Can We Talk? - Deepstash
Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

Roberta Chinsky Matuson

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14 IDEAS

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Silence isn’t always golden.

Silence isn’t always golden.

70 percent of employees admit to avoiding challenging conversations with their colleagues.

A 2016 study that found that every failed conversation costs companies $7,500 and 7 days of work. Not only that, but a 2008 report revealed that the average employee spends 2.8 hours every week managing difficult situations.

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Workplace issues don’t just go away when we ignore them

Workplace issues don’t just go away when we ignore them

Poor, or absent, workplace communication inevitably ends up eroding organizational trust, worker satisfaction, and productivity.

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Confidence is the key to productive communication.

Confidence is the key to productive communication.

There’s no handbook for navigating difficult workplace conversations, no manual on how to ask your boss to stop micromanaging, and no step-by-step guide on how to tell Gary from accounts that he has onion breath.

The good news, however, is that if you understand the seven principles of effective workplace communication, these difficult conversations will start to become a whole lot easier.

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Confidence

Confidence

Confidence is key to navigating difficult workplace situations productively.

When you are able to inspire confidence in others, you instantly reframe your tricky requests into reasonable asks.

In short, confidence is the key to initiating conversations, allowing your best instincts to dictate your dialogue, and priming others to respond favorably to your requests.

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Clarity

Clarity

Make clarity a priority. 

Before you begin a conversation, work out what you want from it. Set a concrete goal, like “I’d like to work more closely with the design department,” rather than, “I want a more creative role.”

Decide ahead of time what you’re prepared to risk to achieve your desired result. There’s nothing worse than threatening to quit your job, only to have your boss take you up on the offer!

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Keep your objective in mind

Keep your objective in mind

You’re all about clarity, but the other person may not be. If they try to deflect focus, steer back to your objective and stick to facts.

While you should be prepared for the conversation to go poorly, don’t be surprised if it goes well.

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Compassion

Compassion

As a rule, people want to work with, and for, compassionate people. No one wants a boss who doesn’t care that their Grandma just died or a colleague who only grumbles about the extra workload when someone on their team breaks a leg.

Demonstrating empathy and compassion for others helps establish goodwill and rapport – two things that go a long way toward smoothing out potentially difficult workplace interactions.

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Curiosity

Curiosity

Getting in touch with your inner child can pay dividends when it comes to workplace communication.

But we are suggesting you tap into a childlike sense of inquisitiveness next time you face a difficult conversation.

Questions like, Why do you think this happened? And, What do you think our next steps should be? invite your partner to collaborate on achieving a constructive outcome from your discussion.

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Compromise

Compromise

Here’s how to have win-win discussions:

Keep things respectful. You might be making a straightforward request for time off, or you might be grappling with a big-picture issue on which you and your teammate can’t see eye to eye. 

No matter how simple or complex the conversation, you’ll derail it the moment you disrespect the other person. The perceived disrespect will take precedence over the topic at hand, whether they show it or not.

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Navigate a tough discussion

Navigate a tough discussion

If you know you’re about to initiate a tough conversation and you’re anticipating some pushback, put in some work prediscussion. 

Clarify why you’re talking and keep that at the top of your mind during the discussion.

Don’t just ask your boss for “more responsibility” say exactly which tasks you’re interested in taking on and suggest a timeframe for doing so.

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Credibility

Make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Learn about the field you’re working in – and remember, developments in your area will continue to take place long after you’ve received your qualifications.

Stay on top of current research and trends.

The same principle applies to meetings and presentations.

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Building credibility

When you’re pitching a client, make sure you’ve researched their business model thoroughly.

If you’re attending a budget meeting, have the latest figures on hand.

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Aim for consistency

Aim for consistency

Acing a presentation or dazzling a client once won’t win you credibility points.

When people know they can count on you, that’s when they see you as credible.

Finally, own your mistakes. You can be knowledgeable, skilled, and a consistent high performer and still make mistakes. That’s okay! But the moment you deflect blame for your failures onto someone or something else, all that credibility you’ve worked so long to build up evaporates.

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Courage

Courage

Fear of discomfort is often what holds us back from initiating difficult but necessary discussions. 

Someone takes credit for our work, but we decide not to call them out on it. Someone on our team isn’t pulling their weight, but we decide not to make waves by calling it to our boss’s attention.

Not talking about the problem won’t make it go away.

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CURATED BY

adriananghel

Full time dad and IT enthusiast for the rest.

Talking tough discussions at work need to be talked with some principles in mind. :)

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