5 Tips for Improving Communication in the Workplace


Poor communication can have a devastating impact on any workplace environment. Not only does it derail productivity, frustrate employees, and damage morale, but it also takes a massive bite out of your bottom line. 

5 Tips for Improving Communication in the Workplace

One recent report found that organizations with 100,000 employees lose $62.4 million each year due to poor communication. Similarly, on a smaller scale, organizations with 100 employees lose $420,000 annually.

If you need tips for improving workplace communication, you have come to the right place. Keep these five tips in mind to become a more effective communicator in the office:

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1. Don’t create problems when there aren’t any.

If you notice that people tend to avoid you in the office, chances are you have a communication problem on your hands.

To fix it, you need to get out of your head and stop creating problems where none exist. Don’t assume everything is about you. If someone starts acting differently one day, use Tactical Empathy™, Labels™, and Mirrors™ to uncover what is motivating them to feel the way they do.  

2. Be a decent human being.

Never forget that kindness doesn’t cost you a thing. On the flip side, if you are rude and dismissive, it is only a matter of time before you will pay for it. 

Moods are infectious. When you are in a bad mood, it rubs off on the people around you. On the other hand, when you are in a great mood, the people around you are happier.

As a police officer, I learned how to regulate my moods and behaviors. I had no choice. For example, if I just got into a fight with my spouse, I wouldn’t bring those emotions to work.

If your goal is to be a decent human being, you need to know that it starts with your mindset. Next time you head into the office, keep the C.A.V.I.AA.R™ acronym top of mind.

If you are having a down day, force yourself to smile. Believe it or not, smiling can put you in a better mood. When you bring positive energy to the office every day, that energy is reciprocated and communication flows smoothly.

3. Have something to learn.

If you are struggling with workplace communication, it might be because you’re acting like a know-it-all. Remember: You don’t have to be the smartest person in the office.

In fact, you may even want to stay curious and act as though you are the least intelligent person in the office. Assume you have something to learn from and about everyone you work with and use Labels and Mirrors to bring that information to the surface.

4. Be likable.

Did you know that people are six times more likely to do business with you if they like you?

In other words, when people dislike you, they don’t want to work with you. The more likable you are to your colleagues, the more likely they will look forward to tackling their next project with you.

5. Embrace the Platinum Rule.

Everyone knows the Golden Rule, which tells us to treat others like we want to be treated. Fewer folks know the Platinum Rule, which tells us to treat others the way they want to be treated.

Everyone is different, so people may not want to be treated the same way you do. If you develop Tactical Empathy and see things from your counterpart’s point of view, you will have a much easier time executing the Platinum Rule and treating them as they wish to be treated.

Get additional tips for improving workplace communication.

Mastering these five tips will most certainly help you more effectively communicate at work. If you are ready to take your communication skills to the next level, sign up for our online classes.

Not sure where to start? Check out our Women’s Power Hour and Negotiation 9 courses.

Here is to becoming the best communicator you can be!

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Sandy Hein

About The Author

Sandy Hein is a Negotiation Instructor and Coach at The Black Swan Group who has been with the company since December 2011 and transitioned to a full-time role in July 2020. Sandy began her career as a police officer in Alexandria, Virginia, and wore many hats during her 23-year stint there, including 10 years as a hostage negotiator. She was also a certified instructor with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and served on the training faculty of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. Since retiring from law enforcement in 2012, Sandy has gone on to teach criminal justice to high school students, author books, and train law enforcement agents across the country in several areas, including sexual violence, crisis intervention, and hostage negotiations. At Black Swan, Sandy follows her passion for teaching. She enjoys connecting with clients on a personal level and using a conversational approach to help them realize that—regardless of their personality or experience—they can use The Black Swan Method™ effectively if they have the right mindset and are committed to improvement. In her spare time Sandy is an avid reader. She has been known to peruse four to six books at a time with the help of an E-Reader.