Are You A Bad Workplace Communicator? Here’s How To Improve

Communication is the engine that gets work done — how fine-tuned is your engine?

Here’s a roundup of tips from Psychology Today that might be just what you need to take your communication to the next level in the office.

Beware of universal statements, especially when they’re aimed at others.

For example: “You never do this,” or “you always do that.” Not only does this suggest unpleasant thinking toward the person you’re speaking to, it says that you’ve already made up your mind on an issue and can’t be convinced otherwise. There’s no room left for discussion on improvement, and that’s hardly an appealing personality to find in a colleague. (Besides, all it takes is one counterexample to disprove such lofty statements.)

Instead, balance your communication with specific feedback: “I noticed you’ve made this mistake three times in a row. Here’s how I’d like you to do it in the future,” and so on.

Address the issue, not the person.

You can really hear the difference in these two statements: “The house is a mess, can you clean today?” versus “You don’t clean often enough.”

In the workplace, addressing the issue rather than the person is a subtle way of reinforcing a team mentality. Your team is working together to tackle a problem — why tackle people who solve problems?

Emotional communication is rarely effective in the workplace.

This is because work can be challenging often, and the feelings that come along with that are not ones to share with others if you want to your team to be successful. Consider heated sentences like “How dare you,” “This is easy to understand, why don’t you get it?” or “I already know what you’re going to say.” These statements are born out of stress and negative emotion. Who needs more of that at work?

Instead, put that classic cliche to work and think before you speak. It will take practice (and maybe even someone to help keep you accountable to doing so), but it will work.

Don’t invalidate a coworker’s feelings.

This touches on the above point about emotional communication. Feelings are valid merely by virtue of someone having them. It’s how you address them that matters.

Here’s what not to say: “Your concerns don’t matter,” “You’re worrying about this too much,” “Your complaints don’t matter,” and so on.

Instead, address these concerns one at a time while keeping in mind the other tips you just read!