Tag Archive for workplace communication
Most people believe they are pretty good communicators. But you aren’t most people, right?
How well you express yourself determines how successful you’ll be in business and in life. The real question is are you continuously upgrading your communication skills or are you content with…”my skills work well enough”?
Here are 5 questions you’ll want to ask yourself if you want to know if you’re expressing yourself successfully:
1. Are you sending a clear, concise message when you speak? I s your message organized? Is your message free of jargon and lingo…not everyone speaks the same language you do. Is your message organized so others can easily follow what you’re saying.
2. Can you be heard? Is your volume loud enough and your enunciation crisp and clear? Are you speaking from your mouth or from your lungs? Are you using your breath to your advantage.
3. Do you ask for and listen to feedback? Want real growth? This is a fast way to up-level your skills and gain a new perspective. Ask people you trust to give you an honest assessment of your ability to express yourself clearly.
4. Have you considered how each receiver of your message might be filtering your message? Do you check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended? Ask clarifying questions, pause and give the recipient time to process before assuming they understood your message as you intended.
5. Is your message visually, verbally and vocally congruent? Does your body say one thing while your words say another? Does your voice negate your words? If these 3 components aren’t working together to send the same message your body language will often outweigh your words.
If these questions got you thinking you’ll want 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. (Oh, and don’t forget to grab the Free 6 part Audio Series on Powerfully Communication- just add your name and email in the boxes on the right.)
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
Alas, miscommunication by management teams is alive and well.
I was reminded of this when meeting with a friend this week. He shared with me his frustration at a significant change his company made without consulting those it affected.
How does this happen?!
This particular change will spread beyond a mere inconvenience for associates, it promises to challenge family members of these associates in perhaps devastating ways.
Management decided that this particular team was now going to alternate night and day shifts forcing associates to work two weeks on the day shift followed by two weeks on the night shift.
Forget the fact that the detrimental effects of this kind of schedule have been well documented including loss of productivity and higher incidences of mistakes and accidents.
What shocks me most Read more
Assertive communication means you have the right to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. Aggressive behavior is when you believe you have rights but no one else does. Passive behavior is the opposite. You believe you have no rights but others do.
Assertive behavior is finding the balance between the extremes. Obtaining that balance isn’t always easy especially with aggressive or abusive co-workers. Here are a few tips to help when a colleague slips into aggressive communication.
1. Recognize that your co-worker may be suffering from stress that isn’t visible to you. Problems in personal relationships, money woes, challenges with children, health issues or even the morning’s miserable traffic are examples of stressful events that can trigger abusive behavior.
2. Do nothing. Let your colleague vent as long as you are not in physical danger. If you sense an altercation is about to escalate remove yourself from situation–immediately. If you feel the need to say something try, “Bill, this is getting out of hand. I’m leaving now. I’ll check back in a short time and we can continue once we cool down. Avoid saying, “calm down.” Only a 911 operator should use that phrase.
3. Remember that the first wave of anger is probably not the last. Use the pause to clarify what you heard and understood. Calmly state, “If I understood you correctly…” Your co-worker’s rage is usually associated Read more
Don McMillan’s Hilarious Video on Power Point Blunders – Take Note.
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:
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