Tag Archive for difficult conversations

Workplace Communication – When Good Intentions Go Bad How to Correct a Blunder

Workplace misunderstandings are costly, stressful and potentially damaging to your career–especially if you created the communication snafu. Knowing how to handle communication blunders while keeping your composure can save a job, a reputation or a business relationship.

Sometimes even good intentions go bad. Early in my career I created a bad situation just because I was trying to do the right thing—serve a customer. If you’ve ever worked in commission sales perhaps you can relate.

While we were expected to help all customers, it apparently was not correct to be too helpful. (Yes, you’re reading a bit of disbelief on my part in that sentence. More years of experience tells me otherwise…but that’s another post.)

At the time, my helpfulness caused the customer to want to switch horses in mid-stream and work with me. That, of course, was not going to sit well Read more

Work-Life Balance? Are you Kidding Me?

Every time I hear this term it makes my teeth hurt. What the heck does work-life balance mean anyway?

My work life and and life-life is all the same, BUT it doesn’t mean I allow others to intrude in my life willy-nilly. If that’s the issue you’re dealing with then you don’t need “work-life balance” you need a back-bone!

Seriously, if you choose to work for a person or organization where you know you’re giving your life away, frankly, I have no sympathy for you. But, if your understanding of  privacy parameters at work doesn’t include “contact me during my nephew’s bris” then speak up. Have the conversation to confirm your understanding of when you are available and when you aren’t.

Now, if you work for yourself then you are in control even when you think you aren’t. But..but…but…yeah, yeah, I can hear it now. If I don’t take my customer’s call then I’ll miss their business. Really? Really? If  that’s what you believe then that’s what you’ll get…customer’s that take you for granted and don’t see your value.  You control this to the extent that you value yourself.

Think about it. If you set the example for the type of life you want to live then that’s the client you’ll attract. I bet if you think back to the last customer that canceled  on you…it was the one that wanted to be “the exception to the rule.” You know, the one that always asked for an extra discount even after you’ve given them a special accommodation. It’s the client that seems to always have an excuse, or runs late, or calls you at all hours.

Grow a backbone. It will change your life. I know I’m going to hear comments on this one.

If you still aren’t sure what your life or life purpose is, well that’s a whole other story, but if that’s the case join me for Reinvention Intervention: 5 Really Simple and Smart Steps to Relaunch Your Life teleseminar course.  Starts March 15.

 

Manager’s Top Job – Clear Communication

Unclear communication and workplace misunderstandings can lead to a loss of productivity, money, clients or worse. Clear communication is the benchmark of a good office and tops the lists of best business practices with a capital “C”.

The clear communication implementation process begins when a new hire joins your team. As a manager, it is your job to make the person Read more

Communication Quick Tip – The Keep Cool Formula

It always helps to have a quick formula that’s easy to remember, easy to post where you can see it and easy to implement. In touchy communication situations when emotions might thwart clear thinking try these 3 steps:

1. Look – Observe the pace, voice, eye-contact and posture of your listener. Pay attention to emotions, intentions, and any mental or physical distractions. Match and step it down if emotions are high.

2. Adjust – Shift your style to communicate in the way your listener likes to communicate. A small adjustment now saves time, money and effort later.

3. Verify – Verify that the translation and comprehension of your message matches your intention. (and be honest about your intention-is it aligned to your highest self?)

Ready for more tips you can use? Just enter your name and email in the boxes to your upper right and get FREE Instant Access to your 6-Part Audio Series – The Power of Effective Communication now. Go. 6 short audios that can change the way you communicate. or CLICK HERE

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 – How to Agree to Disagree

Sounds a little crazy I know, but knowing how to walk away from a contentious situation while still being able to agree is a necessary communication skill in business.

What exactly do I mean? Well, if you find yourself in a conversation in which you have consciously applied good communication skills including being an active listener and still find you cannot agree on any point, or you simply do not see eye-to-eye, then it just might be time to agree to disagree.

The consequences of taking a stand for yourself and your principles may be far reaching so be sure you know what you are doing. Communicating your opposing view while maintaining your composure takes fortitude and conviction.

I had a boss once who calmly walked into my office and simply announced that he (the president) had agreed to disagree with the CEO. Not quite sure what that meant, I gave him a questioning look and asked for an explanation.

Apparently, a major request or change of direction, or a shift in command  resulted in a situation where neither  he nor the CEO were willing to compromise. So they agreed to disagree.

It was civil conversation but the result of agreeing to disagree  meant my boss opted to leave his position. Yet, I have no doubt that he slept well that night. He honored his integrity.

You may find yourself in this position some day and you may not be in the financial position to simply walk away as my boss did.  The situation you are disagreeing with may be more than simply a blow to your ego, it may involve something unethical.

If you can agree to disagree and continue working without interruption then go for it.  But if you find the situation puts you at risk for a lawsuit or worse and you decide to stay ask yourself this–is the cost to your peace-of-mind, to your integrity,  to your family, to your self-worth and your health worth it?

What challenging communication situations have you dealt with at work?

Find more answers to these questions in 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 Negative Feedback

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)

Effective Communication Tips from Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work

LISTENING WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH AND EMOTIONS ARE RUNNING DEEP

One if the most difficult listening skills to master is the ability to allow another to vent completely before you offer advice, coaching, solutions or comfort. 

It takes fortitude to listen to complaints and grievances. 

The last thing most people want to do is ask a distraught or upset person if there is anything more they want to say….BUT , you must!

Yikes! Who wants to hear more whining, groaning, complaining or tales of woe.  As painful as it sounds, you must take the time to ensure the emotional storm has passed.

Jumping in to speak (even if there has been a long pause), before the last bit of sticky trash has come unstuck from the bottom of the barrel ensures you won’t be heard.  It’s  akin to  pouring clean water atop a thin layer of mud and expecting it to remain clean and  pristine. Not going to happen.

So you must ask, “Is there anything more?”  And if there is, you must listen and then ask again. Not until the answer is a resounding (even if whispered), “no–that’s it” can you offer your thoughts.

Try it. It works.

Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up is now available at Amazon. Pick up a copy and get your bonuses–today! In the meantime, get your FREE 6-part audio series, The Power of Effective Communication simply by entering your name and email in the box to your right.

Communication Skills – Keep Cool Under Pressure