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 with a bit of practice and focus on few key principles.
Here are our 7 top tips for having better conversations at work:
Firstly, when others are talking, your attention should always be on listening to what they 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 industry, try to keep office conversations away from work related topics. Talking to your colleagues or clients about personal topics such as current affairs or shared interests will help to build trust and build a great foundation for deeper conversations.
3. Reflect back what you understand
Reflecting back what has been said is great for 3 reasons. Firstly, it allows for correcting any miscommunications. Secondly it lets your conversation partner know 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. Try to facilitate colleagues coming up with their own solutions. You can do this by listening carefully to what they say, asking thoughtful questions or providing valuable information.
5. Tell a Story
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
Be careful about making jokes that can be perceived as insensitive. Not everyone has the same sense of humour and you defiantly don’t want to cause offense at work. Because of this, it’s better to keep the more controversial jokes for when you are socialising amongst friends.
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. Some tips to displaying positive body language include showing your palms and forearms, avoiding crossing your arms and legs, and smiling!
To learn more, download the CloudCall guide to The Art of Conversation and keep an eye out for more insights in the coming months.
*1Heath, C. and Heath, D 2007. Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck