Communication in the workplace can be a challenge. Here are six quick tips to help.
1. Slow down…. Multitasking is an essential skill for survival in the fast-paced office today. It can distract from face-to-face human interaction when you are half listening and half doing something else. Slow down–a client, co-worker, and/or superior who has your undivided attention will feel validated, and you will understand their needs more accurately and can create the better product or result that they are looking for.
2. Hold and/or bite your tongue When a coworker challenges, wounds, intimidates you or just is damn annoying, words that can come out of your mouth that are not eloquent, kind, or even intelligible. Harsh words usually hurt both the recipient and the speaker. Take a minute to chose the words and the message you’d like to convey. Consider the tone and content, and act accordingly. If your fuse is short, schedule a time to address the issue later–and give yourself time to assess.
3. Check the Neutrality of your questions The phrasing and diction of questions can change their meaning and their effect. Here are different ways of asking for the same information:
(A) What action have you taken on the expense reports?
(B) So where are we at on the expense reports?
(C) How come you’ve taken no action on the expense reports?
Question (A) assumes that the person you are asking has taken care of an issue, and implies that if s/he has not, there is a problem with productivity or efficiency.
Question (B), by using the plural first person “We,” puts both parties on the same side, and encourages a teamwork approach moving forward.
Question (C) is an accusation. Be aware of the implications behind your questions, and minimize conflict.
4. Leave difficult, unpleasant people The less you engage with perpetually angry, cranky, impatient people, the fewer conflicts you will engage in. If the Grump happens to be your superior, keep interchanges as short and positive as possible. Taking on their attitude and energy rarely helps either of you–they likely won’t change, and if you mirror their behavior, the interaction will not be positive. One thing that makes every boss happy? Excellent work! Co-workers are teammates and it’s important to have healthy relationships with them–BUT the boss and the clients are the main people who will project you forward in your career. Put your people-pleasing energy where it can do the most good..sometimes the least deserving person.
5. Under-react Overreacting to conflicts damages your reputation and your future success more than it could harm the professional trajectory and/or feelings of another person in your office. Staying cool, calm, and collected is the key to minimizing conflict.
6. Don’t try to get even “Getting even” is a waste of time as much as getting angry. Your time is too valuable for either of these stressful activities. Recognize your emotions. Use outstanding anxiety or anger as fuel to move you forward. Victory over conflict is your success.
This list is from the newsletter of Brigid Duffield. an Attorney, Mediator, Author, and Speaker from Wheaton, Illinois. More information about Brigid Duffield can be found on her website: www.brigidduffield.com