• Alexandra Horn

Tips for Effective Communication in the Workplace

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Dallas, Texas – Effective communication in the workplace is one of the single most important factors when determining whether a team, or organization, will ultimately succeed or not. Communication, and the template for how to communicate at a high level, is an area we often focus on with the groups we work with during many of our corporate workshops here in the Dallas area.


Effective communication in the workplace has an impact that goes far beyond the metrics of productivity and top-line and bottom-line numbers. A work environment with communication issues is one that will inevitably have to deal with significant HR related obstacles.



One HR-metric that will become noticeable over time (even in the short-term) is a staff turnover rate that could be worrisome. Retention, recruiting, productivity and overall staff happiness are all related to how an organization, or at a more micro level, how a team, communicates with each other - from management to their staff, as well as the way colleagues interact with each other.


Whether through one of our custom designed team building workshops, or specifically focusing on a communication in the workplace workshop, we love working with teams to help them create a culture of collaboration, open communication, support and engagement.


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(if you’d like to learn more about what we do here at Improv to Improve when we work with our clients, contact us at Alex at Alex@improvtoimprove.org or Kayce at Kayce@improvtoimprove.org and we’ll be happy to provide you with more details on the range of corporate workshops focused on communication, team building workshops that tie directly to effective communication in the workplace, as well as our popular Presentation Skills workshops that focus on “thinking on your feet”, clear and confident messaging and communicating, etc.)


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With that, here are two quick tips you can apply immediately to help you become a more effective communicator in the workplace.


Effective Communication in the workplace Tip #1) Active Listening Pretty straight forward, but surprisingly something that eludes many people as they move through their day…is to actually listen. To give someone their undivided attention. People know when they’re being actively listened to, or if the other person, or group, are simply biding their time until they can jump in to say what they wanted to say (or have completely zoned out).


Commit to actively listening to colleagues whenever you’re engaged with them, and you’ll notice the benefits right away.


Improv can’t work unless everyone is actively listening and reacting in the moment to what’s being communicated…if someone on the team is just biding their time, waiting until they can jump in to take the scene in the direction they wanted, it’s going to end up as a big fail…maybe not every time, but enough that not only will the result be bad impov, but you’ll quickly have other players who would prefer not to play with that performer.


Actively listening , respecting the other person and what’s being said (rather than dismissing it to get to your ideas or agenda) can be a game-changer in a workplace when everyone commits.


Effective Communication in the workplace Tip #2) Yes, and As an improv-based corporate training company, the principle of “Yes, and…” is one of the key components we highlight when working with our clients in the areas of creating stronger teams and teams that communicate with each other at a high level.


This doesn’t mean you need to say yes to everything…but embracing the spirit of “Yes, and…”, will go a long way to creating a culture that your staff will love working in.


The approach here is, whenever possible, you want to show up in conversations, meetings, one-on-one interactions with the attitude of being open to accepting the ideas of others and not only accepting, but adding on to them.


Of course there’ll be times when more critical analysis or thought needs to be applied to ideas, but in the beginning, when someone is presenting, or you’re in a brainstorming, or problem-solving setting, hold off on judgement right away and lean in to making it a “Yes, and…” environment.


Leave the “yes, but…”, or the “we already tried that and it didn’t work”, and the “no” anythings at the door. They minimize the contributions and over time will ensure some staff close down, don’t feel supported and certainly will be less enthusiastic about contributing.


Flip that around and watch people flourish, along with ideas and the creative spirit.


In our workshops we go though activities that demonstrate how embracing “Yes, and…” connects teams and creates an organization that communicates at a high level.


Connect with either one of us to find out more - Alex at Alex@improvtoimprove.org or Kayce at Kayce@improvtoimprove.org


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And if you happen to be located in the Seattle area, Vancouver, Canada (or anywhere in Canada) check out our friends at Vancouver TheatreSports, who also work with clients in the area of effective communication in the workplace, team building workshops around the Vancouver area (and again, all over Canada and the Pacific Northwest) and customized corporate workshops for collaboration and communication


Check them out – Team Building in Vancouver

Alexandra Horn

Co-Founder

Kayce Kuntz

Co-Founder

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© 2016 Improv to Improve.  Dallas, TX

Photography by Mimi van Amerongen