We all have room to polish our communication skills—some people want to be more assertive, others need help with conflict management, and still others find it hard to speak their minds in a group setting. Here are a few tips that can help you get your ideas across.
This post originally appeared on The Muse.
When it comes to job coaching, almost every conversation I have with a client involves the topic of communication. The motives can vary widely, and as I reflect on all the conversations I have, I realize that most of the time, we’re not talking about complex ideas. It’s really the basics about workplace communication that seem to trip most people up.
So, since we could all use a good reminder, here are the top five things I help my clients with when it comes to communication. Identify the ones that you need to work on, and start moving them into your conversation skill set today.
Stop Saying “But” and Start Saying “And”
Do you ever catch yourself saying things like, “I love that idea, but we need to do it differently?”
As soon as you say the word “but,” the other person immediately forgets the part about you loving the idea. Because you completely invalidated it with the “but” and everything that came after it.
Instead, use “and:” “I love that idea, and I think a slightly different approach would be most effective.” Hear the difference?
In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey breaks down the rules of improv. One of those rules is to always say “yes, and…” This shows respect for what your partner has to say (even if you don’t agree), helps you keep an open mind about the act, and invites you to contribute to the conversation by building on the other person’s idea or adding your own ideas. Same goes for communicating at work.