Communication is important in any environment, and is especially important in the workplace.  Miscommunication can result in low employee morale and motivation, decreased productivity, and increased employee conflicts.  As simple as communication may seem, it is not always easy to communicate at work. It is important to choose your words wisely, listen intently, and verify that you are understood.

Here are a few simple tips you can use to be a more effective communicator:

1. Don’t just hear—Listen.  This includes paying attention to body language if you are speaking to someone in person.  When a coworker approaches your desk, make sure you fully focus your attention on him or her.  If you do not have the time to do so, offer to schedule time to meet with the person later.

2. Be comfortable with resolving conflict.  No matter how well employees get along, there is always a chance that people will disagree. If you are a manager or leader in your office, help create an environment that allows your employees or teammates to discuss potential issues, and find a way to resolve them. Be sure that any conflict resolution focuses on the problem and not the personalities involved.

3. Be open to constructive criticism or feedback and be prepared to give it in return. Be appreciative of feedback that you receive, and make necessary changes to drive improved performance.

4. Use language that is easily understood to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.  Make sure you are aware of any cultural communication differences.

5. Follow correct grammatical guidelines and use spell check.  This is key, especially if you are communicating with customers or people outside of your business.

6. If you are conversing over email and have questions, speak to the customer or fellow employee in person or give them a call.  Although emails are a quick and easy way to communicate, they can also be misunderstood at times. Never be afraid to verify!

7. Always be aware of your audience and setting.  Make sure you consider what is appropriate to discuss in a workplace environment, with your coworkers outside of work, or on social media.

Remember, effective communication is key to the continued success of any company. Set clear guidelines around workplace communication, and ensure all of your employees or teammates understand them. This will only improve the overall effectiveness of the company or department.

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