Millennials, as you enter the workplace, you’re faced with the task of breaking the negative stereotypes that define your generation! One of the best ways to do this? Prove your workplace readiness by communicating professionally to your co-workers and superiors.
Here are five tips to guide you:
Watch that tone!
Growing up as a Millennial, you’re used to using email and text to communicate. However, it’s easy for tones to be misinterpreted through email, so be aware of this when using this form of communication. Always use clear language that cannot be misconstrued, and unless you’re friendly with the person you are corresponding with, don’t try to insert sarcasm or humor into your words, which can easily be misunderstood.
Did you get a frustrating email from a client or your boss? Avoid the urge to angrily type up a response! Step away from the computer or work on another task for twenty minutes before you respond. The last thing you want is for your boss or client to pick up on your anger through email.
As a Millennial, you probably love to collaborate and communicate with others, so it can be hard for you to work with a boss who isn’t big on words. Use open-ended questions to pull more information out of your boss or co-worker.
Were you just assigned a task you’re not 100% clear on? Visit your boss and instead of saying you need more information, ask questions such as “what would you like to see happen with this project in the next month?” These questions force the other person to provide more information, but still allow you to remain polite and professional.
Be aware of both how you verbally and nonverbally communicate when it comes to confidence. Slouched shoulders will never read as confident, no matter what words are coming out of your mouth. Remember how your mother used to yell at you to sit up straight? Well, turns out she was right! Show confidence with a good posture, and avoid crossing your arms in a defensive manner. When it comes time to talk, speak at a volume where everyone in the room can hear you without straining to get closer. Avoid filler words that show your age such as “like” or “um…”. Use an active as opposed to a passive voice, and always make eye contact with those in the room.
Don’t do it half-way.
Millennials have a reputation of having short attention spans, so don’t prove this stereotype right in the workplace. When your boss sends you a lengthy email full of questions and tasks, be sure you include an answer to each question in your response. It may help if you read the email once for content, then go back and highlight each item that needs to be addressed. That way, as you craft a response, you’re able to quickly identify what needs your attention. Bosses do not want to have to go back and forth via email asking the same question over and over, so be sure to address everything on the first round.
Always find a way to professionally end communication with superiors. When your boss sends you an email asking you to do something or help a co-worker, don’t just do it. Let your boss know it is done or when it will be completed. Most bosses want confirmation that you received the task and have accepted the timeframe given. Don’t leave it open-ended by not responding to give them this confirmation.
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