Communication is key in the workplace and TeamBuilders Counseling Services, experts in communication, have listed the most effective approaches employees can take to get results.
Every manager has their own communication style. It is paramount to understand their style before taking any further steps. In a digital age, there are still some managers that prefer face-to-face communication. Some managers are content with summarizing points while other desire full details. Do not be overwhelmed. It is OK to ask a manager if their style is not clear.
“Prepare,” said Shannon Freedle of TeamBuilders Counseling Services. “Active listening may be the most important part of communication. If an employee is thinking of what to say next while their boss is speaking, then there will be a breakdown in communication. The better prepared they are to answer questions, discuss topics, the more active listening they will be able to do.”
Be clear, get to the point. Time is important for management. Even if they have time, making a clear and succinct point is paramount. Don’t bury the lead. Start with the main point and then provide supporting detail if necessary. Speak as if you are writing an article. Start with an engaging headline that gets a manager thinking.
“Make sure management knows why you are having a discussion,” said Freedle. “It’s important that management knows the desired outcome of the conversation whether it be input, approval, or something else. They will better know how to proceed.”
Keep calm and carry on a conversation. Emotion should not play a role in a professional conversation. This is easier said than done, especially when an employee is passionate about their work. However, being able to be objective and calm will establish credibility in the conversation.
Consider the bigger picture. “Understand what is important to a manager, what motivates them,” said Freedle. “Adjusting your approach to the needs of your audience is incredibly helpful in reaching your intended goal. Don’t make requests without thinking about the future impact it will have. Most managers are concerned with the bigger picture, long-term goals, and overall performance. If you can display that you understand their goals, they will be more likely to help you reach yours.”
Be objective. Everyone has a leaning, a bias, an agenda. The key is not making that transparent in conversation. A manager will respect an opinion or request more if it is presented objectively, based on facts important to them rather than opinion or bias. Always keep that in mind before having a conversation. How others perceive a conversation is just as important as the conversation itself.
Being prepared, being clear, and being objective are all important. Good communication, though, does not solely fall on the employee — management can also help make the process better.
Sharon Freedle of TeamBuilders Counseling Services said, “Communication goes both ways in the workplace. We encourage management to have an open-door policy to allow for an easy flow of communication.”