No matter what your position entails, communication is one of the most important skills you can bring to any job. Lack of effective workplace communication leads to disgruntled employees, confused employees, and can cause all sorts of unsettling conflict for leaders. Every day people quit jobs due to lack of communication from their leaders, or employees are fired for their inability to communicate well with their peers. So, how can you improve this vital workplace skill?

First, start by fostering a communication-friendly workspace. You can set the tone for this by asking questions, challenging ideas, and communicating your thoughts with your team. To keep communication friendly, pay attention to your non-verbal communication such as smiling, leaning in, and maintaining eye contact. Ask people about their weekend, their kids, their hobbies, etc.

Communicate more face-to-face. It’s so easy in the modern workplace to send a chat message on Skype for Business, shoot over an email, or even send a text message to your coworkers. How often do you make an effort to actually get up, walk over to your coworkers desk, and have a face to face conversation? Electronic communication is convenient and quick, but it’s no substitute for genuine face to face interaction. Don’t allow electronics to make your communication style become lazy.

Make sure to not only hear but really listen what people are saying. Show authentic interest in what your colleagues or leaders are saying to you, and really process the meaning behind the message. Show you are engaged by asking follow up questions and showing attentive body language. Be present in the moment—don’t think about your list of to-do’s, or plan for what you will say next, truly listen to what the person is expressing.

Communication is truly key to a positive work environment. The ability to communicate well with others is so much more than just your ability to speak. Listening, engaging, and body language are also major players in the process of communication. Poor communication can cause countless problems, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and just an overall negative workspace. So, if you can master this skill, you will really be able to shine in your role. For more career advice, or to learn more, click here.