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Communication

Via Forbes : The Five C’s Of Effective Communication

Have you ever been in a meeting and felt like others were dismissing your opinions and input? Or do you feel like you can’t get your point across when requesting something in a conversation? One of the main reasons we don’t feel respected in the workplace, as in any other setting, is a lack of dynamic communication.

When we don’t feel heard at work, where we usually spend most of our waking hours, we can become incredibly frustrated, judgmental and apt to misinterpret situations way more often. It can lead to breakdowns and unengaged employees or leaders if they don’t feel valued and respected. Bad communication creates tension and a negative dynamic and environment. Ultimately, communication is the key to building trust interpersonally and within a team, and trust is essential to great performance and outcomes.

The goal is to master communication and have a clear road map of how to use it to create positive outcomes in the workplace and in every conversation. Communication is key for creating wins for all parties involved, including employees and leaders, as well as team culture, the organization, customer service and ultimately the bottom line. When the focus of a company is on its product, service or customer support instead of solving internal issues, it can increase productivity, profits and employee engagement.

When initiating a conversation, always make sure the time is right and that you have the other person’s undivided attention. Here are the five C’s of effective communication:

1. Be clear.

To communicate effectively, you have to know what you want and take ownership for your own needs. Before communicating your issue, identify it and know what you want and need from the other person. When you experience an issue, try to get clarity on what the issue is and why it shows up for you. Do you feel disrespected and shut down when a colleague is not open to hearing your opinion in a meeting? Understand what value of yours isn’t being honored, and own it. It’s your responsibility to initiate the tough conversation.

Communicate the issue directly without misinterpreting or reacting emotionally, judgmentally or defensively. Take ownership of your experience, and be transparent. Be as clear and objective as possible.

2. Be concise.

Keep your requests direct, simple and to the point. The less wordy, the better. Don’t get caught up in the story — focus on getting your point across in the most succinct manner and moving the conversation forward.

3. Provide a compelling request.

Once you make a request for change, you’re in negotiations. After communicating the issue, provide the person with a suggested solution that you’d be happy with. If you feel shut down and dismissed in meetings whenever you bring your area of expertise into consideration, first ask the other person if there’s a deeper issue. Then, ask how you might resolve it, and make your request to be listened to in the future. Explain that it’s just as important for you to express your opinion or expertise, be involved in the conversation, and share your thoughts on the topic to provide necessary feedback.

4. Be curious.

Listen to what the other person needs. Once you make a request, be curious about what the other person’s issues and objectives are and what they might need to fulfill your request. It’s not all about you. Understand where the other person is coming from because they also have needs and issues that need to be addressed.

5. Be compassionate.

Make an attempt to understand the other person. Listen carefully to their feedback, and put your own assumptions aside. When a person feels like they’re being heard, they tend to open up more and feel safer and more secure in the conversation, which can lead to a more trusting relationship. Having the ability to understand, recognize and appreciate the way others feel is crucial to resolving conflict, managing change and making tough decisions. Strive to negotiate a win for both parties by taking the other person’s perspective into consideration. Get a clear understanding of what it would take for both of you to get a positive outcome.

Dynamic communication is one of the most important skills to develop. It’s beneficial not only in the workplace but also in virtually every area of your life. It’s important to understand that communication is what builds bridges and connects people in a powerful way. When you’re able to get your point across in an objective manner, others are more likely to open up, see your perspective and negotiate with you. Communication is the key to influencing others and creating powerful teams, relationships and joint forces to achieve successful outcomes.

Via The Ladders : How to effectively remove departmental jargon from your work communication

In today’s fast-paced, streamlined workplace, buzzwords permeate the landscape … value-add, deliverable, leverage, take it to the next level, it is what it is. And when you get deeper into workplace departments, the jargon gets even more confusing: internet of things, return on investment, total quality management, bleeding edge, capacity planning.

These are just a few prevalent terms now used at work. And while departmental jargon sometimes works well to communicate ideas and goals inside a single business unit, once it crosses department lines, it’s often vague, confusing, and even offensive. Departmental jargon can hurt both internal and external business if it’s misunderstood.

