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Be a more intentional communicator

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

You can prevent so many misunderstandings, and drastically reduce conflict, if you make the choice to be less reactive and more intentional when you communicate at work. Follow this advice:

Pinpoint your triggers. What people or which situations increase your anxiety or frustration? If you know that, you can prepare yourself mentally for difficult situations.

Take a deep breath. When you feel yourself growing irritated, before you respond, take a moment to breathe and relax your body, including your arms, shoulders and belly. Doing so centers you so that you can respond calmly. If you need a private moment to compose your thoughts, excuse yourself.

Check your assumptions. Instead of jumping to conclusions, or assuming that others’ intentions are bad, believe that they want the best possible outcome, too. You’ll immediately become less defensive.

Shift your perspective. Everything isn’t about you, and the other person may not be trying to make your life difficult. Stop taking co-workers’ actions so personally.

Find a way to let the other person be right. This one is hard, especially when you truly believe the other person is in the wrong. Still, find a point on which you can agree or identify a reason to thank the person. Examples: bringing an issue to your attention, being honest with you or doing well on one aspect of a task. Doing so lowers the other person’s defenses, decreasing the risk that the conversation will escalate to a fight. Plus, shifting your thoughts to the positive can relax you as well.

— Adapted from “12 Techniques for Being Less Reactive and More Intentional With Workplace Communication,” Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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