Career Resources

Workplace Communication Tools

Learn the different types of workplace communication tools & how to use them

Email is widely used as a tool to communicate in the workplace, both with colleagues and people outside of the organization. One thing to remember is that employers have access to your email messages. Although most employers don’t look at employee emails regularly, it’s important to remember that there is a digital record for everything. Keep communication professional and follow communication guidelines. While writing a simple email may seem easy, writing a well communicated email takes practice.

Chat Apps
Messaging tools such as Slack and Google Chat have become more common. Look in your employee handbook for guidelines on how to use these types of communication tools. If there are no guidelines, ask your supervisor or a trusted colleague, and observe how these tools are used in your workplace to better understand the norms and expectations.

Meetings with Your Supervisor & Team Members
Whether you are working virtually or in-person, you will likely have regular meetings with your supervisor, team, and other colleagues in your company to share project updates, upcoming deadlines, discuss challenges or new ideas, and plan for the future.

Effectively communicating with your supervisor and team members is key to successful work relationships. If your supervisor hasn’t shared their communication preferences, it’s okay to ask. When meeting with your supervisor, you should come prepared to discuss updates on what you have accomplished, what you are working, and any updates on upcoming deadlines. If you feel like you may not meet a deadline, talk with your supervisor about this in advance to request support or see if the deadline can be extended. Meetings with your supervisor are also a great time to ask questions, request support if needed, and advocate for your needs. You may also be provided with feedback during these meetings which may include feedback on what you are doing really well and areas for improvement. This is very normal and a great opportunity to learn and grow.

Large meetings
Some workplaces have larger meetings with a wider team or the entire workplace to discuss announcements, updates on large projects, or present the long-term strategy of the company. When you are new to a workplace, take time to observe the role of the attendees at these meetings. Are employees listening only or are questions and engagement encouraged? One way to boost your professional profile is to be engaged in meetings when it’s appropriate, provide feedback if it’s been requested, and offer support if there is a call for volunteers to work on a special project or join a committee.