When you’re working with a team in an office setting, chances are you’ll be working with people who have skills, education and experience in your field. While those are all beneficial, they won’t be used to the fullest without good communication among the members of the team.
Effective collaboration requires excellent communication. One big step in that process involves not allowing prior assumptions or animosities to get in the way of doing the job you’ve all been assigned to do. Another part is using the right language with co-workers.
To ensure you’re communicating in the best way possible, keep some key ideas and phrases in mind.
1. Acknowledge the efforts of others
Some team members need more reassurance than others, but everyone deserves acknowledgement. Spending just a small amount of time acknowledging others can help to avoid conflicts, and can give each member the feeling that they’re an effective member of the team. Whether you say “thank you for your input,” or “we couldn’t do it without you,” these phrases show that you value the person’s work, and that you’re aware of the contribution they’re making to the organization.
2. Be willing to help
When you’re working in a collaborative setting, your fellow team members want to know that you have their backs. Simply saying “how can I help?” can demonstrate your willingness to collaborate, to go the extra mile and to do things that are beyond your job description.
3. Focus on clarity
When there are multiple players working on the same project, there’s always the risk of misunderstandings and misinformation. With that in mind, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification to ensure you understand what your co-workers are trying to say. For example, simply say “Can you clarify this for me?” or even “I don’t understand this. Can you help?” suggests author Karen Friedman in her book “Shut Up and Say Something.”
4. Ask for feedback
To encourage your co-workers to in turn share what they’re thinking, ask for feedback. Say things such as “tell me what you think about this,” or “I’d love your feedback on my work on this project.” Listen carefully to what your co-workers share, and if you don’t understand something, go back to #3 and get more clarification.
5. Deliver information in the clearest way possible
Even if you’re getting good at asking for clarification, your co-workers might not be as skilled as you. That’s why you need to be as direct as possible when sharing important information. Don’t start by talking about the weather or the day’s events. If you have important news to share, just get down to it. While you can’t really limit it to one particular phrase, you might say something like “This is what needs to get done today,” and then lay out the details, without sugarcoating it.
Learning to communicate effectively in the workplace doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes, you’ll have to put aside your own grudges, assumptions and attitudes in order to make it work. And by using these phrases and ideas, you’ll have other tools in your toolbox to help you along.
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