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Workplace Communication

In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate?

We’ll steer you through changes in business etiquette, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.

It’s easy to have your good mood shattered by a nasty customer, an out-of-the-blue criticism or a computer system that refuses to cooperate. Think of angry customers as a creativity test. Satisfy them without letting their discontent bring you down. Four tips:

When the Chicago offices of marketing agency Upshot burned down, some of the employees spent a year working out of a local bar. Safely ensconced in new digs, the staff still likes to drink together—so they tap a keg in the office at 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. It's part of the perks conceived by a group of employees who call themselves “Pulse,” which recommends ways the company can liven things up.

Courage is a slippery concept but, like art, we know it when we see it. Author Harriet Rubin defines courage as a virtue that allows us to face real risk. Rubin divides courage into components, noting that you never know who’s going to deliver and who will crack under pressure:

When dashing off your next memo, report or e-mail, cut right to the core points. Readers see your writing as a reflection of how you think, so keep it direct and logical.

It’s become a reality-show catchphrase: “I’m not here to make friends.” The implication is that to win, you can’t afford to treat people generously. Will you go further by being cutthroat or collaborative? Let’s look at the data:

If you manage a team that’s stuck in a rut or not working up to its full potential, it may have nothing to do with the drive and talent of the participants. They all may want to succeed and be giving 100% effort, but the results can still disappoint. The problem could be conflict—not too much, but too little.

Workplace noise is a pet peeve for one in five employees, and it can even damage productivity. But is it a peeve worth escalating to human resources? Most HR workers would say that employees should resolve the noisy co-worker issue on their own.

Expectations get lost if communicated poorly, so how you encourage followers is just as important as what you’re encouraging them to do. Here’s how to communicate effectively:

Autumn brings with it a “back to school” feeling that can be sated only with a seminar or course. And there’s no easier, more affordable source for online learning than iTunes. Find out about this new, free training resource that just might work in your organization.

The poet E. Ethelbert Miller recently published a memoir, The Fifth Inning, powered by one metaphor: that in baseball, the fifth inning can represent a complete game. Mostly, he takes stock of how to measure success: