Whether your office has cubicles or an open floor plan, there’s one thing all companies have in common: employees who each have their own unique set of talents, values, and perspectives. For the most part, that’s what makes a company great. The problem? Communication in the workplace can be tough, especially when you’re trying to get a group of coworkers on the same page. But not finding common ground can hurt the company. In a survey by Fierce Inc., 86% of respondents said that a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication was the reason for workplace failures.
The good news: this is totally fixable! But what happens when you and a colleague are struggling to see eye-to-eye—how can you get him to see your point of view? Here’s how to communicate your thoughts more effectively.
4 Tips for Effective Communication at Work
Listen. The first, and perhaps most important, step in getting your coworker to see your point of view, is to actively listen to what they have to say. Nonverbal gestures such as nodding your head and smiling are great ways to generate positive vibes, indicate that you’re receptive, and show you genuinely care about the topic at hand. “When you show an interest in others, they feel seen and heard. They feel respected. They feel like you care,” says Joel Garfinkle, an executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.
Switch sides. After you’ve heard your colleague’s take on the situation, spend a moment envisioning yourself in their position, suggest Garfinkle. You’ll have a better understanding of where he or she is coming from, and you’ll be able to position your point of view in a way that might help them understand your perspective.
Be empathetic. It’s important to let your colleague know that you understand their point of view. Empathise with them, and consider verbally stating something that you agree with or like about the way they presented their point of view. This can help prevent them from becoming defensive when you try to explain your perspective on the situation.
Breathe and Explain. Once you’ve talked through your colleague’s point of view—and really understand it—take a moment of silence to calmly gather your thoughts as you prepare to communicate your point of view. Begin by acknowledging your coworker’s position, and proceed to communicate how you view the situation, notes Judy Ringer, a Power & Presence Training expert, in her article Being Heard: 6 Strategies for Getting Your Point Across. It’s important to do this without using negative or accusatory language. This will hopefully enable your counterpart to see your point of view.
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This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.