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What to say when …

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in Workplace Communication

What to say when ...

Your employee expresses fear about calling an angry customer:


“As much as you dread having to do this, chances are the entire call will last just a few minutes. It’ll represent only a fraction of your day’s work, so there’s no reason to invest much more time thinking about it. We’ve already gone over how you should start the conversation, and from there it’s really a matter of listening. You are not expected to solve a problem or come up with a solution. All you have to do is stay calm and remember not to take what you hear personally. It’s something all of us have to go through at least once, so consider it a rite of passage.”

You realize a colleague has just overheard you say something that’s confidential:

“Obviously, I did not intend for you to hear what I just said. It’s a private matter. I’d hate to think that other people’s feelings got hurt or rumors got started because this message got out. There’s an urge to want to tell someone, and I can understand that. But when something that’s confidential winds up spreading, it tends to take on a life all its own. And all kinds of unforeseen damage can result. Will you give me your word that you will keep this to yourself?”

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