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Communication Partners

Top Ten Ways to Communicate @ Workat Image Are You Projecting

Carwin Dover

Whenever I ask people in a work setting, "What would improve work, profits and customer service the most where you work?" the answer is almost always "Better communication!"

Once the problem is noted, the next question is, "What are some effective ways to improve communication without breaking the bank?" Workshops on communication might be the place to start, but the long term answer is the day to day simple stuff. Many of the most effective ways to improve communication cost very little and require very little time on the part of anyone.

The suggestions below can be done by just about anyone from the janitor on down to the CEO. Check out the February 4, 2002 edition of Fortune for some real life examples in their list of "100 Best Companies to Work For." (Their dangling participle, not mine!)

Top Ten Ways to Communicate @ Work Effectively!

ONE: Learn How to "Read" People. Anyone who has read the newsletter, "Communication @ Work!" over the last several months has become a little familiar with the DiSC Personal Profile SystemŽ. I like the DiSC because it is easy to learn and an effective tool for learning how to "read" people. When you know what motivates individuals, you can respond to them effectively and efficiently.

TWO: Display Pictures of Yourself with Co-Workers. In the Fortune edition mentioned above, Agilent, a spin off of Hewlett Packard describe ways they used to successfully communicate. The CEO gladly had his picture taken with individual employees as he made it a point to visit with them regularly.

THREE: Hide Not the Truth. If you are into reducing conflict, be up front with everyone in the workplace. Hiding important information that can affect working conditions, profits and customer service will probably cause way more trouble than it's worth. Just watch the news for classic examples!

FOUR: Under Promise, Over Deliver. Two times in the last couple of weeks, I was told I would have to wait for service. The first time was at a restaurant who said I would have a 45 minute wait for a table. The other was my brake mechanic who said it would take him 90 minutes to complete his work. I was seated in 25 minutes at the restaurant, and was driving my car away in 65 minutes! What a great gift.

FIVE: "Out Honor" Your Co-Workers. Take the risk of having others take advantage of you. Cross the line first rather than waiting for the other person to communicate first. In other words, give the gift before you receive it.

SIX: Learn Something New about Someone. When you are curious (not snoopy!) about the people at work, you are giving them respect. People love to be respected! Find out how their family is doing, or more about their favor hobby.

SEVEN: Notify Spouses and Family. Speaking of respect, a card of thanks or acknowledgement sent to a spouse or parent can go a long way to improve communication with your employees.

EIGHT: Invite the Kids. When I was a kid, my Dad often took me with him in his work. As a minister, that meant calling on people in the rest homes, going to weddings and occasionally watching him rope calves at a branding event. This is a great way to communicate pride in your work.

NINE: Invite Ideas. People love to work where their ideas are valued. Most everyone notices how to improve the bottom line, but many want to be invited to share their thoughts.

TEN: Give Credit Away Even When It's Your Idea! Anytime you can build up another person at your own expense, you have a good shot at improving the communication at work. Positive communication can be just as contagious as people who are disgruntled.

BONUS: Listen Differently than You Do Now. Practice learning new ways of listening. If you use the same technique, you may find you are missing out on some important information.

Š2002, Carwin Dover, Intentional Partnerships

About the author:
Do you want to learn more? Carwin Dover works with people who want to maximize their talents and with business owners who want to keep their best employees. Subscribe to the free, weekly ezine, "Communication @ Work!" .

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