Talking is something we often do without thinking—like breathing. We talk to our friends, kids, coworkers, spouses, clients and customers without thinking much about it. Although it may seem easy, true communication takes quite a bit of skill: Choosing our tone, controlling our body language, and paying attention to how we listen. The ability to clearly get our message across requires intention and practice.
Additionally, each of us have a unique way of communicating, often based on our family experiences, culture, gender and many other factors. While there is no right or wrong natural style of communicating, our past experiences build expectations that we don't verbally communicate with others, and others fail to meet our expectations—or we fail to meet theirs—the result can be tension and misunderstanding. For example, if we come from a large family that tends to shout in order to be heard, we may think that speaking loudly is normal. But if our coworkers come from a smaller, quieter family environment, they may be uncomfortable or even frightened by a raised voice. These differences in communication styles can lead to communication roadblocks—in an organization, communication roadblocks lead to conflict.
In order to resolve conflicts, we need to communicate about the issue; but negative patterns of communication can often lead to greater frustration and escalation of conflict. Remember, different communications styles are not not necessarily bad, but tension can breed bad behavior. Strong communication skills can help you and your team overcome conflict that results from these roadblocks.
Here's one step you can take to begin overcoming communication roadblocks and conflict in communication: a soft startup to the conversation.
Start with something positive, express appreciation, focus on problems one-at-a-time, and take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. Discussing our backgrounds and perceptions can also help to clarify expectations of ourselves and others and can also help our coworker understand our point of view. Knowing this information about one another is a critical piece of the problem solving process.
I invite you to join me on August 18th to learn about the rest of this process. At Employee Communications: Creating a Positive Workplace Culture, we'll take a deep dive into how strong communication skills can transform your workplace. It's the perfect opportunity for multiple team members to attend together and maximize impact. Here's a preview of what participants will learn:
If you have any questions about this session, or if you'd like me to to bring it straight to your organization, let's have a conversation about how I can help you build your capacity.
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