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5 Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations At Work

Open workspaces

Open office layout cuts face-to-face conversations by as much as 70 percent. The fact that an entire department could hear you talking with someone can block you from seeking connection.

Search for or create pockets of privacy within those open workspace (for example, use a conference room or a designate a quiet zone).

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Let People Talk First

Let others to talk about themselves first. Then, you’ll be able to sell yourself more naturally.

If they are interested in what you have to offer, you can naturally transition into a pitch that interests them. A lot of times, a person will self-identify a need right after you talk about what you do.

Ask Good Questions That Show You’re Engaged

Ask at least one question before changing topic to show you’re engaged. Gathering details makes it more likely that you’ll be able to establish a connection with the other person or find a way you can lend a hand.

Prepare For A Conversation Without Being Creepy

Take a look at the person’s LinkedIn or Twitter account to get an idea of his tone, interests, etc. You’re always at an advantage when you know more about a person. It will be easier to relate to him and you might avoid awkward conversations.

Make Time To Connect

Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.

One way to do that is to try to give everyone the same day off, give people a “theme” for an activity of their choosing on that day, and find a way for the team to share their adventures. This could be during a team call or a shared photo library.

Communication
  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability
Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

Challenges To Listening
  • We have many things screaming for our attention every minute of the day and we often trick ourselves into believing they’re more important than a conversation unfolding right in front of us.
  • We have a biological challenge, too: We can listen about three times faster than anyone can talk. That means we have excess capacity in our brain that will wander off and entertain itself unless we take steps to intentionally manage it.
The Importance Of Proper Listening

With proper listening you’ll have a crystal clear understanding of the conversation and demonstrate to speakers that you’re invested in what they have to say.

Being a good listener is one of the most potent things you can do to increase your influence and likeability. It is also one of the top skills employers seek in potential and current employees, and it’s correlated with perceived ability to lead.

How To Be A Better Listener
  1. Push other activities from your mind, and be present in the discussion. This tells the other person that you’re ready for the conversation.
  2. Keep a neutral expression that simply says, “I’m listening.” We tend to physically react to what we hear and it disrupts our ability to listen and the other person’s ability to be heard. 
  3. Offer uninterrupted speaking time. Well-intended or not, interruptions makes effective communication impossible. 
  4. Repeat back succinctly and ask validating questions to make sure you heard the speaker correctly.