The bottom line: Workplace communication is hard enough without throwing in departmental jargon!

“When everyone is on the same page, it’s so much easier for everyone to do their job,” according to JobMonkey.com. “A failure to communicate is one of the fastest ways to sabotage your business. A simple comment lost in translation … could all be solved through proper communication.”

So how can you “separate the signal from the noise” at work and speak concisely to individuals outside of your area of expertise?

Keep email, chat, text, and video free of jargon

The best way to make sure your message is clear to anyone not familiar with your department’s specific jargon is to not use buzzwords at all. Use clear and concise wording to get your point across. This helps you avoid confusing those not familiar with specific departmental jargon.

Think of it this way: If you were speaking to your mother about a problem at work and she had no idea what your job was, how would you explain it to her? Use this approach regardless of who you are communicating with and the method used, whether via email, chat, text, or video.

Email: Write simple, direct emails

When crafting an email, avoid using jargon. The reason is simple: You don’t always know who will be reading your email. Plus, you can save yourself some time writing it, because you won’t need to explain any buzzwords or concepts that someone outside your department may not understand. This way, regardless of who reads the email, your message will be crystal clear.

For example, you may write: “Management is changing the market dynamics” compared to “the company is acting as a disruptor in the market.” Someone may consider the word disruptor a negative in this example instead of a positive if they didn’t have a full understanding of the term in a business context.

“Emails, like traditional business letters, need to be clear and concise,” according to MindTools.com. “Keep your sentences short and to the point. The body of the email should be direct and informative, and it should contain all pertinent information.”

If you do use jargon in your emails, then make sure to fully explain it.

Chat: Eliminate jargon to avoid confusion

Chat is another area where departmental jargon often causes confusion. Using buzzwords in a business chat with clients or coworkers could cause your message to get lost amid confusing “business speak.”

When a chat involves just your own department, there usually isn’t an issue with communication because everyone understands the same jargon, whether it is about IT, operations, human resources, etc. Problems can occur, however, when a new coworker joins you and isn’t up to speed yet or if individuals from different departments take part in a chatroom conversation and they aren’t familiar with your work or processes.

If everyone spoke in their own departmental jargon, how many communication breakdowns would you expect? More than likely, at least a few.

And what if you speak with one of your customers through a chat program? While you might know exactly what you are trying to communicate, the customer may not fully understand your message, possibly costing you a valuable business opportunity.

Text: Make it clear and to the point

Another communication method most of us have used over the past few years is text. With text communications, it’s vital that you speak simply and clearly. If you don’t, you risk confusing, or worse alienating, the person at the other end of your text.

Just imagine the amount of time it would take to have to explain a complex, jargon-filled text to someone who doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Using simple terms that everyone understands, to begin with, is the best way to get the point of your text across quickly and effectively.

In addition to avoiding jargon while texting, it’s important to follow common text etiquette rules to make sure that your text is easily understood. For instance, avoid using emojis and abbreviations in a work-related text. The people you communicate with are your co-workers and clients, and they require a more formal method of communication.

“The receiver should not be confused as to what you are trying to say, and if your message is interpreted the wrong way, your miscommunication could cause conflicts and even missed business opportunities,” according to Entrepreneur.com. “Make sure your message is clear, and review it for standalone clarity before hitting the send button.”

Video: Instruct or explain using succinct, crisp dialogue

It’s also critical that your video communication is clear and concise. Not only can confusion run amuck if you use departmental jargon, it’s difficult to come back after the fact and explain what you meant. Use terms everyone can understand when making your video presentation.

This is especially true for videos meant to educate others in a process familiar to employees who are not in your department. Look at it this way: If you were someone completely new to your department, how would you want something explained to you? Maybe you haven’t had time to pick up on all of the common departmental terms. Think of the confusion that would create. Instead, create a video that avoids that confusion using succinct, crisp dialogue.

The ultimate goal

Departmental jargon is bound to pop up when you work with others in the same field or team. Keep in mind, though, that company leaders, co-workers in other departments, and customers unfamiliar with the jargon might find themselves feeling lost and confused.

