Tag Archive for Communication skills

Workplace Communication – Workplace Illusion?

It’s time to replay a video I posted a year ago.

Let me know your comments below.

Misunderstandings at Work–Will Your Conversation Matter a Month from Now?

Learning to respond to emotionally charged conversations or misunderstandings in the  workplace takes practice, patience and perspective. The key is to balance your assertiveness with constraint so you can walk away feeling good about yourself , while not leaving the other party feeling devastated.

Ask yourself the following questions before blurting out an emotional reaction during  a challenging conversation. You just might gain a new perspective.

  • What’s the long term impact if you say everything you want to say?
  • What consequence or result will occur moments after your conversation if you do respond emotionally?
  • Will the result last more that those few moments?
  • What about the impact in a few hours, days, months or years from now?
  • Will this conversation matter at all or will it change the course of a relationship for better or worse?

If you ask yourself these questions before blundering ahead, you’ll discover that some conversations won’t need to happen at all, but don’t make that an excuse for not having the ones that do need to happen.

Thinking about the long term impact allows you to put things into perspective. Perspective goes a long way towards guiding your tone and words,  and perhaps changing your intention from hurtful to respectful.

A small shift in your behavior now can go a long way into the future…in a good way.

What’s your thoughts? You can find more information on this topic in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Get it at Amazon.com today.

Improve Communication at Work – Stop The Blame Game

Improving communication at work has to do with your willingness to change. And–your willingness to give up blaming others for your situation or lack of success.

All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.  ~ WAYNE DYER

Blame moves nothing forward and the only way to improve communication is to move forward. This means you must take ownership of the fact that you must change. Ouch!

If someone is difficult to listen to, change the way you approach your communication with him or her rather than blaming them for being annoying, unclear, high-pitched, repetitive, or whatever you perceive to be the offending behavior.  Focus on your intention and listen for a single point you both agree and move the conversation from that point.

If you are turned down for a promotion, rather than placing blame on your boss take a hard look at your work, attitude, communication skills and habits and decide what changes you could make to create a different outcome.

If you are still in a job you hate, rather than blame the economy decide what it is you really want and take the steps necessary to get it. You’ll be surprised how this will improve your overall communication.

It’s easy to blame. It takes the pressure and the spotlight off of you but it serves no one.

Just for today serve yourself–stop blaming and start changing.

Find more tips on improving your communication at work, get a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. You can get it today at Amazon.

Communicating at Work – 5 Steps for Managing Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is  a common workplace challenge. Poor communication contributes to the push-back that comes with rolling out new procedures,  a change in status,  a physical move or launching a new project.

The dissension can come from a single voice or the collective whole.

Try these 5 steps for gaining cooperation:

1. Spell out and communicate both orally and in writing, exactly what the changes are and how they will affect individual positions.

2. If you choose to entertain objections set a time frame and stick to it.  A never ending gripe session serves no one.

3. Listen to the emotions and the underlying fears that are often couched in vague complaints such as “this will take too much time.”  The fear may be that the employee will have to stay later and miss picking up their child on time.

4. Check your interpretation of the complaints by reflecting back what you have heard.

5. Consider suggestions and set a follow-up date for the outcome. Not all changes have that kind of flexibility but you might be surprised at what can be adjusted for better buy-in.

Employees simply want to be a part of something bigger. Use this opportunity to communicate honestly and create a deeper  connection and the odds for cooperation will increase.

Find more tips for communicating effectively at work in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work – What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Buy it at Amazon.com


Communicating with the Characters in Your Workplace

Communicating at work often resembles a sitcom where coworkers are characters and the story is driven by misunderstandings. Every sitcom from I Love Lucy to Seinfeld to Modern Family are great examples of misunderstandings resulting in humor and a tidy ending.

In reality, misunderstanding with the characters (I mean co-workers) you work with often doesn’t end with a happy conclusion. The good news is that your coworkers may be identifiable as the characters in a good story. Once you get to know them, you’ll be able to anticipate a certain amount of predictable behavior.  Think Seinfeld’s Kramer–you always expect his cockamamie logic to some mundane situation.

So how does this help you? Well, learning how to talk these character types (or communication styles) will help you get your point across more effectively so that cooperation and collaboration becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Ask these questions and notice these distinctions and shift your approach, and your chances of getting cooperation increases.

1. What motivates them?

2. What do they seek?

3. What do they fear?

4. What is important to them?

5. How do they behave under stress?

Create a game for yourself and see if you can created a profile of each of the people you work with and for–and then decide how you need to shift your behavior to connect with them.

