Communicate appropriately

Here we give you the basics about good communication, and tips on how you can develop your skills.


Communication is a very broad term that means a two-way process of exchanging and transferring information. Verbal communication can be spoken or written. Non-verbal includes body language and facial expressions.  

Good communication is important in every job.

What does this mean for you? 

  • communication in the workplace is all about how you interact and build relationships with your colleagues, teammates and managers, and it includes things like how you write emails and reports and how you take part in meetings

  • interpersonal skills are an important part of being a good communicator and these include things like giving and receiving feedback, managing relationships, being aware of body language, listening, managing conflict and having respect for others  

  • by bringing your interpersonal skills into play and following good practice in written communications you’ll be well on the way to building strong professional relationships 

Why is this important? 

  • good communication helps you to work well with others 

How can you develop in this area? 

  • there’s lots that you can do to develop while you’re a student. and working with other students on group projects will really support you in this area.  If you can experience teamwork outside university through volunteering or part time work that’s great too

  • ask people for feedback on your communication skills. This is helpful for you to understand your strengths and where you can still develop. Classmates, colleagues and managers are all suitable people to ask for feedback

  • when you start a new job, check what the relevant procedures are, such as how to deal with emails and what’s expected of you in meetings

  • talk to your manager about how they prefer to communicate

  • observe colleagues who are good communicators and pick up tips from them to help you develop in this area 

Where to find out more 

OpenLearn runs a MOOC, a free course which covers communication in the workplace. It’s a good introduction to this topic: 

OpenLearn MOOC on communication in the workplace

These resources (University of Edinburgh login required) cover the following key areas: 

How to make meetings work for you 

How to handle work emails    

The basics of workplace etiquette  

Building good relationships with colleagues  

TARGETjobs provide advice on building a good relationship with your manager:

TARGETjobs - managing up