Common Workplace Communication

Workplace communication skills, and avoiding workplace communication issues, are paramount in today's competitive business world.

Asking for help from a coworker

Let's say you're working on a particular project and your supervisor has mentioned a coworker who may be able to help you. Or perhaps you're having trouble with a project and know of a coworker who has some expertise in that area. When asking for help from a coworker:

  • Assume that this person is busy people with his or her own tasks
  • Ask if he or she has time to talk about something you're working on
  • Don't ask for much time—15 minutes maximum
  • Mention what you're working on and any problems or questions you might have
  • Be specific in your request for help; don't ask for too much
  • Don't expect this person to do your job for you
  • If he or she says "no", be courteous and say "thank you" for his or her time
  • If this coworker is helpful, try to return the favor, such as by offering your expertise on a project, giving a small gift such as an office plant, or treating this person to coffee
  • Thank him or her again at a later time when it's not necessarily expected

Positive communication fosters strong workplace friendships and mentoring relationships.