Archive for Communication Articles

Workplace Misunderstandings – Limiting Beliefs that Create Conflict

One comment I often hear when it comes to misunderstandings in the workplace is, “If you can just fix my (boss, coworker or customer) then I wouldn’t have any problem communicating.”

Maybe you’re even agreeing with that statement. If you are you have some work to do…inner work.

There are 4 key beliefs you might hold that lead to conflict:

1. I must explain my side first. If you believe this you fail at a fundamental principle of communication. Dr. Stephen Covey put it best, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”

2. I am a good listener. Hate to break it to you but the odds are not in your favor. Most of us fail miserably as listeners while believing the opposite. Listening is not waiting to speak. It’s actually engaging to understand what is being communicated. This, unfortunately, takes some effort.

3. I’m not afraid. Really? Think again. Fear is the underlying issue of all conflict. Fear you won’t get heard, fear of losing face, fear that you might not get your way or fear that the truth about you will be revealed. It’s difficult to get to the truth when you’re operating from a place of fear.

4. I lose if they win. Communication is not a competitive, contact sport. Switch to cooperation mode if you want to manage workplace misunderstandings.

Good communication requires healthy self-esteem, self-awareness and an attitude of cooperation not competition. Approach conflicting communication styles with this intention and you’ll decrease conflict and misunderstandings.

To learn more about managing conflict in your workplace, pick up a copy of this 60 minute teleseminar:

“6 Steps for Moving from Contention to Common Ground – How to Communicate When You
Don’t See Eye-to-Eye”

Fearful of Asking for Feedback?

Do you ask for and listen to feedback from the people that can help you the most? Co-workers, clients, the CEO and, of course, customers are you biggest source to unlocking your professional growth or increasing your business.

Most people are afraid to hear the unvarnished truth about themselves or your business but feedback is like exercise…rebuilding the tiny tears in your muscles after a good workout is what makes you stronger. Listen to others with the intent to grow stronger and the tiny tears in your ego can blossom into your becoming a more empathic individual. And that’s good for you and your business.

Ask the right questions and listen without judging. Decide what might be true and then commit to making changes. Try it.

Learn more communication tips in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Learn more here.

Communicating at Work – Know When to Shut Up!

Okay, it’s not the nicest title but I bet it got your attention. More so, I bet it brought to mind a very specific person that would benefit from reading this post. Am I right?

If the person that came to mind is you–congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step to making a change.

Why is it so difficult for some people to say only what’s needed and no more?

Well, some people …

…fail to stop talking because they can’t handle silence.

… think more words will sell whatever it is they are selling including themselves.

… think they are so  interesting  and feel compelled to tell it all and then some.

… have no self-awareness. Yes, this is a big one.

… have little confidence in their abilities so talking covers up the fear of being asked a question he can’t answer.

You get the point, I could go on and on.

So, when do you shut up and how do you stop yourself once you’re on a rant? Read more

Job Interviews – 5 Key Questions Interviewees Fail to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

Never forget that a job interview is a two-way street. The questions you ask are as important as the questions you’re asked–so be prepared for both.

Ask questions that not only highlight your depth of knowledge but questions that show you are a savvy negotiator before negotiations even begin.

People fail to ask these 5 Critical Questions during an interview:

1. Ask about a typical day on the job including key players you’ll be interacting with frequently.

Often a cursory description of daily activities may be offered, but your interest is to get a clear understanding of the role or roles you would be expected to play and daily expectations.

Will you be expected to cover for an absent co-worker, cover calls during breaks, or be required (or expected) to attend company or charity events not held during the workday?

Who will you be expected to work with on key projects? Who will have ultimate decision making on joint projects? What people or departments will you need to depend on for critical information in order to do your job?

Listen between the lines and rephrase your question if it isn’t being answered directly.

2.  Ask about the financial stability of any organization you are considering for employment.

Read, listen and investigate the financial reports of an organization before the interview. If an organization is having difficulties you’ll want to address them at that time.

Ask a direct question in a neutral tone that allows the interviewer to refute rumors or give reasonable explanations to negative news stories. This not only shows interest and initiative on your part, but subtly puts them on alert should anything happen after you accept a position.

If the rumors turn out to be true, you may have a bargaining chip if you are laid off due to financial difficulties or bankruptcy.

3.  Ask what drives your immediate supervisor(s) crazy.

The key here is to fully grasp unacceptable behaviors that might result in poor reviews or even dismissal.

This is often a question about values. You might think that being a few minutes late is no big deal, but if your future boss considers “on time” as  30 minutes before the day really starts, you’ll be clashing in no time. It’s the small things that make for big issues and they often aren’t discovered until too late.

Listen closely to the answer and probe for expansion. Usually there is more than a single “unacceptable” behavior that drives a boss nuts, so uncover as many as possible.

If your values don’t match up significantly you’ll want to consider another place to work.

4.  Ask permission to take notes during the interview.

This is more powerful than you might think. It not only shows your interest and respect but it might help an undirected, unprepared, or nervous interviewer stay on track.

If you find yourself with a “talker” who fails to either ask questions or allows you to ask questions, you may be able to slow them down if you gently interupt their monologue by saying you want to capture every point. Then ask a clarifying question that makes them stop and think. This is easier to accomplish if you are taking notes.

