7 tips for having better conversations at work

Everybody has conversations at work. No matter what job you do, the glue that holds the working day together is the interactions you have with colleagues and clients. Yet the art of conversation is very rarely the focus of training sessions. The good news is that anyone can become an expert at office conversation. All it takes is a bit of practice and focus on few key principles.

Here are our 7 top tips for having better conversations at work:

1. Listen

It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how little you actually listen to someone when they’re talking! So, when involved in a conversation, make sure you’re attention is on listening to what the other person, or people, are saying rather than thinking about what your response is going to be. If you need to, pause for a second to consider your response before it’s your turn to speak.

2. Keep work talk to a minimum

Even though you work in the same office, or industry, try to keep casual office conversations away from work related topics. Instead, talk to your colleagues or clients about more personal topics, such as current affairs or shared interests. This will help to build trust and form a great foundation for deeper, more in-depth conversations.

3. Reflect and repeat back what you understand

Repeating back any important parts of a conversation is great for 3 reasons. Firstly, it allows for correcting any miscommunications or misunderstandings. Secondly it lets your conversation partner/s know that you are actively listening and interested in what they are saying. And thirdly, it will help you to better remember what has been said.

4. Don’t give out unsolicited advice

People are likely to get defensive when they are directly told what they can and can’t do. So, make sure you’re being a team player. Try to facilitate and encourage colleagues coming up with their own solutions. You can do this by listening carefully to what they say, asking thought provoking, open questions or providing valuable information that will help them to progress.

5. Tell a Story

As humans, we favor narratives that centered around a strong character, and we can bring this storytelling concept into the work place. Next time someone comes to you with an issue, instead of directly telling someone what to do, tell an anecdote about how someone resolved a similar situation. Your colleague can interpret this how they want, and they are more likely to remember a story than other forms of information.

6. Avoid Controversial Jokes

Humor is incredibly subjective. So, be careful about making jokes that may be perceived as insensitive. Remember, not everyone has the same sense of humor and you definitely don’t want to cause offense at work for the sake of a few laughs. Because of this, it’s better to keep the more controversial jokes for when you are socializing amongst friends outside of the workplace.

7. Use Positive Body Language

Body Language plays an important role in how we communicate. Whether you’re aware of it or not, it can reveal a great deal about what you or your conversation partner is really thinking. When working on positive body language, you’re main goal should be to seem ‘open’. Some tips for achieving this include showing your palms and forearms, avoiding crossing your arms and legs, keeping your hands away from your face, and smiling!

Conversations at work are a vital part of the growth puzzle. How productively your business runs, relies on how well your teams can communicate and collaborate with each other, and their clients. Agility is key and having quality communications between your teams is essential. Our new eGuide ‘Crossed wires’ is here to help you detangle yours. Download your copy now.