guy frustrated at work

Effective communication under stress is a critical leadership component. Communicating under stress is a skill that everyone should have, regardless of their status in a company. Being able to think clearly, maintain composure, and make the right decision is key. If you allow stress to get the best of you, you may say something you didn’t mean to say or even upset those interacting with you. Find out the best tips to effectively communicate under stress by reading on!

Take a Minute and Assess the Situation

Before saying something you may not mean, take a minute to breathe. In the height of emotion, our communication skills may be a bit rocky. It’s best to wait and cool off. If someone is there seeking an immediate response, it’s ok to let them know you’ll get back to them. You want to be thinking rationally before making any decisions. Once you feel a bit more relaxed and calm, assess the situation at hand and approach it with a positive attitude.

Communicate in Person

Instead of immediately rattling off a passive aggressive email, wait! Take the step that we mentioned previously and when you’re ready to approach the situation, go and communicate in person if you can. Be clear and concise and think about your talking points prior. Getting off track or expressing your stress may not go well for the person you’re communicating with.

Paying attention to non-verbal communication is also important. If your body language and tone is exuding stress and anger, you’re going to make the other person feel uncomfortable. If you’re saying one thing, but your body language is saying another, it could also lead to mistrust. Be sure to make eye contact and look comfortable. Don’t be pacing, gripping objects, or tightening your stature.


When stressed, we may go off on a rant or tangent while not even listening to what the other person has to say. It’s important to actively listen! Active listening can actually lower stress because you’ll both be able to understand each other more clearly. The more clear and concise, the less stress involved. Even if you may not agree with what the person is saying, you should still listen. Active listening doesn’t mean you need to agree, it just means you need to understand. Avoid interrupting, nod, make eye contact, and reflect back on what they said are great tips for maintaining good listening.

Being able to step back before saying something when under stress is extremely important and can save a lot of hurt feelings and hostile situations. We hope these steps make a great framework for effective communication under stress. Do you have any special things you do to help lower stress before communicating with others? Share them with us by commenting below!