Effective communication and effective listening go hand-in-hand, but we find ourselves, and others, listening less…and less. This is due to not only lack of time, but quite often we’re occupied with our high-tech gadgets and social networking.

At work, effective communication and listening skills help ensure understanding, build relationships, solve problems, resolve conflicts, and improve productivity. Being able to communicate effectively helps form highly efficient teams in the workplace…it helps employees and managers work together harmoniously. And what’s the result of a team that works well together? A highly productive, reliable and responsible team.

Effective Communicators:

– Provide detailed information

– Are realistic in expectations

– Are proactive, assertive and action-oriented

– Communicate choices instead of demands

– Are honest

– Listen

– Ask questions when unclear

Poor Communicators:

– Provide inaccurate or incomplete information

– Criticize others publicly

– Blame others when problems arise

– Use aggressive or threatening language

– Make sarcastic remarks

– Don’t listen

– Act bossy and negative

Effective Listeners:

– Face the speaker

– Be attentive, but relaxed

– Keep an open mind

– Try to picture what the speaker is saying

– Do not interrupt

– Ask questions when unclear

Poor Listeners:

– Check their phone/watch

– Are distracted

– Listen with preconceived judgments

– Miss out on body language

– Frequently interrupt to impose their opinions

– Do not ask for clarification

Employees are more receptive to feedback on poor performance and at-risk behavior when it’s done in a friendly, positive and respectful manner. In this manner, feedback will be accepted without resentment or retaliation. Personal praise and recognition for safe behavior and safety accomplishments should be provided.

To improve your communication/listening skills, be assertive, confident, action-oriented, express your opinions directly and honestly. Don’t forget to be respectful of others’ opinions, to listen carefully and thank them for their input.

Effective safety communication leads to improved safety performance and better morale.


Geller, E. S. People-Based Safety: The Source. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training Technologies Corporation