Tips for Successful Communication

If you work in a company which has offices in different countries, or if your company does business with foreign companies, you probably use English to communicate. To avoid misunderstandings or poor working relationships, it is very important to have good communication.

The following tips will help you communicate more effectively in English.


  1. Use Simple Words and Sentence Structures
    Avoid idioms and phrasal verbs and keep grammatical structures simple. This has two advantages: the person you are dealing with will be more likely to understand you, and secondly, you will be less likely to make mistakes.
  2. Clarify and Rephrase What you Say and Hear
    Don’t be afraid to check what you have understood. Clarifying (or rephrasing if the other person doesn’t understand) saves time in the future. Try these useful phrases:

    If I understand you correctly…
    If I can rephrase what you’ve just said…
    So you mean…
    Let me rephrase what I’ve just said…
    Let me say that in another way…
    In other words…

  3. Ask If you Don’t Understand
    Don’t just guess the meaning of what someone says. If you are at all unclear, you should ask them to repeat or explain. Here are some useful phrases:

    Sorry, but I don’t understand.
    Can you go over that again?
    I’m not sure I understood your last point.
    Would you mind repeating that?
    Could you say that again, please?
    Could you explain what you mean?

  4. Prepare for Meetings, Presentations and Negotiations
    Before you meet someone, make sure you have prepared any vocabulary or questions you might need. The more familiar you are with any particular vocabulary, the more relaxed you will feel when you meet. It’s also often helpful to “role play” a meeting or negotiation, so that you can predict what sort of questions or issues will arise and how you can best deal with them.
  5. Take Written Notes
    Ask for a written agenda before a meeting so you can prepare. Take notes when others speak (during meetings, telephone conversations etc).

    Follow up meetings or spoken agreements with a written note. Try using these phrases:

    It was good to meet you yesterday. I’m just writing to confirm the main points of our meeting:
    Following our phone call this morning, I just wanted to confirm our agreement:

Contributed by Workplace English Training E-Platform