Good communication at the workplace is vital for many reasons. It eliminates ambiguity, defuses tensions, and builds healthy relationships. Here are four simple tips to improve your professional communication skills.

Keep it formal - When you’re new to an organisation or team, resist the temptation to become informal until you’ve fully understood the company’s culture and policies. Don't use emojis in emails, send Facebook friend requests to colleagues, or casually drop inappropriate comments, criticism, or jokes. Use only officially-sanctioned communication channels and take care to be professional, whether within the office premises or in work-cum-social contexts.

Be dependable - In the era of remote work, the onus is on every employee to take ownership of their work. This means being reachable during work hours, responding promptly to calls or messages, and not retreating behind a ‘wall of digital silence.' If you’re busy at a given moment, say so and offer to reschedule the pending task or discussion. This is a far more considerate use of everyone’s time.

Prepare - Many of us have felt tongue-tied when suddenly called on in a meeting or Zoom call. What is the solution? Assume that you’re expected to contribute to every interaction you attend — whether it is a formal one or a work-social gathering. Write down your thoughts, including user data and/or anecdotes, and keep them ready before you head in. That way, if you’re put on the spot, you’ll sound far more confident and convincing.

Be kind - Uncomfortable conversations are inevitable in the course of work. However, never use language that diminishes someone. Be diplomatic, talk about pre-agreed metrics and values, and listen with empathy. We live in unprecedented times, and everyone’s fighting their own battles. Hence, it’s important to disagree without being rude to each other.