Try it. I once got a job simply because I asked permission to take notes.

5. Ask what qualities the most successful employees possess and what qualities the least successful person is lacking.

Pay attention. If the answer is “”drive or “attention to detail” to the first part of the question, you’ll want to know what “drive” means to them. Ask. Do the same for the negative qualities.

Your aim is to match expectations to reality before you consider accepting an offer of employment.

These are just five questions candidates fail to ask during an interview but certainly not all. What questions do you want answers to before deciding if this is a person or an organization you want to work with? Think about it.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? Share the knowledge but you MUST include the following: Allie Casey , Reinvention Specialist, can help you and your team ramp up your communication for more productivity  and profits and fewer misunderstandings and headaches. To get your F.R.E.E. audio course, more communication articles and information visit www.alliecasey.com.

Find more tips on workplace communication in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work– What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up!

Artist, Entrepreneur, Coach, Author etc.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I loved to color and sketch and make things from the big “Make It!” book my mom always had on hand. That book satisfied my curiosity about how things were made and it sparked my creativity…not to mention saving my mother’s sanity!

My curiosity about how things were made probably accounts for my passion for the act of sewing…the how-to part.  (Some people sew but only because they like the end result not the process–but I loved both.)

I loved figuring out how I could use the least amount of fabric when laying out a pattern often getting a better yield than the suggested layout.

For me the “fun” part would be figuring out how to cut an “uneven” plaid so every seam of a pleated skirt would match perfectly. That’s just how my brain works.

This obsession with “figuring things out” showed up in my life in the oddest moments. Read more

Business Communication – Customer Service – Intuition – What Counts?

I need to immediately replace my air conditioning unit–yes, the whole shebang. Why the urgency? I’m in Orlando–can you say 85 degrees plus humidity. Lucky for me I’m a warm weather gal but even I have my limits.

So I’m waiting for the second of the 3 AC services I’ve been in contact with to show up and give me a quote. Which, of course, got me thinking about how businesses communicate…you knew I was going there right?

The first contender, whom I called directly, shows up a few minutes late but he did call a few minutes prior to our appointment time to let me know he was running behind. No points off…he called promptly and I know how things go in labor service.

He explains everything and calls me to come downstairs Read more

“THE BALANCING ACT” on Lifetime Television – Watch April 13th

I talk about Workplace Communication and Reinvention Intervention with Beth Troutman from The Balancing Act, on April 13th. Watch Below!

Watch Below!!

Resisting What’s True for You

Nothing makes me crazier than knowing the truth about something and choosing to dismiss it.

Decades ago, I worked as a part of a merchandising/design team for a women’s sportswear company. As we developed designs for each new season we were required to present them to the president and sales manager for critique and “adoption.” In fact, the meetings were called adoption meetings! In essence, it meant your “job” was on the line each week. No matter how well we defended our choices of fabric, pattern and style, decisions were often made for what seemed like ridiculous reasons.

But this one time, the president uttered a statement that made my jaw drop. He said, “We know it’s the right thing to do–but we can’t do it.” Honestly, I no longer recall what he was referring to–but it doesn’t really matter.

Of course, what he meant was…”We know it’s the right thing to do, but we are ‘CONSCIOUSLY AND DELIBERATELY CHOOSING NOT TO DO IT!”

The thing was that there wasn’t anything stopping him from doing the right thing, he simply choose not to. This meant that everything done in relation to this decision was FALSE. A  LIE. A SHAM. And that just pissed me off to no end.

And that is how I feel when someone is given a piece of truth about their life purpose and then chooses to ignore it and proceed rapidly in the opposition direction. As a coach, I’ve seen this happen time and again.

If you want to be living in your purpose, first find out what it is if you don’t know, and then proceed Consciously and Deliberately along your path and honor your truth. It will make your life so much easier and happier.

If you don’t know what your purpose is I invite to get your hands analyzed now…here’s how: Hand Analysis Now!

 

Best Communication – Be True to Yourself

Lifetime TV – The Balancing Act

I taped my segment for Lifetime Television’s–The Balancing Act, yesterday. Great fun!

My host, Beth Troutman, is smart and vivacious–an excellent communicator who clearly loves what she does for a living. (And, yes–she’s quite beautiful in person.) She made my interview seem like an intimate conversation between girlfriends and I’m hoping that’s what it looks like in the final production.

We talked about my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work, and why misunderstandings and the lack of honest communication (especially inner or self conversation) may be the source of so many unhappy, frustrated workers. A recent Parade poll showed that 61% of the people who responded would not make the same career choice if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. Sad statistic.

It’s why I know there is a need for Reinvention Interventions–we need to be living and doing our purpose in the world–just like Beth.

It’s not too late to join me for Reinvention Intervention: 5 Really Smart and Simple Steps to Relaunch Your Life. This 5 week teleseminar course starts Tuesday, March 15 and you can still attend at an amazingly low price. The bonuses alone make this worth attending. Read more here: Reinvention Intervention Teleseminar.

My experience with everyone I met at The Balancing Act,  from the make-up artist, to the camera crew to the producer (and everyone in between) was friendly and professional, making the entire experience a memorable one. Thank you all.

The segment will air sometime in April so stay tuned for updates.