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Finding Conversations Difficult? Communicate Better at Work

communicating better at work

Marjorie Jonson, Ascend Consulting Inc.

It’s often said that nothing gets done without communication. Yet, it’s communication problems that make work challenging! Ever wonder why? Because as much as we humans are hardwired to seek belonging, we’re also wired to look out for danger. This sense of separation can make us suspect of others. When danger is detected in the form of disagreement or failed expectations, the brain’s fight or flight reaction gets activated. And poof! We have conflict and communication problems at work.

Judith Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, shares communication strategies that promote feelings of belonging and safety so communication problems are minimized. Here are some insights to help manage your difficult conversations and communicate better at work. (Hint: They work for personal relationships too!)

  • Aim for “We-centric” communication. Use terms like “we” and “us” that evoke a sense of collaboration and mutual problem solving.
  • Find ways to create and celebrate shared success.
  • Be appreciative. Look for ways to express gratitude, acknowledgement for effort, and improvement. Do not withhold praise for the Big Win!
  • Give feedback which is geared toward learning – focused equally on strengths and areas for development.
  • Listen actively, being sure to reflect to the speaker what you heard and understood.
  • Be curious! How is the other point of view equally valid or maybe even better than yours?

If your company or professional organization wants to learn more about how to make effective communications the norm, you might be interested in one of my presentations: “Getting to WE: Creating Collaborative Culture Through Communication” or “Got Workplace Tension? Difficult Conversations Made Easier”