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Conquering the Conversation

In both personal and professional life, the manner in which we communicate with others can have a tremendous effect on the perceptions others have of us and can impact our career progression.  Without question, the success of our interpersonal relationships is greatly dependent on our ability to effectively get our message across. Stellar interpersonal skills not only give us the edge in the workplace, but they can also smooth many relationships in our personal lives. Winning over others and persuading them to see things our way is not as difficult as it sounds and with the following hints, you too can conquer your next conversation.

Take another look. Finding merit in another’s point of view can immediately engage the listener as well as diffuse a tense exchange of words.   There are two sides to every story and by acknowledging an opposing point of view, we immediately give the impression that we value that person’s ideas and position.  By accepting those comments that we actually agree with, we are able to turn the conversation around and allow others to understand our thoughts and ideas. 

Respect manner and method.  The way in which we speak to others often supersedes what is actually being said. If we talk with an authoritarian tone, an invisible wall usually appears and gives the impression that we are the final authority and not open for questions or ideas.  In effect, we give off the perception that another’s thoughts are insignificant.  Be diligent with tone and always give another the opportunity to express themselves.

Candor is dependent on trust. As we all know, trust is the basic ingredient for successful and meaningful professional and personal relationships.  If we respect and value another’s ideas and perceptions as well as keep them in our confidence when requested, we are often able to open others to another perspective. In addition, when we have built a solid level of trust with a colleague or friend, we are able to share with them what can be gained and what can be lost as a result of their behaviors and actions with little resistance.  This is also very important in the mentoring relationship.

Timing is everything.  As it is important to know how something should be said, it is equally essential to gage when our conversations or requests should be conducted.  If a manager, coworker or mentor/mentoree is in the throes of making a deadline, then asking them to meet with you for an hour or so is probably not the best idea. We must always remain aware about what is going on within the organization (deadlines, proposals, vacations, etc.). If we do not, another’s hearing will be selective, and we may also run the risk of putting them off.

Let your guard down. Sometimes becoming a bit more self-effacing can be more powerful than we think. Many times, just giving others a glimpse of our responsibilities and previous setbacks can give them an immediate connection and a reason to listen to our views.

Interpersonal relationships can be quite challenging at times, but when we understand why others say and behave as they do, we are well on the way to introducing them to another way of thought. 

 This article was published in The Training Connection, Inc.'s February 2016 Newsletter.

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