We can’t stop communicating. Whatever we say or we don’t say, whatever we do or don’t do, whatever our body language displays or doesn’t show, we are constantly conveying messages. So are you sending the message that you really intend to project in the workplace?
It is no secret that when people at work feel appreciated and respected they are more willing to cooperate, step up to the plate and be more congenial. However, it is possible to respect or appreciate a boss, a coworker or an employee but not know how to communicate such respect. This can result in misunderstandings and the other person feeling slighted.
So what’s an effective way of communicating respect?
Here are some suggestions:
Be a good listener. Listen, listen and listen some more! Show interest! When someone is talking to you, put down your phone, don’t look at your computer and look at the speaker straight in the eyes. Put yourself in his/her shoes and try to figure out what he or she is feeling and needing from you.
Pay attention to your body language. Research suggests that body language makes up as much as 80 per cent of all communication. But often we are not aware of the messages that our bodies are sending. As a result, we might come across as negative, defensive or hostile without realizing or intending it. For example, sticking out the face, jaw, or chest, tightly crossing of arms, legs or ankles, pointing or jabbing can reveal anger and hostility. Staring at text messages, fidgeting or talking over someone sends a message of not caring for what the other is saying. In order to show interest and friendliness, make eye contact, be relaxed, lean forward, smile and nod your head.
The tone of voice and the words of choice matters. Be mindful of the volume of your voice, the emotion that you are conveying and how you emphasize your words. Think before you speak! Be extremely careful not to put down, not to blame, not to use sarcasm and not to yell. Speak in a friendly tone of voice, and use kind and respectful words. Make people around you feel comfortable and accepted.
Look at people in a positive light. It is human nature to notice the negative. Perhaps due to a survival instinct our brains are hardwired to registered negative events more easily than positive ones. Unfortunately, the negative trumps the positive. If we meet someone that has a sour face, chances are that we’ll think that she is a bitter person and we’ll try to stay away instead of thinking that perhaps she is not feeling well at that moment and might need a hand. So it takes a conscious effort to focus on the positive. Look at people in a positive light and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Express appreciation and gratitude. Nothing is more heartwarming than a kind word that expresses acceptance, recognition and thankfulness.
Remember that whatever you do affects others and what they do affects you. Communicate in a way that makes people feel good when they are around you. Make them feel valued and connected and notice how your workplace benefits.