Back to School: The ABC's of Successful Workplace Communication

Appreciate the Communication Styles of Others

Everyone communicates differently, which can sometimes make it difficult to get your ideas across and avoid tension in the workplace. However, simply acknowledging that others have a different communication style can help you adapt your own to ease office communications.

Breathe and Create Boundaries

Feeling overwhelmed? Take a deep breath. No one is in control of you except you, and you can create boundaries that make you feel safe and sane. 

Consider Generational Differences

For the first time ever, we’ve got five generations in the workplace (link) - with 5 different ways of looking at the world and communicating with each other. No one is right or wrong, but it can make a serious difference in communication to understand the different groups.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Fear is the single cause of the majority of communication problems. Acknowledging that you are afraid to do certain things or communicate with certain people is the first step toward ridding yourself of fear altogether. Instead of letting it overtake you, make a list or write a letter to help you cope. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to better fear-management.

Embrace Areas That Need Work

None of us are perfect and ALL of us have areas that need improvement. The only way to grow is to look those areas in the face and not let them get the best of you. There’s nothing to fear - embracing areas that need work is only going to help you be a better, more rounded person.

Focus on the Face-to-Face

Let’s face it. You can’t build a solid business relationship over emails or text messages. It’s important to spend time in-person with those you want to get to know. 

Get the Relationship Coaching You Need

You don’t know what you don’t know, and asking for help is sometimes the best thing you can do. If you’re serious about refining your relationship building skills or improving your workplace communication, reach out to Future Image Group for the relationship coaching you need. 

Hear Others Before Answering

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, and instead of listening, you’re already forming what you’d like to say when it’s your turn? That’s not effective, two-way communication. You may miss something important that’s being said by the other person. If you find your mind wandering, focus in. When it comes your time to talk, you’ll still have the words and know what to say. Plus, the conversation will flow much more organically that way.

Interact with Intention

Understanding how, when, and where we want to interact is key to building any professional relationship. Setting conscious intentions is difficult, but, as with most things, practice makes perfect. 

Judge Only Once Informed

Judgement is a basic human skill - a skill that can save lives or help us avoid dire situations. However, with relationships and generalizations, its best to avoid snap judgments until you’re informed. 

Kiss Social Anxiety Goodbye

Social anxiety is hard to overcome. However, it’s not impossible. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have anxiety, but have found healthy ways to cope and overcome (link) it. Social anxiety doesn’t have to be a defining trait.

Leave Bad Social Habits Behind

Bad habits are easy to build and hard to break, but putting the effort in is worth it. Check out these bad social habits you should leave behind now.

Make Meaningful Connections

While it’s nice to have a bunch of aquaintances that you can call up to hang out, it’s important to build meaningful personal and professional relationships that are deeper and more fulfilling. Building meaningful relationships takes time and work, but putting the effort in will be well worth it. 

Network, Network, Network

 We can’t say it enough: Network. Networking is a pillar of a healthy personal and professional social life, as well as an essential building block to professional advancement. 

Open Your Mind to Constructive Feedback

When employees receive constructive feedback in the workplace, they normally react in one of two ways. Either they immediately begin seeking alternate employment, or they’re able to put their ego aside and listen to the constructive feedback that can help them grow into a better employee, and perhaps to advance their career. 

Put Your Phone Down

Let us repeat: Put your phone down. The cell phone is the Achilles heel of modern face-to-face communication. Remember to consider the message it sends when you’re playing on your phone the entire time - that whatever’s happening on the internet or whoever else may text you takes priority over the person directly in front of you. That’s never a good look. 

Quiet Your Mind Occasionally

We live in a 140-character world, where news stories happen every second and notifications light up our devices all day. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all. Once in a while, make sure you take time to quiet your mind through meditation, exercise, or other means. You are better able to communicate with others if you’ve taken the time to communicate with yourself. 

Recognize Your Own Needs

Speaking of communicating with yourself, don’t forget to check in and assess your own needs. Taking the time to take care of yourself is a sign of maturity and will help you stay healthy and happy.

Stop Comparing Yourself

Comparison is the death of creativity, and so many other great things. Everyone is different, and you don’t need to be just like your boss, just like your friend, or just like your favorite celebrity. You are you, and there’s a huge difference between comparing yourself to others and being conscious of the communication styles of others. 

Take Time to Listen

Sometimes, it’s not about you, and that’s okay. Sometimes, what the person you’re communicating with really needs is just someone to listen. 

Use Technology Responsibly

Sending an email or text is perfect in some situations. You can tie up conversations or answer questions in a flash. However, technology is no replacement for genuine, face-to-face communication and conversation. 

View Everyone with Respect

Each person has their own trials and tribulations, as well as their own joys and wins. However, it’s impossible most of the time to be able to tell what’s going on with a person without knowing them. It’s best to err on the side of caution and treat every person with respect. There’s often a storm brewing under the surface and the last thing that person needs is judgement, which is unfair and unhealthy.

Write Thank You Notes

In today’s world of 140-character news stories, email replies, and texted sentiments, writing a thank you note is not only a way to differentiate yourself, but also a way to build stronger relationships in and outside of the workplace. 

X-Out Complaining

Complaining accomplishes nothing. It’s a waste of time. Instead, try identifying the problem that’s irritating you and then find a possible solution for it. The quicker you begin looking for a remedy for the situation, the sooner you’ll find one. 

You’re in Control of You - Remember That

Others can be bullies, annoying, or out to stir the pot sometimes. That doesn’t mean that their actions determine yours. In every situation, you have the ability to take a step back and form your own opinion or take your own actions. The more you practice this, the more your reputation will reflect that you’re an independent person who does what they think is right, despite what everyone else around them is doing.  This can be as simple as deciding not to talk badly about a coworker or boss when everyone else is.

Zone Your Time

For those most ambitious people in the workplace, it’s easy to take too much on or to say “yes” too often. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a good trick is to compartmentalize your tasks. If you’re thinking about work tasks, home chores, and relationships with family and friends all at once, you can quickly become stressed out and lose your motivation. To zone your time, make a chart. For instance, you can commit to your work hours being only your work hours, and make it known to friends and family (with exceptions) that you won’t be reachable during those times. When you get home at night, put work aside both physically and mentally to spend time with your family or give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate. Zoning is important to strike a healthy work-life balance and ensure that you’re at your best all the time.