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5 Phrases Excellent Communicators Always Use At Work

5 Phrases Excellent Communicators Always Use At Work

If you are good at your job, solve problems and can meet deadlines, you may think that is enough. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, there is something missing. Effective communication skills are vital and are at the top of their list.

They list the top 5: communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork skills, technical skills and strong work ethic that employers are looking for. Not that leaders and managers are doing so well on the communication skills battlefront either. They often have to deal with the rather nasty consequences of poor communication when productivity and morale plummet, not to mention lawsuits, some of which stem from a simple breakdown in communication.

“Communication heals most wounds, but when you are amongst those with hidden agendas, they are more like viruses and difficult to cure.”- Glenn Llopis, Forbes magazine contributor.

Here are 5 phrases that skillful communicators will use with maximum effect in the workplace.

1. “Have you had a situation where that strategy worked?”

This is ten thousand times more effective than “No, I honestly think that would not work.” An excellent communicator knows she has to show a certain openness to new ideas. Asking for details of past experience shows a desire to build a team and make joint decisions without destroying trust or morale.

2. “Tell me more, that sounds really interesting”

If the coworker says this, it shows a willingness to listen which is one of the pillars of effective communication. If he chooses to say “If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me,” he is sending a very strong signal that it is his turn to speak and he has a better idea/proposal/ example to talk about. It is also saying that he wants to dominate the discussion. All these are the telltale signs of a very poor communicator. You can tell that this person is hardly listening at all as he prepares his own perfect example.

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3. “What do you mean when you say…?”

A manager or colleague can give feedback in many ways and they can also repeat exactly what the team member has just said. This sounds rather false. A much better approach is to use the above question and ask more questions to clarify other issues, outcomes and consequences. Also, show that you have really listened at the end by recalling a few of the points raised in a fresh sentence or in action points, if they are feasible.

Skilled communicators will be paying attention to the non-verbal signals they are sending as well. They will avoid crossed arms and look to maintain eye contact. They are not afraid to use appropriate touching. They know that touch is the most powerful of all the non verbal cues.

Did you know that body language conveys more meaning than the actual words we use? Albert Mehrabian is a psychologist who has done some interesting research on this. The message is not so much -watch your language as watch your body language.

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4. “Let me know why you were behind on that deadline so that we can get back on track.”

The clever communicator knows that ticking off a person with “You should work harder at meeting deadlines” is missing the mark almost entirely and comes across as unhelpful. A much better idea is to offer a solution or help to find out what the real problem is. Making suggestions and offering advice is a great way to build bridges which is what communication is all about.

5. “Here are a few points you need to work on before the next sales presentation.”

Very often, critical comments such as “ I’m really disappointed your sales presentation went badly” will be taken as a personal attack and will cause resentment and poor performance. An excellent communicator knows that keeping emotion and opinions out of the equation are far more effective. She starts by praising any good points then gently suggests changes for the next time round. This works just as well when carrying out performance assessments too.

Finally, don’t forget that an over-reliance on email and technology may destroy the wonderful art of communication. Texts and emails are fine for conveying information but when it comes to actually dealing with more sensitive issues, you just cannot beat a face-to-face conversation. That is why no email Friday is such a great idea.

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“No E-mail Friday helps us to remember we really could go over to that person sitting right over there and collaborate more.”- Sara Roberts, President, Roberts Golden Consulting, San Francisco.

Featured photo credit: VFS Digital Design Mexico Intensive/ Vancouver Film School via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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