4 Tips to Help You Communicate Better in the Office
If you think about it, you spend about as much time with your coworkers as you do with your family. Learning to communicate with each other effectively to achieve goals can take time and effort; if you’re struggling to get your messages across, here are some tips for communicating in the office.
One of the biggest mistakes we make when trying to communicate with others is assuming they divine our meaning immediately. If you tell someone you want a “breakdown” of a project, that request might mean something different to them than it does to you. Maybe you want something general, but they want to focus in on every detail—or vice versa. Making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations will save everyone frustration in the long run.
If you want people to communicate with you, you need to make it worth their time. This manifests itself in the smallest of ways. If your coworker is venting to you about the awful day she’s had and you’re clearly tuning her out, she’s going to feel like she can’t talk to you about her problems. This feeling might extend to professional concerns as well as personal ones. That’s not to say you have to stop working and hang on her every word if she’s talking about personal matters; if you’re too busy to listen, tell her so, and set up a time to let her express herself over lunch or coffee.
We have all worked with someone who can really get under our skin, and we’re all human. It can be tempting and satisfying to unleash your wit on them when they’re irritating you, but diplomacy is a key element of office interaction. This also applies if someone consistently asks you to complete tasks for them which are part of their job description. It’s usually best to try to handle these issues without the involvement of a supervisor at first, and the key is to be polite but firm.
Nothing impedes communication like feeling that someone is a stranger. Even if your work environment is extremely professional, there’s no rule against smiling or making a joke. Play music, share funny videos, maybe even play a game. If you don’t feel connected to one another, your communication will always suffer.