Coworkers And Conversations

Coworkers And Conversations
  • Workplace conversation used to take place near the water cooler, usually involving current events, sitcoms, or the weather.
  • The pandemic shifted most of the communication in the hands of technology with Zoom, Slack and email being our only channels to converse with coworkers.
  • The conversation has deteriorated by being an online exclusive deal. It feels transactional and highly superficial.
  • Small talk stays small, and there are fewer trust-based, genuine human relationships at the workplace.
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  • A good conversation is a joint effort, with each person building on the other, and this ‘construction’ of trust and cooperation does not have any space for competitiveness or one-upmanship.
  • When we try to impress, disagree with, or argue with the other person with an aim to 'win', we do not deepen our relationship.
  • Winning an argument is a temporary win and a loss in the long run.
  • We need to aim for creating mutual knowledge instead of making the other person subscribe to our mindset.

Certain discussions without any particular agenda are important to build a relationship with a colleague. It gives employees a chance to get to know each other, sharing certain aspects of their experience and personal lives that they would not otherwise.

One can invite a colleague to lunch or coffee, without the need of having any key points to cover.

The shared understanding that builds relationships starts with genuine, active listening, which is a neglected art in a world filled with distractions and multitasking.

  • Turn your phone into aeroplane mode and go somewhere to talk to a colleague where people would not interrupt you.
  • Reset your mindset about what a discussion is, as we are trained only to listen long enough to load our ‘reply’ rifle.
  • Only paying surface-level attention to your colleague and waiting for your turn is not going to cut it, and one has to pay real attention here.

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RELATED IDEAS

Research found that only 7 percent of communication comes from the words you use; the rest of what you communicate comes from your voice and tone (38 percent) and your body language (55 percent).

So that means when you send a virtual message, 93 percent of what you’re trying to communicate may be lost.

5 Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations At Work

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The value of small talk

Small talk can be defined by how much information is exchanged. If you know nothing more about the other person than you knew before the conversation, then it is small talk.

Research shows that small talk with people, even with strangers, can boost our mood. While small talk often feels boring and awkward, one can turn it into enjoyable small talk by commenting on a shared experience or asking open-ended questions.

How to have more meaningful conversations | Psyche Guides

psyche.co

Virtual teams and WFH policies have complicated and muddled the communication that happens in a physical office. We need to provide remote team members with the benefit of the doubt while interpreting their behaviour. There is much less context to access what is meant by their words and actions.

The least we can do is watch our tone, and be as polite and generous in the initial months as possible. It always pays to be warm, friendly and human.

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