Keeping Conversation Channels Open: 10 Essential Tips

Serious Conversation 1How would you rate your conversation skills at work? Research indicates that we think of ourselves as better communicators than we really are. What usually happens is we tell ourselves we got it right and the other person got it wrong.  After all, I was clear. But it’s up us to ensure that the message sent (what we intend to say) is the message received (what the other person really hears). Here are 10 essential tips for keeping conversation channels open

10 tips for communication in the work place

Use these tips to take control of stress reactivity and become a more expert communicator at work.

The self-check questions support you to focus attention where it is most needed.

Remember, any effort you make contributes to keeping communication channels open in your workplace and invites others to do the same. And keep practicing, because practice is what’s going to help you master the art of effective communication.

Start with three key steps we all learned as children: Stop, Look, and Listen

1.  Stop –what are you feeling? Take a deep breath and focus on exhaling deeply to de-stress. Be mindful of the energy you are taking in and/or conveying.

Are you able to soften the energy and trigger a sense of inner calm?

2.  Look –pay attention to anything noteworthy and any changing patterns of interaction.

Are you able to take in information with quiet curiosity while suspending any judgment?

3.  Listen–(to yourself and others) with an open ear, empathy, and a bias for understanding.

Are you able to listen attentively for both main and underlying messages without automatically reacting?

Follow these up with the Three Ps:

4.  Pause–allow a little open space for what you have heard to settle in a bit.

Are you able to sit in silence for a moment without becoming nervous or unsettled?

5.  Ponder–think about what you have heard and what it may mean. Examine what may seem obvious or clear to you and then come at it from another angle. Tune into what is subtle or more nuanced.

Are you able to assume multiple perspectives and deepen your thinking without jumping to conclusions?

6.  Probe–ask questions to clarify or confirm your experience and to really understand the experience of the other person.

Are you able to ask open-ended questions in ways that affirm the other person and appreciate the other point of view?

The final four encourage interaction:

7.  Learn–be willing to question basic assumptions and clarify real needs as you integrate new information with what you believed to be true in the past.

Are you able to allow new insights and awareness to guide your learning, even if it means giving up what may have served you in the past?

8.  Share–put words to what you have learned and ask for what you need in an open, honest, positive way that is truly respectful of the other person.

Are you able to talk about what you have learned (about the situation, yourself, the other person or the team) and ask for what you need in a way that enhances the other person’s perspective and body of knowledge?

9.  Invite collaboration–tap into the creativity of everyone involved to engage in solution thinking and outcome-oriented planning that draws out the best in each person.

Are you able to actively envision and build collaborative solutions in ways that honor and include the contributions of others?

10.  Circle back–continue checking in all along the way as the context and experience may change and thinking and needs may evolve as more information becomes available.

Are you able to sustain your commitment to being open, while addressing mutual needs and working things through with others?

Which of these communication tips has worked for you? Please Share your story!

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