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Advanced Communication Skills


Tags:  Communication Skills, Management, Co-Workers, Communication style

Communication can be a complicated matter.
 

The words may come out, but the body language and tone of voice may be saying something different. Or you're delivering good news only to find out that it comes with a bit of bad news attached. Or maybe you need to find just the right words to manage your manager.

 

Being able to effectively communicate, especially with your boss, is not always easy. You want to make sure you say the right thing in the right way so he gets the right idea. Understanding how to articulate your ideas in a clear and concise manner can go a long way in building a relationship and helping your boss to see that you understand his point of view, but that you have one of your own. That doesn't mean you need to be defiant or inflexible, it just means you need to learn how to communicate properly.

 

If your goal is to manage your manager, you can do that through refining your communication with him and by following these Guideposts:

 
1. Empathize
 

People need to connect to understand. By building rapport and understanding you will find it easier for your boss to hear what you have to say.

 

Start by discussing the issue at hand. Understand your boss's point of view and where he has concerns. Keep an open mind. Let him know you are on his side and that you understand the pressures he faces. He'll be more receptive to your ideas if he feels you are an ally.

 
2. Handle concerns
 

Communication is very much about commonalities and finding out how two people can relate. Don't take anything for granted. To make sure your boss hears what you have to say, you have to engage him and let him know you hear what he has to say.

 

Restate your boss' concern, and check that you've got the right issue. Then, pick out one of the benefits that were important to your boss, and connect them to the concern. For example –

 

""You're concerned that I won't meet the deadline, and you'll be working all weekend on your speech.   I know that accuracy is important to you. If I use PowerPoint to do the presentation, it will take just a few hours, and you will be able to review it today, instead of the end of the week. ""

 

Communication is not only about listening, but about hearing what the other person says, understanding their intent. Be sure to clarify information through paraphrasing and asking questions. Point out issues and address concerns to make sure you see eye to eye.

 
3. Create awareness
 

Part of communication is voicing opinions. Your boss is likely to have many of his own, just as you probably have many of your own. The important point is to make sure you both see the other person's point of view.

 

Listen to your supervisor's concerns. Hear what he has to say about his expectations.  What if there is no understanding of you point of view? Do you go back to your desk a defeated employee, angry or sad, or both?  No. You create awareness of what your boss is missing in the equation.   State the issue, and then offer up the consequences of the idea –

 

""By assigning the investigation into the cost overruns now, our group will run with a real delay in getting the Loss Prevention data for the area managers' meeting next week. If we don't get these numbers out into the field, there is a real possibility that the rate of shrink will increase – and it's already too high.""

 

Make sure your boss understands all sides of the issue, not just his own. Supervisors are human, too. They don't always have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. By politely creating awareness – of other viewpoints or details – you can help your boss make the most informed decisions.

 

Communication skills are important to developing good relationships, especially one with your boss. They help you express your ideas, learn from others and resolve issues. That's why it is important to never stop working on your communication skills.



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