How To Effectively Communicate With Co-Workers

How To Effectively Communicate With Co-Workers

No matter what industry, employer or role you’re in, one thing is universal: Your relationships with your co-workers can make or break your employee experience.

We’ve all likely felt both ends of that spectrum: a job where co-workers became friends and even family—and the unfortunate situation where relationships with co-workers were challenging and made the work environment less than satisfying. Like with any relationship, success or failure of the connection between co-workers may largely come down to one thing: communication.

Whether you’re looking to turn around a struggling relationship with a colleague or just want to build on an already strong foundation with another co-worker, here are a few tips to make the most of your workplace relationships:

Be transparent

Simple, straightforward communication is often the key to effective relationships. Communication can get muddied when we try to talk around a problem or avoid directness. Instead, opt for transparency to keep confusion or misunderstanding out of the conversation.

Understand how co-workers best communicate

In today’s digital age, your colleagues may all prefer different communication methods: face-to-face, on the phone, virtual calls, emails or even texts. Get to know what avenue your co-workers gravitate toward and then lean into that. Co-worker relationships can be built more smoothly when each person is communicating how they’re most comfortable.

Recognize the differences among communication channels

Given that today’s workers communicate in person, online and everywhere in between, it’s important to remember that there are distinct differences in those forms of communication. For instance, in person or on a video call, you may be able to read your co-workers’ non-verbal cues to understand their feelings better, which isn’t possible in written communication. Given that, work to avoid making assumptions about a co-worker’s emotions or intentions, especially when you’re not communicating face-to-face.

Practice active listening

For communication to actually be effective, both people need to be truly listening to one another. That means considering the other’s point of view without judgment—and not just waiting for one’s turn to speak!

Bring empathy, not emotions

Even though co-workers may just be communicating about work matters, doing so requires high levels of cooperation and collaboration, and the ability to be creative and consider each other’s viewpoints—and that requires a lot of empathy! Central to effective co-worker communication is a willingness to put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes, to see where they’re coming from and what’s informing their unique vantage point—and that may mean working hard to keep your own frustrations at bay. Doing so, while a challenge, can ensure that the lines of communication stay open, and that you and your co-workers create relationships that are productive—and enjoyable!