Communication Tools in the Workplace

Communication may be the single most important skill we have as humans. While we have the ability to communicate with one another, some of us work our whole lives to become good at communicating in our work setting. More on specific communication skills at a later date, but today, we wanted to talk about avenues for communication in a health care setting-and how to use them.


Email is an easy and ever-accessible form of communication. It allows you to be more verbose than some electronic venues, and can allow for the most thorough written descriptions. For answering complex questions, or referring to literature, policies, or other documents, email gives us a platform to provide extensive information to anyone, anywhere around the world, at any time of day. It also allows for crafting a well-worded message, despite any emotional tensions that may be involved in a given scenario. However, email has a few downfalls. Although email etiquette varies with regard to expectations for response time, but in general, emails should not require an immediate response. Additionally, sometimes sensitive subjects, including those that could be taken the wrong way, really require a face-to-face conversation. There are many sources on email etiquette, we like this one.

Paging or Texting

Paging or texting a colleague is great for short messages or thoughts. These forms of communication typically elicit a faster response, but are even more limited in characters than emails. While emails typically have a plethora of etiquette articles and teachings, paging or texting has far less literature associated. This article posted on LinkedIn gives a few tips, but on the whole, texting in the workplace is not standardized. In fact, some workplaces ban use of cell phones in the workplace. The best thing to do to understand expectations with regard to texting is to establish them with your supervisor-if a work text is sent, how long do I have to respond? What is my obligation to respond after hours?

As a side note, it’s always safest to use proper grammar, and leave the emojis out of your work texts or pages.

Verbal conversations

While we have a number of electronic communication options, nothing can substitute for a face to face conversation. But a conference call, or video call can come close, can still connect a number of people, particularly when distance is an issue. Consider carefully the content of your message, and the urgency, when deciding whether to discuss verbally, or electronically. However, preparation for a verbal conversation that is sensitive should be just as thorough as a well thought out written response. One excellent resource is a book called “Crucial Conversations” by Patterson and Grenny. This is one of the few books that will truly be LIFE CHANGING. Available on Amazon here, this book is truly useful for every conversation you have at work or at home.

What are your favorite communication tips? What topics would you like us to delve further into? Leave us a message below!


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