Elements of Effective Communication in the Workplace

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  • 0:02 Effective Communication
  • 0:47 Practical
  • 1:24 Factual
  • 1:59 Clear & Concise
  • 2:27 Persuasive
  • 3:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Jennifer Lombardo
Expert Contributor
Jerry Allison

Jerry holds a Doctor of Business Administration and a Master’s in Mathematics. He has taught business, math, and accounting for over 25 years.

Effective communication is a necessity in the workplace. There are four elements of effective communication that help improve the two-way information sharing process. These four specific elements involve being concise and clear, practical, factual and persuasive.

Effective Communication

Have you ever had a boss who did not communicate effectively? Maybe your boss rambled on and on and never got to the point? Or perhaps they left confusing or misleading directions for you on how to carry out a work project?

Effective communication is a two-way information-sharing process where one person sends a message that's easy for the receiver to understand. In business, effective communication helps individuals work more productively and efficiently. There are four specific elements of effective communication, which are as follows: practical, factual, concise and clear, and persuasive. All four of the elements are part of a good message. Let's see why these elements are so important when communicating in the workplace.


The Happy Valley candy store sells chocolates in the local mall. Cindy, the manager, is putting together a mandatory email that will be sent out to all employees about a new policy regarding punishment if employees are caught eating the chocolate goods. It seems many employees tend to help themselves during the day to the chocolates, and it's hurting profits.

Cindy will ensure that the message is practical so that her email provides useful information that will make it easy to understand the policy. Cindy's email uses simple, easy language to express that while she understands the chocolate is tempting, it is off-limits.


Cindy is very upset with the disappearing chocolate. The email states that the store has lost over 50 pounds of chocolate due to employees eating on the job.

The second element of effective communication is the need for factual information. Emails, letters, and conversations should all have specific details and information that is accurate and ethical. Since Cindy added her opinion to the email, she then needed to support her accusations with facts. She backed up her statements that employees are eating the chocolate through photos from a surveillance camera.

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Additional Activities

Effective Communication Thought Exercises

Discussion Question 1

Have you ever had a situation where someone has wanted you to do a task, but was not clear in explaining how to do it? How did it make you feel? If you were the one giving the task to someone, how would you have done it better?

Discussion Question 2

Sam works for Almost CPAs as a supervisor. Sam has just come from a meeting with a client who wants to do a complex project that Almost CPAs has never done before. Sam has decided to have Chris do the project. How should Sam communicate the project to Chris? Which mode of communication should Sam use to tell Chris about the project - email, telephone, videoconference, or in-person? Why did you choose what you did? Which of the four elements of effective communication should the chosen method have?

Sam also has another project that he would like Alex to do. This is a routine project and in fact, Alex does it all the time and it shouldn't take much of his time. Since Alex already knows what to do, which mode of communication should Sam use to tell Alex about the project - email, telephone, videoconference, or in-person? Why did you choose what you did?

Group Project

Create a simple picture on a piece of paper such as a square intersecting a triangle or a circle intersecting a rectangle. Have one person from the group go to a whiteboard with a marker. This person must always face the board. A second person will be given the picture and will sit behind the first person. The second person will then instruct the person at the board how to draw the picture. After the picture has been drawn on the board or enough time has expired, discuss what could have been done differently and how the communication could have been better.

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