In a perfect world, all of our interactions with our colleagues would be nothing but pleasant. Unfortunately we are all human, so conflicts are bound to occur once in awhile. While you may not be able to control if and when these situations arise, you can control how you approach them. The way in which you communicate with others during tense or negative situations can make all the difference in how the conversation goes. Here are some tips for keeping a negative situation from becoming a negative relationship.
Avoid direct questions: This tip doesn’t mean you can’t ask directly for information you need. It just means you need to lead into the question with some pleasantries. For example, an employee is late for a meeting (again!) and you want to find out why. You approach the employee after the meeting and ask one of the two following questions:
“Why were you late this morning?”
“I noticed you came into the meeting late this morning. Did something happen?”
Although both questions aim at the same information, the first is much more likely to generate a negative, defensive response from the employee. Phrase the question in a more polite way, and you are much more likely to get a more honest, positive response.
Postpone if Emotions are High: When people are feeling emotional, their rational capabilities suffer. This often results in saying things in the heat of the moment that you regret later. While this can be problematic in any situation, in a business setting, it can irreparably damage your professional relationships and your career. If you find that you are becoming increasingly upset during a conversation with a colleague, postpone the discussion until you have had time to cool down and consider the situation rationally. Simply tell the other person that you don’t have the time to continue this conversation at the moment, but you would like to talk about it at a later time and try to come to a solution that’s positive for everyone. Make sure to set an actual time to continue the conversation so it doesn’t get postponed indefinitely, laying the foundation for negative feelings between you and your colleague.
Stay tuned: Next week we’ll continue this series with more ways to diffuse negative situations in the workplace.
Do you want to improve your communication skills and learn how to make the most of your professional interactions? Give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com and let our team of corporate speech-language pathologists help you turn your speech into your most powerful professional tool. Don’t live in NYC? No problem! Our services are Skype ready, so CSS can help you improve your communication from anywhere in there world.