By Megan Bensatte
The Key to Interpersonal Communications? The Other Person.
One of the great things about being part of a team is that everyone thinks a little differently. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to challenges in communications. Whenever this happens, I try to remember that the best way to find common ground with someone is to spend a few minutes in their shoes.
As Henry Ford once said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” So next time you find yourself in a situation where you and your colleague just don’t seem to connect, try one of these techniques.
1) Frame your ask to benefit them. Between all the demands you juggle on a daily basis, you may be tempted to skip this suggestion. But consider this: What if your team member had to back out of a meeting he was directing and asked you to facilitate so he could handle a different project? Now what if your coworker had to back out of a meeting he was directing and asked you to facilitate because he had always admired your facilitation skills and couldn’t think to leave the meeting in the hands of anyone else? When would you be more likely to say yes?
2) Get to know them. If you always have an ask every time you talk to your coworker, she is likely going to think you only find her valuable when you want something. Next time you see your colleague in the break room, casually ask how things are going on a big project, or about her weekend plans? Even if the conversation is short, she’ll appreciate your interest.
3) Genuinely appreciate their feedback… and let them know it. Everyone likes to hear they are appreciated, I know I don’t turn down praise. And the truth is, in the larger scheme of things, we’re always better as a team than on our own. Recognize that your colleague offers a differing opinion that is valuable and that others likely hold. Even if you don’t use his feedback, the appreciation you show for him will buy you some goodwill the next time you work together.
Do you have other techniques for improving communications with colleagues? Share with us!