Expert Panel

Common job issues and solutions in Workplace Communication Skills

People don't to listen to you or act on what you say.


Do your coworkers, employees and your boss all listen to your input?  Do they ask for your advice, seek out your opinion, and implement your ideas?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, then I would love for you to share your tips with our readers.  However, if you answered no to any of these questions, I can start you off with eight communication tips that will get you on the road to respect at work.


Tip #1 - Less is More When it Comes To Speaking

Can you picture a room where everyone is talking over one another, there are five conversations going at once, except for the one silent person who is just taking it all in?  As soon as that one person speaks, the room goes silent for all to listen…. that could be you.  It takes a lot of restraint to stay out of the bickering and save your opinion for the right moment, but by doing so others will see you as someone who is considering things carefully and only says things that are valuable to listen to.


Tip #2 - Actively Listen When Others are Speaking

Don’t be the guy checking his email when someone else is presenting or leading a discussion.  Pay attention with your eyes, your ears and your pen (taking notes).  Ask clarifying questions to show you were paying attention.  Lead by example and others will pay the same respect to you.


Tip #3 - Ask Others for Their Opinion During One-On-One Discussions        

When you have ideas, even when you already know what you want to do, take the time to approach others in your organization and explain what you were thinking…taking them down a path to come to the conclusion you already had in mind.  When you take the time to include them in the process, you will get more than their opinion; you will get their buy-in.  Then when you are in a group setting, you already have allies in the room for your ideas.


Tip #4 - Give Out Credit in Abundance

Make a concerted effort to share credit for your ideas with other people in the room, and in your organization.  This will show you are a team player and that you vetted your concepts prior to presenting them.  It is harder for others to ignore you when you can prove your idea is already thought to be sound.  It is really a form of peer pressure.


Tip #5 - Practice When to Lead and When to Follow

If you try to control everything all the time, others will tune you out, they will find you arrogant, and won’t want to support you.  However, if you take the time to support others, they will in turn jump on your team when you stand up to take the lead on something.


Tip#6 - Become an Expert in Your Area & Respect Others in Theirs

Take classes, seminars, read self study books, do your research and become an expert in your area of work.  As your knowledge base grows, so will your confidence and authoritative voice.  People will gravitate towards this.  What you should not do, however, is use that voice in areas that should be led by others.  You don’t want to be a know it all.  Respect that your co-workers have strengths and experiences that you do not.  Encourage them to add value to your work by including their expert input, and they will in turn come to you for yours.


Tip #7 - Be Humble, Yet Confident

Humility is a great life lesson.  You can always be better, know more, and learn new things.  So feel good about what you do know because you are constantly trying to improve yourself, but always keep an open mind that you can improve and grow.  Always keep an eye out for others whom you can learn from and respect them for that ability.


Tip#8 - Pick Your Battles

The workplace can turn into a three year olds playground if you let it. So stay above the fray and act like the adult that you know you can be.  Be the one to settle disputes (the silent one in the room), and always take the high road.  It is more important to fight for things essential to achieving your results vs. things that indulge your ego.  Use these criteria as a litmus test for engaging in work battles.


We all have moments of frustration at work, when we feel like we don’t have a voice, when we know we have a better way of doing something but lack the ability to make it a reality.  With these eight tips you will be on your way to gaining the respect you need to influence others.


Do you emphasize your own opinions when you give presentations at work?