What’s your experience?

This post is an excerpt from Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Order your copy today and learn more about behavior styles.

Communication Mistakes – Listening or Making Assumptions?

Active and attentive listening is not always easy to do-but it is critical to success.  Poor listeners can damage their reputation and hurt their careers. Today I want to talk a bit about making assumptions vs. really listening.

You might be making assumptions if you answer yes or sometimes to the following questions: Do you frequently finish other people’s sentences? Do you use phrases such as “I already know that” before your have heard a complete sentence?

If you do the message you send is, “I know more than you do, so let me help you out.” This is not only rude (and arrogant) but it will brand you as a know-it-all.

Instead listen patiently, ask clarifying questions, and paraphrase the speaker’s words to ensure you really do comprehend what they are saying and intending. Seek to understand the speaker before making suppositions. This positive behavior will brand you as an excellent communicator.

What do think?

Excerpt from the book Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Pick up your copy at Amazon today.

Communication – Maximize Your Message with Your Voice

Communication is more than just your words. Your voice also adds to the  meaning of your words. The message the sound of your voice sends is so powerful it may override your actual words.

Consider the words, “everything’s okay.” This phrase can mean a variety of things depending on how you say it:

“Everything’s okay.” Reassuring or soothing.

“Everything’s O-KAAY.”  Sarcastic.  As in, ” I told you already!”

“Uh…everything’s uh…okayyyyy.”  Unsure or still checking.

Everything okay? a question.

What makes each statement be perceived differently are the three characteristics of the voice: pitch, volume and quality. Maximizing these will make you a more powerful and confident communicator.

You can learn to control all three voice characteristics. Here are a few tips:

Pitch: How high or low your voice is. Talk in a high pitched voice, as if you are speaking to an infant, and you’ll notice your voice is a bit hollow and thin. This happens because you are speaking from inside your mouth.  Drop to a low voice and you can feel the sound coming from deeper in your throat.  The best pitch for normal conversation is the sound that comes when you breathe fully from abdomen causing your diaphragm to expand.  When you are nervous or fearful your voice may sound high or pinched because you’re breathing from the top of the lungs.  Take a breath.

Volume: This is how loud your voice is. Again, the volume must come from your diaphragm and not your throat. Throat volume sounds like shouting not confidence. If people continuously ask you to speak up you’ll want to increase your volume, otherwise you may notice others ignoring you. You can practice increasing your volume by “pushing” someone across the room by the volume of your voice. Your practice partner can only move backward if  they feel your voice moving them. Try it. You’ll begin to hear what a powerful voice sounds like  even though it may sound too loud at first.

Quality: This is the richness, emotion and meaning your voice sends. Pitch and volume adds to the quality but so does your feelings and overall health.  Notice the difference the quality of your voice has when you’re feeling sad as opposed to when you’re feeling on top of the world. This is why it is so important to smile when you are talking on the phone–people can tell!

Put the sound of your voice to work today!

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Everything you need for workplace communication at your fingertips. Get it here.

Communicating with Powerful Questions

Asking questions can be one of the best ways to enhance a conversation, but the wrong questions can actually hinder conversation. Not all questions are created equal! Open-ended questions are friendlier and more effective than closed-ended questions. They usually start with “What” or “How”.

Here are some examples of how to change closed-ended questions into open-ended questions:

Instead of “Did you like it?” you could ask, “What did you like about it?” or “How did you like it?”

Ever try to get information from a team member or co-worker and received one or two word answers? Get more specific with the questions above.

Instead of “Are you upset?” you could ask “What’s bothering you?” or “Tell me more about how you are feeling?”

This works at home as well as at work.

Instead of “Would you like to do something else?” or you could ask “What would you like to do?” or “What would just make your day?”

Truly an invitation to share!

Instead of “Any questions?” you could ask “What questions do you have?” or “Who has the first question?”

Commit this one to memory!

Using open-ended questions requires effort. However, the effort is well worth it, especially in a tense situation. The next time you are in a tense conversation, make your questions open-ended, and watch the dynamic change. You will have a much better conversation, and the other person will appreciate your communication skills.


Get your copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up – The bonus downloads are chock full of the critical communication answers you’ve been asking about. Get your book here!

Communication Tip – Turning Resistance into Cooperation

More Quick Tips from Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up (Volume 1)

Communication-Feeling Fear in Difficult Conversations

More tips from Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up (Volume 1)