7 Communication Tips That Get You Noticed

Looking for a promotion, but your boss barely even knows your name? It’s a common problem, especially in today’s environment. Cost reductions and downsizing usually results in supervisors having 2-3 times the normal amount of reports. So, how do you stand out in the crowd and differentiate yourself from everyone else?

Since your communications skills and style molds much of the impression on you as a worker, I’ve put together a few tips to help improve these skills. While these alone can’t get you a promotion, it will definitely put you on the right path.

Have an Opinion? Speak Up!

We’ve all seen the movie where the little guy in the office speaks his opinion in a conference room. All around the table, the rest of the suits grow quiet, first stare at him, then turn to the boss to see how they should react. Later, the little guy goes on to get his big break and becomes wildly successful.

Now, this may be an over-exaggeration because after all, it is the movies. However, in the real world, there is some truth to this… just maybe not as dramatic.

What you may not realize is that most people in a work environment try very hard not to stand out in the crowd. They’re afraid to draw attention to themselves and possibly be seen as a trouble maker.

The truth is most (good) managers are looking for people who have an opinion and aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Even if you’re opinion turns out to be wrong, it’s still admired that you spoke up.

Be a Quick Responder

In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by emails, phone calls, and tweets, it’s become commonplace to not expect a response from people for days… sometimes weeks at a time. After all, we’re all busy doing our own thing.

What gets noticed are the people who respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner. Even if it’s just to say; “Thanks!” or “I got your message and will get back to you soon”, it conveys that you’ve received the message and you will be looking into it.

It’s the same concept as talking to someone one-on-one. We nod, give facial expressions, and say “uh huh” as someone else is talking to confirm that we are in fact listening. The same concepts should apply to all forms of communication.

Focus Your Communications

In other words, don’t bulls#%t!

If you can’t interject anything productive into the conversation, don’t talk at all. But when you do have something productive to add, speak up.

This trains people to know that when you talk, you’re talking for a reason. That you have something important to say and they should listen.

Otherwise, if you’re just talking to talk or trying to stand out, people will just see you as a blowhard, with nothing important to add.

Always Be Constructive

Notice I said constructive — not positive or cheery.

It’s not appropriate to be positive or cheery in all situations. A good example of this is when someone gets laid off or your team misses a goal.

Having a constructive attitude towards both good and bad situations portrays a good balance of professionalism and humanity. That you understand and recognize that things are tough, but things still need to be done.

If You Don’t Know, Say So

We’re all very busy. Aside from our regular work duties, there’s meetings, conference calls, and webinars that can take up to 50% of our work days. Nobody has time to listen to rubbish, and more times than not, it can be spotted a mile away.

If you don’t know the answer to something, say so:

“You know… I don’t know the answer to that, but I will find out and get back to you this afternoon.”

The key here is to follow up on your promise. You may not know the answer to the question, but you will find out and you will get back to them.

Take Responsibility

We’ve all been there before—something goes wrong and it’s your fault.

The worst thing you could do in this type of situation is to try to lay blame on someone else or “weasel” your way out of it.

If something goes wrong and it’s your fault, or even partially your fault, own up to it and take responsibility. Even though you did something wrong or made a mistake, by taking responsibility for it, you’ll earn more respect in the long run.

Don’t Brown Nose

Like anyone, this is about the most annoying type of office personality. Chances are, you can identify that person in your office, and if you can’t, it’s probably you.

The cold hard fact is nobody respects them—including the boss. Sure, it may get you invited to the executive golf outing, but you’ll probably end up as the caddy.

Any I missed?

These are a few tips that I’ve used to improve my reputation around the office, especially with the higher levels. But, as always, there can be many more that I missed.

If you have any additions, please feel free to add them in the comments.

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communication tricks, office communication tips

In Addition to a Web Operations Manager for a b2b publishing company, Troy also works as a Freelance New Media Consultant and Web Developer. If you'd like to learn more, visit his blog at troypeterson.com or Follow Troy on twitter @tpeterson


  1. Tanja on the 11th November

    Good article, thanks. I would like to add:

    If you have an idea (not only an opinion), talk about it.
    Even if your idea turns out to be not the best, a discussion about it may lead to another, better idea which improves an important process or saves money etc.

