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4 techniques to build your people skills

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Top admins exhibit bridge-building communication skills by emphasizing shared interests and minimizing resistance. Try these techniques to communicate better with colleagues:

1. Use affirming language. Speak in positive terms and avoid negatively worded comments. Be­­ware of any sentence that starts, “I don’t” or “I won’t.” Replace “I didn’t know you wanted me to do that” with “I understand what you want me to do.” This assures others you’re on the same page and you’ll follow through.

2. Offer suggestions, not criticisms. Displeased with a co-worker’s actions? Rather than dwell on what went wrong, look ahead to forge a better way. Replace “I would have preferred if you read my memo first” with “In the future, please read my memo first. That’ll save time and prevent errors.”

3. Limit how often you express unsolicited opinions. If you volunteer too many opinions, you can sever potential connections with others. Habitually saying, “I think you’re trying to …” can trigger a “No I’m not!” reaction. Instead, ask neutrally worded, nonaccusatory questions. Example: “What do you conclude from this?”

4. Adjust your preferred communication style. Modify how you speak and listen to align yourself with others. If someone avoids eye contact, don’t overdose on eye contact; you’ll seem domineering. If someone speaks slowly, cut your tempo.

— Adapted from “Potent Communication: 9 Easy People Skills Tips To Use Immediately,” Kate Nasser, www.katenasser.com.

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