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The key to building healthy relationships in the workplace is having strong communication among co-workers. Unfortunately this is often easier said than done. Having solid communication combines many factors. Following these four tips will help you and your office workers speak with each other in a new and improved way.

Show Respect

Most people would agree that they are more involved in a conversation when there is a tone of mutual respect. In the workplace it is especially important to show respect through communication.

It is vital to create a safe and positive environment. This will help people feel comfortable with sharing concerns and ideas to improve aspects of your job. Never attack someone for their ideas or make someone feel like their thoughts are not valued.

Managers should keep in mind that criticism should never be focused on just one individual. Each employee should be equally praised and reviewed so that every person can feel heard. There’s no need to specifically call out that one employee who forgot to change the HP Laserjet toner cartridge again. Be respectful when you’re approaching things that employees can improve on.

Keep in mind the value of face-to-face communication as it helps convey more through your body language. It will also give you a chance to show that you are listening to the other person and actively involved in what they are saying.

Be Concise

Extra “fluff” in office communication can make things confusing and lead to wasted time. Emails, memos, and even texts should be kept to the appropriate length. Do not feel like it is necessary to make your message too formal—it is better and more efficient to simply write in Standard English that everyone will quickly understand without dissecting every word.

Limit time spent in meetings and what information is shared in this context. Meetings are a good time to share ideas that should be discussed by the entire group, but may not work well to share general announcements that don’t require much extra discussion.

If you do have specific office jargon, make sure that everyone is up to date on what it means. If it will save time to use the jargon, consider making it standard around the office. But if the jargon is confusing or not accessible to every employee, consider doing away with it completely.

Stay Appropriate

Enough time is wasted by office distractions without the added distraction of unnecessary conversations. Keep all office conversations relevant and on topic to work-related matters. Try to keep your personal life distant from the office.

When discussing important work matters, avoid crude language which could make other people feel uncomfortable. Try to remove yourself emotionally from the situation and look at it from a strictly professional perspective. You can be yourself at work, but don’t let your emotions get in the way of getting your job done and communicating with co-workers.

Make it Meaningful

Try not to waste your co-workers time with useless or repetitive information. If they are trying to get some of their own work done they could take your attempts at conversation as rude or selfish. Try to keep any conversations relevant to both you and the person you are speaking to.

If you are unclear about a conversation, feel free to clarify it with the other person. It is better to double check than to have regrets later on because of a misunderstanding. When you are speaking face-to-face ask questions along the way for clarity and to show you are actively listening.

Always choose the means of communication that will be most efficient. To check what time a meeting is, an instant or text message will suffice over a phone call or lengthy email.

To improve workplace communication always keep in mind what will work best for your office. Be considerate of everyone around you and try to do what will help you and your co-workers become better employees. Clear, respectful, and meaningful communication will give you a happier and more efficient way to be TCBing (taking care of business).

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Posted by Theo Schmidt

Theo Schmidt has an interest in computer science and engineering, and he uses that interest to fuel his blogging. For all of his printing needs, Theo relies on American Toner & Ink.

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