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Professional Communication

Last updated January 2, 2020

Good communication on the job is critical! Learning how to communicate well in your professional life will help you build strong relationships with your co-workers and bosses, mitigate conflicts, and avoid unnecessary confusion. Read on to learn the essentials of how to talk to your boss and co-workers effectively.

Pay close attention to instructions!

man paying attention

Your boss and co-workers will both give you instructions on how to do your job – it’s up to you to do your best to absorb them the first go-round and ask pertinent questions as much as possible.


  • Take notes and ask for a printed copy of the instructions.
  • Ask for clarification if something isn’t clear.
  • Confirm that you know what you need to do and by when.

Start conversations professionally

woman very poised while speaking

Throughout your career, and especially starting out, you’ll receive confusing instructions, fuzzy deadlines, half-baked assignments, and more! Knowing how to address these issues professionally with your boss and co-workers is critical to be successful.


  • If you have questions, ask your boss or colleagues for a time to talk through them.
  • Here’s an example of what you could say:

“Excuse me [boss/coworker], could we chat about [the project you assigned/we’re working on] whenever you have a moment?”

Meet your deadlines!

woman praising another person

The key to a successful career is finishing the things you’re assigned on time and with a focus on quality.


  • Use a calendar to track every deadline.
  • Avoid procrastinating – set yourself mini-deadlines along the way.
  • If you’re having trouble meeting a deadline, or need more time – tell your co-workers or boss ahead of time!

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