Office and Workplace Communication Tips

Here are some office and workplace communication tips for effective communication.

Asking questions and saying “I don’t know”

1) Don’t worry about telling someone that you don’t know something. If it’s something that you can find out but just don’t know at the moment, explain this and say when you’ll have the information that someone needs. Be sure to follow up. If you don’t know something and can’t get the information yourself, simply say so. Ask for help if it’s necessary.

2) If you have a question, it could be helpful to say, “I have a question”, and then ask your question. This helps people know with certainty that you are asking a question.

3) If you don’t understand something, don’t be shy about asking for help. If your tone of voice sounds polite, your colleagues will be glad to help you. Ask for help or ask for an explanation if you don’t understand something.

Statement and question intonation

4) If you ask a yes-no question, be sure to use rising intonation. This lets people know with more certainty that you are asking a question and not telling them something.

5) If you ask an information question, meaning a question that begins with what, when, where, which, who, how, or why, start with higher intonation. Starting with higher intonation requires a little more volume. End with intonation that drops off or falls. For falling intonation, your volume will be a little lower. If you start with a question word, or a w-h word, starting higher and ending lower helps people understand you better. Good intonation for English will help people understand you better.

6) If you’re telling someone something, which is to say providing information or making a statement, be sure your intonation drops off or falls at the end. This will help ensure that people know you’re not asking a question and that you’re telling them something, which is to say making a statement.

Providing information

7) When you speak to someone, say what’s important first, and then go on to explanations, additional information, and details.

8) Be sure to provide enough information. Sometimes people don’t know as much as you might think they know. Providing sufficient information is important, and people will appreciate it.

9) Remember that it’s up to you to be sure that people know what you mean to say. If people have questions, they’ll ask. However, if information is missing, they might not always know that information is missing. So start with the main or most important idea, and then provide relevant and important information to be sure that people know what you mean.

Direct communication

10) Don’t worry about pointing out information that is not correct. People won’t automatically believe that you are trying to point out someone’s error. However, be tactful when you communicate. How we say something is just as important as what we say. The goal is to make progress and be sure that information is accurate.

11) If you don’t understand what your colleague says, don’t let the moment pass. Tell your colleague that you don’t understand. Ask your colleague to say it again or to explain it again. If you think that hearing it more slowly will help you, then you should say so.

12) If you don’t agree with something, it’s important to let people know. Again, how we say something is just as important as what we say. Holding back and not letting people know that you disagree with something or that you partially agree with something won’t help your team or department move forward and make progress. Just remember to be tactful. How we say something is just as important as what we say.