Your ultimate goal? Craft clear, concise communications that anyone can understand in order to get your message across each and every time.

Via HR Technologist : 7 Tips On Promoting Effective Communication Skills at Workplace

Effective communication skills are essential to succeed in your career. Learn these 7 steps to take to improve communication at workplace and get benefits.

Good communication between team members is essential for effective work. It can bring people closer, solve any problems and increase engagement. Poor communication, on the other hand, only leads to misunderstanding, obstacles and ineffective work.

You may believe that you already have good communication skills – but the thing with communication is that it can always be improved.

Here are some ideas on how you could promote better, effective communication at work:

1. Listen to your team members

People in higher positions usually feel like they have to all of the talking and none of the listening. This is wrong for many reasons. For one, people that have a more hands-on approach often have better ideas on how to improve the work environment. They often know where the problems occur, what the most effective time of day is and how to improve efficiency. Be open to their ideas and listen to what they have to say. If you believe that you are a good listener already, pay attention to your habits at work – notice if you start interrupting your team members if you start spacing out or looking at your devices while they speak to you.

2. Create a communication-friendly space

Your role as an HR manager is to make sure that the work environment is always open in terms of communication flow. Speaking up should never be something that your employees are afraid to do. Set an example of how they should behave – always say good morning and address them by their names, ask them questions to get the conversation going from the start of the day. When you speak to them, don’t appear distracted and disrespectful and always make sure that any problems are solved by communication and not by arguing. This way, your employees will have a hint at what they should do if they run into a disagreement. Encourage good interaction outside of work – building these relationships is important. Let your employees know that they can come talk to you whenever they need to. An open-door policy is a good way to create an effective environment.

3. Ask for feedback

A good way to keep the communication going is to move forward from the traditional top-down communication lines. Ask your employees to share their ideas, thoughts, complaints in any way they feel comfortable with. Some of them will enjoy having a conversation whenever possible but some will be shy and would prefer other means of communication. Offer emails and resources where they could let you know what their opinions are – some email writing tools that you could recommend are Academ Advisor, Via Writing or Boom Essays. Allow them to talk in meetings as well, let them ask questions – this is the best way to promote good conversation and educate them.

4. Host team-building games

This may not be the most often used way to improve communication at work and sometimes it might not be appropriate but it is certainly effective. Team building games are fun and employees grow to have better relationships with their colleagues as well as their managers if they are involved. “These don’t have to be elaborate – you could simply make a game out of writing something unexpected about yourself on a piece of paper, throwing it in a hat and letting everyone guess whose unexpected confession it is”, – explains Stephen Davis, an HR manager at Essayroo and Study Demic writer.

5. Open a platform for anonymous feedback

As previously stated, some people might have some trouble speaking publicly or letting everyone know how they feel. This is why it’s a good idea to have a system for anonymous feedback. It can be as simple as a box or a book for anonymous opinions or as elaborate as a forum for your employees. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to share their thoughts this way – even those who like speaking in person will give you a more honest opinion when they feel safe. This can give you great ideas on how to improve your current processes.

6. Have monthly one-on-one meetings

Instead of speaking one-on-one with your employees annually, make it a habit to hold these meetings once a month. It’s a good idea because you’ll have a better representation of how they feel, what is happening in their office and personal life and you’ll also build trust this way. If they get used to speaking with you once a month, their walls will come down and you’ll be able to get a full picture of their thoughts. Set a schedule of these meetings and let your employees know on time – you can use tools like StateOfWriting and UK Writings to create accurate emails so that there is no confusion.

Final Thoughts

Working as a team is good for sharing ideas and boosting productivity. However, these efforts can be hampered if the communication between team members isn’t good. Make sure that you maintain open lines of communication and that you are constantly working on improving them further.

Via Monster : How to disagree with your boss without losing your job

Clashing with a higher-up can be career-killing, but a few strategies can make it much more manageable.

It’s tricky when you have a beef with your boss. How do you disagree with a person who most likely hired you—and has the power to potentially fire you?

