conversation, to shifting into learning mode while listening to others, he was able to improve his rapport with teammates and unblock large decisions.

The dos and don’ts of giving creative feedback — Wavelength by Asana

By Wavelength

For creatives and those who work with them, effective feedback can often be a challenge.

Creatives might feel frustrated with vague, unhelpful feedback (“Can you dial up the punchiness?” “Why don’t we jazz things up a bit?”) or too much feedback, which bogs down the creation process.

On the other side, non-creatives might feel unqualified to give creative feedback (“I can barely match two socks together, how am I supposed to critique a web design?!?”) or just not know how to articulate their impressions of a piece of work (“it’s just… wrong.”)

Not to fear — the experienced creative feedback givers (and receivers) at Asana share their dos and don’ts to help those who work with writers, designers, filmmakers, etc. develop a feedback loop that everyone’s happy with.

The 5 levels of communication in a connected world

By 99u

Even though we all have many communication tools at our fingertips — email, Slack, in-person meetings — we don’t always choose the right tool for the conversation at hand.

To help you be more mindful of not just what you’re communicating, but through which channel, author and business leader Scott Belsky takes us through the five levels of communication to consider. So, before you decide to hit send on that next email or casually pop by a coworkers desk, ask yourself “is this the right level?”

The smart way to handle disagreements at work

By Wavelength

It’s inevitable — we’re never going to agree with everyone all the time, especially at work. And while disagreements can evoke unpleasant emotions, they’re also an opportunity for constructive conversations and creative problem solving. That is, if you handle them well.

In this article, Kasey Fleisher Hickey discusses things to watch out for and strategies to help you and your team navigate disagreements. For example, create a safe space for disagreements. And, whenever you can, remove emotions from the conversation.


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A publication for teams who aspire to do great things together.