Communication Tool Box…Tools to Communicate Effectively

Vanessa Hill

If you sit behind a desk, you may wonder why you would need a tool box.  You may not even own a tool box!  Well, if you have ever done any home improvements, you will have come across certain jobs that forced you to run to the store to pick up the correct tool.  Slowly over time you obtain more tools, and need a tool box to keep them organized.   

Think of communication styles and methods as tools within your tool box at work.Communication comes in many forms, such as speaking, listening, and writing.  Each person communicates differently, which means you need different tools in your toolbox to help communicate clearly with those around you. 

Just because you work for the same company and even under the same roof as your co-workers does not mean everyone communicates the same way.  Over time, you learn that certain communication styles or methods work best with various individuals within the office. Once you have established the preferred communication style, store that knowledge in your tool box until you need to communicate with that team member again.  Be smart about how you choose to communicate with your team members.  Using the correct communication tool will benefit you and provide results.  For instance, email is a great communication tool, but it is not always the best for the specific task on hand.

Below are some communication styles and methods you should have in your tool box for those you work with on a regular basis. 

Know if they prefer in-person, email or telephone communication when asking a quick question.

Today’s society has become so email happy, that we sometimes forget there are other methods of communication that may be just as fast or faster.  Time is valuable; make sure the method you are using is effective and preferred by the person with whom you are communicating.

The preferred time of day for in-house meetings.

Some people prefer morning meetings because they are more alert or they want fewer interruptions during the afternoon.  Others prefer late afternoons because they have completed their deadlines and may have more time available.   

Know if they prefer soft copy or hard copy when reviewing documents.

Some people prefer to hold the document in their hands and make corrections and notes on the physical piece of paper.  Others may prefer to keep this document as a soft copy that may be viewed from different devices, or to be environmentally friendly. 

Certain words or phrases they prefer in written materials.

Sometimes it helps to use the language your subject prefers, to save yourself time in the revision stage.   

Remember to share and discuss positive news.

All too often we only share or discuss negative news in meetings or in the hallways.  You should make sure to share positive news and let people know what a good job they are doing on a project.  This includes superiors.   

Your communication tool box will be ever changing and evolving.  There will always be room for more tools and knowledge.  Keep in mind that communication is not easy, so understanding a few of these simple daily communication styles will help you communicate effectively within your own office.  Communication may not always be perfect, but with our tool box we can maximize our communication effectiveness.


Vanessa Hill is the Marketing Coordinator at McManis Faulkner.  She facilitates all firm marketing events and maintains the firm’s social media pages.  For more information, please visit

About the author Vanessa Hill

Vanessa oversees and implements the firm’s marketing programs and keeps partners abreast of current trends and strategies in legal marketing.  She serves as event coordinator for all firm events at Levi Stadium and the SAP Center of San Jose.