Say something, and you run the risk of being seen as difficult or even adversarial. Stay silent, and you could seem ambivalent or complacent.

“I think we have a lot of fear about bringing up opposing ideas because we think it’s going to create conflict,” says Rebecca Vertucci, career coach and principal at the Vertucci Group.

“But your boss wants you to be successful. Often we’re surprised by being able to say something and it not going as poorly as we thought it was going to.”

Your company hired you because they think you’re an asset, so bring your experience and point of view to the table—but do it strategically:

Step 1: Time it right

Bringing something up at an inopportune time can spell doom for whatever issue you’re trying to address.

“I think what happens is that people feel like their opinion isn’t important, so they bite their tongue a few times,” says David Couper, a career and work expert in Los Angeles. “Then, they’re in a meeting and disagree in the heat of the moment. Then it becomes really heated.”

Choose the right moment—likely a private chat—to discuss things.

“I worked with a Big Five partner, and the easiest way to get him was to grab him in the hallway between meetings and give him two to three facts about why I disagreed,” Couper says. “Nine times out of 10, I would succeed.”

Step 2: Know your boss’s motivation

Key in any negotiation is understanding what the other side values. The best way to get them to listen is to be able to reflect back to them that you understand what’s important to them.

This might take some detective work on your part.

“It may be that you have to ask some good questions, because you may not understand what’s behind the decision or action that you’re disagreeing with,” says Tammy Gooler Loeb, a career and executive coach in the Boston area.

So before you state an opposing view, “You have to understand what it is you’re disagreeing with at the root.”

You can use this information to frame your suggestion as something that’s different from theirs—but that still serves your boss’s ultimate purpose or priority.

Step 3: Make it their idea

If you present information in the right way, you might change your boss’s mind about things—and let her come to her own conclusion.

The way to do this gracefully is, “you kind of accept what they’re saying (even if you don’t agree with it), come back to them, talk about other issues, and if you’re smart enough, they come up with the new idea, which is kind of what you wanted,” Couper says. “They’ve just changed their mind because you’ve given them information.”

This approach will usually take more than one discussion, so don’t give up. Plan on having a few conversations over time to make this happen.

Step 4: Help them look good

“When managers and bosses are dealing with their team, they get a lot of the brunt of what’s not working and the complaints,” Vertucci says. Remember that your boss is trying to look good, just like everyone else, and if you can help her do that, you’ve got a greater chance of success.

“You may not agree with them, and you may have some constructive feedback, but if they feel like you are trying to help them shine, they will be more open to your ideas.”

Step 5: Don’t wait until the last minute

No matter what, make your thoughts known while there’s still a potential opportunity to take action.

“Sometimes people will bring up a dissenting point of view after the fact, when no one can do anything about it, and that’s just not productive,” Gooler Loeb says.

That said, it could be that it’s too late already—and you just don’t have enough information to know that. But to the extent that you can, act promptly.

Step 6: Be prepared to lose

There’s always a chance that you’ll speak your mind and nothing will change. And you have to mentally prepare for that possibility.

“Your point may be taken, but it may not be taken well, in that it’s not going to change anything,” Gooler Loeb says. “It doesn’t mean losing your job, it just means you may have to comply with something that your boss feels is the best approach.”

If that’s the case, give it your best can-do attitude. “Take that lemon and make lemonade,” Gooler Loeb says. “Try to learn from that or understand it, even if you disagree with it. Trying to understand it will help you at least be able to support it.”

Step 7: Be prepared to leave

If you find yourself in one of those jobs where you can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with your boss about anything—or she never seems to want your feedback, it might be time to look for a job where you can respect your manager a bit more. Or, where your ideas can be heard.

Join Monster and you can upload five different versions of your resume, so you’ll be ready to send the right one out as soon as you see a good match. We’ll also email you new jobs as soon as they’re available, so you can jump on them and get yourself in a job where you’re growing in your career—not butting heads with your boss.

