Make us your home page

Three communication strategies for success at work

Communication: It's the life blood of business, right along with cash flow and branding.

"If you have a gift for the spoken and written word, you will always put your best foot forward," workplace expert and author Lynn Taylor wrote in a article, "The 20 People Skills You Need to Succeed at Work." (Nov., 15, 2013)

"Being articulate is highly prized in today's workplace, when time is at a premium and technology requires constant communication," she wrote.

Yet communication can be tricky — especially when you are trying to communicate directly to your employees and customers. The communication style you use can make all the difference. Here are some examples of how to communicate strategically.

Verbal humor: Sometimes you need an attention getter that only verbal humor can provide. When you have something to say that could be controversial, humor can be the "sugar" that makes the medicine go down. It is most effective when it is creative and unexpected.

On a recent Southwest Airlines flight, an attendant was going through the usual patter about safety precautions, equipment and what to do during an emergency. He employed the typical Southwest humorous style to get our attention:

For those of you who must smoke during this flight, please use the exits on either side of the plane. We invite you to stand on the wing. There you will be treated to the modern version of Gone With the Wind.

Lots of laughter. He got his point across.

Written communication: Watch your words. What is the situation and who is your audience? Thanks to the proliferation of email, texting and all forms of social media, many people get lazy about their written communication. It's easy to forget that what you write is not just a message. It reflects who you are and how you present yourself.

Also, given business standards for record keeping, it will live forever. Tailor your wording, style and degree of formality to the audience, the situation and the importance of the communication. And, yes, spelling and punctuation do count.

Face-to-face communication: Talking directly with another person is a two-way street. You can hear the tone, inflections and volume. You can see the facial expressions, hand movements and posture.

So, when you are going to talk to someone on a one-on-one basis, or when you are making a presentation to a group, take some time to plan your communication style.

Is this the right vehicle for your message? Are you choosing the words, expressions and body language that will best convey your message and elicit the response you want? Are you giving your audience the time and space to respond?

Peter Guber, film producer and chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, said, "Nothing replaces being in the same room, face-to-face, breathing the same air and reading and feeling each other's micro-expressions."

Marie R. Stempinski is president and founder of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business development and "encore career" consulting for people over 50. She can be reached at

Three communication strategies for success at work 06/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]