    Collaborate and share your knowledge
    People who think that they are irreplaceable if they keep all their knowledge a secret, are just wrong. Share what you know, because this way you get a lot of information back and you will soon be known – and respected – as an expert.

    • King Sidharth on the 11th November

      Nice tips Tanja, now this article is complete!

    • Troy Peterson on the 12th November

      Great Point Tanja!… Having Ideas instead of opinions.

      It’s also interesting how you bring up sharing knowledge. I’ve survived many layoff rounds and have seen people who thought they were indispencable only to be shocked when they get laid off.

  2. Chris Nzuriwatu on the 11th November

    I totally agree. I used to be the guy who sat back and kept his opinions to himself, but quickly noticed that when I spoke up, it added value and my ideas/opinions at a minimum helped to get the momentum going which fed a more lively discussion where other (sometimes better) ideas emerged.

    Speak up!

  3. Hudson on the 11th November

    Some very good points here.

    I remember working with a marketing manager who could’ve done with heeding some of these points. He would take ages to reply to emails (unless you were his superior of course, in which case he’d drop whatever he was doing to reply – even if he was in the middle of talking to someone), he would constantly feel the need to talk, even if he knew nothing about the subject (which just made him look stupid), and he would always try and pass the blame for errors onto somebody else.

    Something else I learnt from my time working with him would be to give credit where it’s due, rather than trying to pass off other people’s work/efforts as your own. It marks you out as somebody who recognises the team they are part of and appreciates the work others do, rather than just always trying to claim the glory for yourself.

    • Tanja on the 12th November

      That’s another good point, Hudson. People who claim their coworker’s result’s as their own, will be excluded from the team – sooner or later – and nobody will trust them and give them important informations.

    • Troy Peterson on the 13th November

      Awesome point Hudson!

      People who claim credit for others people’s work always get caught.
      Whether it be through official or non-official communications (office bantor and rumors) it will always get around and eventually to the brass when someone steals credit.

  4. Francis Desvaux on the 14th November

    Well constructed article. I could recognize a number of usefull tricks here. I am personnaly using in addition another trick : try to understand clearly what the others have grabbed from your communication. There are several ways of doing this, like rephrasing, or asking like “do we agree that what we’ve said is….” Communication is a two-way process, all the time, and it is often pertubated with a number of filters or noises in the middle. So better make sure that what you have said a) has been through all the perturbations and b) has been interpreted by the other part with the correct filters.

  5. Michael W on the 16th November

    Great article! I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the need for opinions to be shared.

    I disagree with your point about being positive, however. I think being positive is appropriate for all situations, especially in the face of failing to meet a team goal or similar circumstances.

    I’m with you on the “cheery” part, though. I think it’s appropriate to be positive in such situations, so long as you’re not coming across as Mary Poppins. No need for anyone to come to the table bringing a fake smile and a spoonful of sugar trying to cloak or minimize the impact of the setback.

  6. Bim on the 21st November

    Wish I’d read something like this 5 years ago. I’ve learnt all this as I went along. Good tips and I’ll be recommending to others to read this. I’ve been known at work as an ideas-man. I like that 🙂

  7. AJ on the 8th December

    Very informative article. I would like to add something though:

    While it is good to share your knowledge of what you know as well as how to help others accomplish tasks in a more efficient manner, its always best to avoid being used. There is a line when co-workers go from “needing help” to “I forgot, well its ok, so and so will tell me again”. I’ve learned this the hard way as I let people know I “knew computers” and now I have gone from a sales person to a “my computer is broken and IT is busy, can you fix this” or while in a meeting a manager will say “well, i don’t know anything about that, [looks at you] what your take on it”.

    All in all I agree to help people and without a doubt share knowledge, just be wary of those who accept it all to quickly.

  8. Abass on the 30th December

    Super good article, I agree with all that you mentioned in the article. How ever, would like to add one more.
    Animal get to know each other by smell of scent, and man kind would know each other by communicating. The more effective you are in communicating the easier you make for others to know and understand you. one thing to do is when you talk don’t be too fast to congest the mind of the listener or be too slow to bore.


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