Via Grammarly : How to Collaborate Effectively at Work (and Why You Should Care)

“No man is an island,” the English poet John Donne once wrote. Nearly 400 years later, if you’re into creative, ambitious work, that sentiment is truer than ever—collaboration is often essential.

It also might not feel like your strong suit. Maybe you feel weird without your headphones in and would much rather work alone. But even then, chances are your efforts are part of a greater whole that hinges on your abilities as a collaborator to succeed—so you might as well speak up.

It’s an area where we can all stand to improve, and Grammarly has you covered. Here are six tips to help you become a better collaborator.

What is collaboration, anyway?

Working in collaboration means everyone can contribute ideas—so it’s different from the kind of teamwork where a group marches in unified lockstep to realize one person’s plan or goal. Collaborating means hearing people out, melding different ideas together, and building toward a shared objective.

Put another way, if you’re not steadily communicating about what you’re trying to accomplish and how best to go about it, you’re not really collaborating.

Part of communicating is listening and understanding.

Collaboration doesn’t work if only one person does all the talking. Fostering a collaborative space means making room for other people to share their ideas—even the shy ones. (That said, making a point of giving a quiet person the floor doesn’t help much if they feel suddenly called on like a daydreamer who zoned out in algebra class.)

Part of getting people to open up and share valuable ideas is helping them feel like they’ll be heard. That means being patient and generous—a facilitator, not an autocrat.

Correct: That’s an interesting idea. How do you see it fitting into this project?

Incorrect: You already know that idea is unrealistic, so just hush.

Also, if you are one of the quieter ones present for a collaborative discussion, recognize that you’re in the room to participate, not just observe. That’s not always the case in life—and yes, people who think all meetings should be collaborative are insufferable—but in this case, it’s good to show you’re engaged by saying what you’re thinking.

Keep the conversation open ended.

One of the challenges of the collaborative process is getting past the blue sky stage where people throw out ideas, and onto distilling the results into an actionable plan with defined deliverables. When you’re trying to clarify what you’ll actually be doing, it helps to ask questions rather than issue decrees, like so:

Correct: What problem are we trying to solve?

Incorrect: Our next iteration just needs to look more like the competition’s.

Correct: What timeframe will it take to achieve meaningful progress?

Incorrect: I need this done and dusted before Thursday’s board meeting.

A useful strategy to get people on the same page is to try repeating their points back in your own words. This helps crystallize the takeaways and can reveal any discrepancies or misunderstandings that need to be addressed early on. It can also be worthwhile to capture key ideas on a whiteboard, sticky notes, or a shared screen.

Know when to ask for help—and be delicate when offering it.

One of the joys of being a collaborator is you don’t have to have all the answers. A truly collaborative endeavor is one where it’s okay to take risks—and to go to your colleagues when you need guidance. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it shows that you’re interested in getting better at something, have recognized someone else’s skill, and feel secure enough to take some time out for your edification.

Likewise, you want other people to feel at ease getting help from you, not forced, as in this example:

Incorrect: You’re doing it wrong. Here, let me show you how an adult does it.

Correct: I noticed you’ve been working on that part for a while. Let me know if I can help out, okay?

Don’t make your collaboration messier than necessary.

Over the course of your project, you and your collaborators will likely find things to disagree about. It’s worth remembering there’s value in drawing from perspectives—even if only a fraction of the insights this process yields will be perfect.

For the rest, be diplomatic. Know when to hold your tongue. Keep in mind that kindness, while not always effortless, is rarely a waste of energy.

At some point, someone will probably have to say “no,” or at least “not right now.” And someone else will have to live with that. This is part of what separates a collaborative process that sets and achieves its goals from an endless digression on things people wish would happen at some point. In other words, while it might not always feel like it, it’s often a good thing.

When you’re done, share credit—and say thank you.

There is no quicker way to exclude yourself from a group’s future collaborative endeavors than to claim all the credit and glory for yourself. It’s simply not a good look when you could instead be graciously acknowledging the contributions of your peers and bringing donuts.

Lastly, take a moment to reflect on what you learned and what you hope to improve going forward. Such lessons may come in handy the next time you’re called upon to collaborate.

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