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Effective Communication in the Workplace

Good communication is a key ingredient to understanding people around us in both our personal and professional lives. In the workplace, effective communication is essential for managing relationships with the people you work with. If we say too much, people may lose interest or maybe even get confused. If we say too little, it leaves room for interpretation.

Ineffective communication can lead to gaps that can often cause confusion. If we don’t address these gaps, it can lead to frustration, low morale, and disengage employees. Different people interpret information in different ways; however, miscommunication doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. It just means that more communication needs to take place.

While communicating, it’s important both you and the person you are communicating with are aligned to ensure a clear outcome. The acronym ALIGN allows us to ensure clear communication and reduce misunderstandings which in turn, can decrease the potential for conflict.

A – Ask Question

L – Look & Listen

I – Identify Intent

G – Get to the Outcome

N – Never Assume


It’s important to understand that intentions may change throughout a conversation. This may require you to either start from the beginning of the acronym or at the phase that needs to be clarified. Let’s now dig deeper into ALIGN and how it can be a helpful tool when communicating.


A - Ask Questions

It’s important to first ask questions to ensure you fully understand what the conversation is about. By asking the right questions, you will have a stronger understanding of the information that is being communicated to ensure there is no confusion.

L – Look & Listen

Once you have asked your questions and understand the reason for the conversation, the next step is to dig a little further and not just listen to what they are saying, but also how they are saying it. This phase also gives you an indication whether you need to revisit phase one, which is to ask more questions, continue the conversation, or end the conversation short.  Keep in mind that nonverbal communication plays an important role in our lives because it can improve a person’s ability to relate, engage, and establish meaningful interactions. Look at facial expressions, body language, and eye


I – Identify Intent

After we have asked our questions, read the body language, the third phase is to identify intent. What do they want from you? By identifying the intent of the conversation, it allows us to identify how we can best respond.

G – Get to the Outcome

We have now asked our questions, read nonverbal cues, understand the intent, now let’s get to the outcome. What is the end result? Do they need advice? Do you provide them feedback? Identifying the intent followed by the outcome, concludes the conversation ensuring everyone is aligned on the end result. By dragging out a conversation or meeting longer than it needs to be can cause confusion and participants can end up getting bored or lose interest.  If the outcome is not clear, it may mean you need to back up a few steps to clarify the reason for the conversation and start the process from that point.

N – Never Assume

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different experiences. Assuming you know how someone feels, what they are thinking, or that whatever they are feeling or thinking will resolve itself can be harmful to both parties. By not assuming, you will increase alignment in communications, engagement, and motivation.

Our life experiences provide us each a unique perspective. We each have different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences that impact our perception. By using the ALIGN acronym, we can ensure clear communication every step of the way.


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