In nearly every industry, one of the early lessons that professionals learn is the importance of good communication skills. Regardless of how talent you offer or value you provide, it’s very difficult to succeed without the ability to communicate effectively. So what does effective professional communication looks like in the modern workplace? The answer: It’s complex. But, thankfully, it’s a skill like any other - one that can be learned and mastered.
Whether you’re a young executive or someone looking to grow their career, Popl is here to help with tips on how you can improve your professional communication skills.
Professional Communication Skills | Channels
There are several popular communication channels in the modern workplace, and the choice of channel often depends on the specific needs and preferences of the individuals or teams involved. Some of the most commonly used communication channels in the modern workplace include:
- Email: Email remains a popular communication channel in the workplace for formal and semi-formal communication, such as sending important documents or updates.
- Instant messaging: Instant messaging apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and WhatsApp are popular for quick and informal communication between team members, especially when working remotely.
- Video conferencing: Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are increasingly popular for remote meetings, especially during the pandemic. Video conferencing also has many supporting features, such as record Microsoft Teams meetings and more.
- Phone calls: Phone calls remain a popular way to communicate for urgent matters or when a conversation is more complex than an email or instant message.
- In-person meetings: In-person meetings are still important for some situations, such as team building, brainstorming sessions, or important client meetings.
- Project management tools: Platforms like Asana, Trello, and Jira are popular for team collaboration, task management, and project tracking.
- Social media: Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are increasingly used for professional networking and communication.
The choice of communication channel may depend on the specific needs and preferences of the individuals or teams involved, as well as the nature and urgency of the communication.
Email Communication Tips
Effective communication via email is essential in the modern workplace. Here are some important communication tips for email:
- Keep it brief and to the point: People receive many emails each day, so it's important to keep your message brief and to the point. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make your message easier to read.
- Use a clear subject line: A clear subject line can help the recipient understand the purpose of the email quickly. Make sure your subject line accurately reflects the content of the email.
- Use proper formatting and grammar: Proper formatting and grammar can make your email more professional and easier to read. Use proper capitalization and punctuation, and avoid using all caps or excessive exclamation points.
- Avoid ambiguity: Be clear and direct in your email, and avoid using ambiguous language that could be misinterpreted. If necessary, ask someone to review your email before sending it.
- Be mindful of your tone: Email tone can be easily misinterpreted, so be mindful of your tone and avoid using language that could be seen as aggressive or confrontational. Use polite and respectful language.
- Use a professional email signature: A professional email signature can help establish your credibility and provide important contact information. Include your name, title, and contact information.
- Use the "Reply All" function sparingly: The "Reply All" function can be useful, but it can also lead to unnecessary clutter in people's inboxes. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.
Instant Messaging Communication Tips
Instant messaging on Slack is a convenient way to communicate with team members in real-time. Here are some important communication tips for using Slack effectively:
- Use appropriate channels: Slack allows you to create channels for different projects or teams. Use the appropriate channel for your message to ensure it reaches the right people.
- Keep messages brief: Like email, keep your Slack messages brief and to the point. Use short sentences and bullet points to make your message easy to read.
- Use @mentions sparingly: Use @mentions to direct a message to a specific person or group, but avoid overusing them. Too many @mentions can be distracting and overwhelming.
- Use emojis and gifs selectively: Emojis and gifs can add personality and humor to your messages, but use them selectively and appropriately for the context.
- Be mindful of tone: Tone can be easily misinterpreted in instant messaging, so be mindful of your tone and use language that is polite and respectful.
- Keep conversations organized: Use threads to keep conversations organized and prevent clutter in the main channel. This helps team members easily find relevant information.
- Use Slack etiquette: Follow appropriate etiquette when using Slack, such as using appropriate language, avoiding off-topic conversations, and responding promptly to messages.
Video Conferencing Communication Tips
Video conferencing is an important communication tool for remote teams and individuals working from home. Here are some important communication tips for video conferencing:
- Test your equipment and connection: Before the meeting, test your equipment, such as your camera and microphone, and your internet connection to ensure a smooth meeting.
- Dress appropriately: Dress appropriately for the meeting, as you would for an in-person meeting. This helps establish professionalism and respect for the meeting.
- Choose a quiet location: Choose a quiet location for the meeting, with minimal background noise and distractions.
- Be punctual: Be punctual and join the meeting on time to avoid delaying the meeting for others.
- Use good video conference lighting: Ensure proper lighting in your location so that your face is well-lit and visible.
- Maintain eye contact: Maintain eye contact with the camera to simulate face-to-face communication and establish a connection with other participants.
- Be mindful of body language: Body language is important in video conferencing, so be mindful of your posture, facial expressions, and gestures.
- Use a professional background: Use a professional background or virtual background to minimize distractions and maintain professionalism.
- Avoid multi-tasking: Avoid multi-tasking during the meeting and focus on the discussion. This shows respect for the meeting and helps you stay engaged.
- Practice good meeting etiquette: Practice good meeting etiquette, such as listening actively, avoiding interruptions, and respecting others' opinions.
