The Dos and Don'ts of Communication in the Workplace

September 11, 2015

yes and no directional signs

Employee communication seems like it should be straightforward, right? If everyone communicated the same way, it would be a piece of cake. But we don’t. Each person at your workplace is unique, and so is the way they like to communicate and be communicated with.

Despite our differences, there are a few dos and don’ts that can guide you as you interact with your employees or co-workers.

Means of Communication

DON’T: Don’t keep sending emails if you don’t get a timely response and expect things to change. While you may like to receive emails, others prefer different means of communication.

DO: Find out how your co-worker likes to be communicated with and use it the next time you need a quick response.


DON’T: Focusing on the failures or missteps of your co-workers or people you manage won’t get you anywhere. It leaves people feeling down about their work and promotes a lack of trust.

DO: Make sure your conversation maintains a positive tone. Giving praise and providing constructive feedback will make employees feel important and motivate them to improve.


DON’T: When engaging in a conversation—whether with just one person or in a group setting—don’t interrupt. First and foremost, it’s disrespectful; but you’ll also miss out on important information if you’re always jumping the gun.

DO: Stop talking and start listening. When you take a moment to listen, you’ll be sure to get all the information you need and, most importantly, your co-worker will feel like they’re being heard and understood. You’ll gain more clarity and build a stronger relationship with your co-workers.


DON’T: Using all caps in your email or appearing somber when energy is needed can make or break the message you’re trying to convey. An inappropriate tone can distort your message, which can create confusion and achieve a different response that what you were going for.

DO: Using the right tone is imperative. If you’re trying to energize your team for an upcoming event, be sure to express your excitement. Also pay attention to your facial expression, posture, and gestures to be sure they align with your message.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of how to best communicate with your co-workers or employees; however, by understanding how you communicate, providing constructive feedback, listening, and conveying the right tone, you’ll be on the right track. Next time you find yourself struggling to convey your message—or even if you did successfully—think about what it was that made it so. By evaluating your communication with others, you’ll get more accomplished and see collaboration at its best!

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