The Three P’s of Effective Workplace Communication

Effective workplace communication is the backbone of any successful organisation. To achieve this, communication must embody three key principles: politeness, professionalism, and positivity.

Successful Communication Skills: The Three Ps - Polite, Professional, and Positive

Polite Communication:

    1. Active Listening: Politeness starts with active listening. When someone is speaking, give them your full attention. Avoid interrupting and resist the urge to formulate your response while they are still talking. Instead, focus on understanding their perspective.
    2. Respect Differences: The workplace is often a diverse environment with individuals from various backgrounds and experiences. Polite communication involves respecting these differences, whether they relate to culture, age, gender, or perspectives. Encourage an open exchange of ideas and show appreciation for the richness of diverse viewpoints.
    3. Constructive Feedback: When providing feedback, choose your words carefully. Frame your comments in a way that encourages improvement without demoralising the individual. Use “I” statements to express your thoughts and feelings instead of making accusatory “you” statements.
    4. Use “Please” and “Thank You”: Simple courtesies like saying “please” when making requests and “thank you” when expressing gratitude can go a long way in making your communication polite. These phrases convey respect and appreciation.
    5. Avoid Gossip: Gossiping or speaking negatively about colleagues undermines a polite work environment. Instead, address concerns directly with the person involved or through appropriate channels.

Successful Communication Skills: The Three Ps - Polite, Professional, and Positive

Professional Communication:

    1. Clear and Concise: Professional communication values clarity and conciseness. Avoid jargon or overly technical language that may confuse others. Be direct and articulate your ideas clearly.
    2. Appropriate Tone and Language: Tailor your tone and language to suit the context and the audience. Formality may be required in certain situations, while a more casual tone may be appropriate in others. Always err on the side of professionalism.
    3. Timeliness: Professional communication respects time constraints. Respond to emails and messages in a timely manner. If you can’t meet a deadline, communicate proactively, and negotiate a new one.
    4. Use of Technology: In the digital age, email and instant messaging are common communication tools. Use them thoughtfully and be aware of the potential for misinterpretation. Ensure that your written communication is professional, free of typos, and follows established guidelines.
    5. Conflict Resolution: Conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. A professional approach involves addressing conflicts calmly and privately, seeking solutions rather than assigning blame, and involving appropriate parties when necessary.

Successful Communication Skills: The Three Ps - Polite, Professional, and Positive

Positive Communication:

    1. Encouragement and Recognition: Recognise and celebrate achievements, both big and small. Acknowledging the efforts of colleagues and teams boosts morale and motivates individuals to excel.
    2. Constructive Positivity: Positive communication isn’t just about offering praise; it’s also about providing constructive feedback in a supportive manner. Emphasise opportunities for growth and improvement rather than dwelling on mistakes.
    3. Solution-Oriented: When challenges arise, focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems. A positive mindset promotes resilience and a proactive approach to issues.
    4. Emotional Intelligence: Being emotionally intelligent means understanding and managing your own emotions while also being attuned to the emotions of others. This skill helps create a positive and empathetic workplace.
    5. Gratitude: Express gratitude regularly. A simple “thank you” can brighten someone’s day and strengthen relationships within the team.

Successful Communication Skills: The Three Ps - Polite, Professional, and Positive


Effective workplace communication, rooted in politeness, professionalism, and positivity, is a powerful tool for success.

Further reading

Improve your communication skills with these 7 tips

Effective Communication Skills. 3 tips to address Conflict

How to be Assertive with Senior Managers and Clients

In the professional world, the ability to be assertive is an invaluable skill, especially when dealing with senior managers, clients, and stakeholders.

Assertiveness is expressing your needs, opinions, and boundaries with confidence and respect.

Here are 8 useful strategies you can adopt as you aim to master this essential art in the workplace.

How to be Assertive with Senior Managers and Clients

Recognising the Importance of Assertiveness

Senior managers, clients, and stakeholders often hold significant influence, and navigating interactions with them requires a delicate balance of respect and assertiveness. Being assertive in these situations establishes your credibility, ensures your contributions are acknowledged, and fosters a more transparent and productive working relationship.

Confidence in Your Communication

Confidence is the cornerstone of assertiveness. Before engaging with senior managers, clients, or stakeholders, take the time to prepare. Confidence comes from knowledge, so arm yourself with the facts, anticipate questions or concerns, and be ready to articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely.

Choosing the Right Language

The language you use plays a crucial role in assertive communication. Be direct and specific in expressing your ideas, needs, or concerns. Avoid ambiguous or overly apologetic language that may undermine your message. For example, instead of saying, “I’m not sure, but maybe we could consider…” say, “I recommend that we explore this approach because…”

How to be Assertive with Senior Managers and Clients

Setting Boundaries Diplomatically

Senior managers, clients, and stakeholders may have demanding expectations, and it’s essential to set boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance. When faced with unrealistic deadlines or excessive workloads, assertively communicate your capacity and negotiate more realistic expectations. For instance, say, “I understand the urgency of this project, but given my current workload, I propose extending the deadline by a week to ensure we can deliver high-quality results.”

Active Listening and Constructive Feedback

When engaging with senior managers, clients, or stakeholders, listen attentively to their perspectives and concerns. Acknowledge their input before presenting your own, and be open to collaborative problem-solving. Constructive feedback should be framed positively, focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on issues.

How to be Assertive with Senior Managers and Clients

Managing Conflicts Professionally

When conflicts arise, address them promptly and professionally. Use “I” statements to express your feelings or concerns without placing blame. For example, say, “I feel there might be a misunderstanding, and I would appreciate the opportunity to clarify my perspective.”

Adapting to Different Communication Styles

Being assertive requires adaptability. Pay attention to the communication preferences of senior managers, clients, and stakeholders. Tailor your approach to align with their preferences, whether it’s providing concise written updates, scheduling regular face-to-face meetings, or using data-driven presentations.

Balancing Confidence and Humility

Assertiveness doesn’t mean arrogance. Balancing confidence with humility is crucial in building positive relationships. Acknowledge the expertise of others and be open to learning from their experiences. A collaborative and humble approach fosters a culture of mutual respect, making assertive communication more effective and well-received.

How to be Assertive with Senior Managers and Clients


Mastering the art of assertiveness when dealing with senior managers, clients, and stakeholders is essential for professional success. By building confidence, choosing the right language, setting boundaries, actively listening, managing conflicts professionally, adapting to communication styles, and balancing confidence with humility, individuals can navigate these crucial interactions with effectiveness and integrity.

Further Reading

Assertiveness Simplified

Ten Ways to be more Assertive at Work