Phone Call Communication Tips
Professional phone calls are a critical communication tool in the workplace. Here are some important communication tips for making professional phone calls:
- Prepare before the call: Before making the call, prepare any notes or talking points you need to make the conversation efficient and effective.
- Identify yourself and the purpose of the call: Introduce yourself and state the purpose of the call at the beginning of the conversation to establish a clear agenda.
- Speak clearly and confidently: Speak clearly and confidently to ensure the other person understands you and takes you seriously.
- Listen actively: Listen carefully to the other person's responses and be attentive to their tone and body language to understand their needs and concerns.
- Be polite and professional: Use polite and professional language and tone throughout the call to establish respect and professionalism.
- Take notes: Take notes during the call to keep track of important information, such as action items or next steps.
- Follow up: After the call, follow up with an email summarizing the conversation and any action items discussed.
- Use appropriate language: Use appropriate language and avoid slang or informal language that could be misunderstood or seen as unprofessional.
- Avoid interruptions: Avoid interruptions during the call, such as checking emails or multitasking, to show respect for the other person's time and attention.
- End the call politely: End the call politely and professionally, thanking the other person for their time and indicating any next steps.
In-Person Meeting Communication Tips
Professional, in-person meetings are an important way to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, clients, and partners. Here are some important communication tips for making the most out of your in-person meetings:
- Prepare an agenda: One of the most practical professional communication skills tips is to simply create an agenda in advance and share it with all participants before the meeting to set expectations and make the most of everyone's time.
- Start on time: Start the meeting on time to show respect for everyone's time and avoid delaying the meeting.
- Introduce everyone: Introduce everyone in the meeting to ensure everyone knows who is present and their roles.
- Be clear and concise: Speak clearly and concisely to convey your message effectively and efficiently.
- Listen actively: Listen actively to others and show respect for their ideas and opinions.
- Avoid distractions: Avoid distractions such as checking your phone, looking at your laptop or talking to someone else, as it shows disrespect to others and could miss important information.
- Encourage participation: Encourage participation from all attendees to foster collaboration and generate ideas.
- Stay on topic: Stay on topic and avoid tangents to keep the discussion focused and productive.
- Take notes: Take notes during the meeting to keep track of action items, decisions made, and next steps.
- Use a digital business card: Using a digital business card is an easy way to ensure you don’t miss out on valuable connections by failing to exchange contact information or forgetting to follow up. Popl’s digital business card solutions make contact exchange, lead management, follow ups fast and simple.
Communication TIps for Project Management Tools
There are a number of popular project management tools including Asana that teams use to organize, track and manage tasks and projects. Here are some important tips for effective project management tool communication.
- Use clear and concise task titles: Use clear and concise task titles that accurately reflect the task or project at hand.
- Assign tasks to the right people: Assign tasks to the right people, so everyone knows their responsibilities, and you can track who is accountable for each task.
- Set deadlines: Set clear and realistic deadlines for each task, so everyone knows when they are due.
- Use project descriptions: Use project descriptions to provide additional context and background information about the project, so everyone understands the overall objective and goals.
- Use comments to communicate: Use comments to communicate with team members about specific tasks, questions, or updates related to the project.
- Keep communication organized: Keep communication organized by keeping comments and attachments related to each task or subtask. This makes it easier to find and review later.
- Be specific in your communication: When communicating in Asana, be specific about what you need from others, the status of the task or project, and any roadblocks or issues you may encounter.
- Use tags and labels: Use tags and labels to categorize and prioritize tasks, so you can easily filter and find specific tasks or groups of tasks.
- Use Asana's integrations: Use Asana's integrations with other tools, such as Slack or Gmail, to receive notifications or communicate with team members outside of Asana.
- Regularly review and update tasks: Regularly review and update tasks to ensure everyone is on the same page and that the project is on track.
Communication Tips for Social Media
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be powerful tools for professional communication, networking, and branding. Here are some important tips for professional communication on social media:
- Be mindful of your audience: When it comes to professional communication skills being mindful of your audience and tailor your communication to the platform and the people you are trying to reach.
- Share relevant and valuable content: Share relevant and valuable content that is interesting and useful to your audience.
- Engage with others: Engage with others on the platform by commenting on their posts and sharing their content.
- Be authentic: Be authentic and genuine in your communication to build trust and credibility with your audience.
- Respond to comments and messages: Respond to comments and messages in a timely and professional manner.
- Avoid controversial topics: Avoid controversial topics that could be seen as insensitive or offensive.
- Proofread your posts: Proofread your posts for errors and clarity before posting.
- Use hashtags: Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts and to help others find your content.
- Use visuals: Use visuals such as images or videos to make your posts more engaging.
Professional Communication Skills | Popl
There you have it, everything you need to know about the top professional communication skills and how to improve them. One final thing to keep in mind is to go easy on yourself. If you say something imperfectly or make a social mistake, it’s okay - not the end of the world. Just laugh it off (as best you can), and show everyone that you’re okay with yourself, even your mistakes.
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