- Listen Actively
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation with someone who interrupts you all the time and mentally prepares the next answer they might give because they think they know what you are going to say. This type of communication serves no purpose except to create misunderstandings and irritations at work. Because in the end, it was not a satisfying discussion where both parties understood each other.
To avoid this kind of conversation and improve the way you communicate at work, use active listening. This involves being willing to actually hear the other person and having a two-way conversation.
To actively listen to someone, you must try to understand what they are saying. How do you do this? Rephrase, if necessary, what the other person is saying to make sure you understand their message. Accept what they are saying. And respond only after you have listened to everything they say.
- Speak in person when possible
If you have a comment or criticism to make to someone. Always do so in a private conversation and, if possible, in person to avoid misunderstandings. However, if this is not feasible, use the various communication tools your company has in place.
Do not call or text the person if you are not accustomed to using this mode of communication at work. This could be misinterpreted. Always keep a written record of your conversation and send summary emails.
On the other hand, if you want to congratulate your colleague for example, do it in public, there is nothing wrong with that and it is very much appreciated.
- Set clear objectives
Before starting a conversation with someone in your office, always ask yourself what the purpose of the interaction is. What is the end goal? Is it to find a solution to a problem? Or is it to make the new employee feel better in their new position? Once you’ve determined the goal of this conversation, communicate it early in the meeting. That way, everyone will understand the essence of the interaction. The conversation will be much more productive and effective. Plus, if you stray from the original goal, you can always go back.
- Use the sandwich method
No one likes to be criticized or be in a confrontational situation. That’s why there are some dialogue techniques that can help you soften your words and make it easier for someone to accept what you say. The first is to speak in “I” rather than “you. This way of communicating reduces tension and doesn’t put the other person on the defensive. For example, instead of telling your co-worker “You’re not working!” you can say “I feel like I’m doing all the work.”
In addition to the “I” technique, which is great at work, you can also use the sandwich technique to get your point across. This method involves bringing a criticism while surrounding it with compliments. For example:
“Great job today! Your training was impeccable and well structured. However, I think your slides could be better tailored to the topic you are talking about. In the future, you can use the templates already created by the designers on the team as inspiration. But either way, good job today!”