Anna is Gina’s senior producer for a lifestyle show; lately Anna seems to be distracted, the quality of her work has declined and Gina wants to know what the problem is. In the workplace, people devote around 80% of their time in an interpersonal situation. Studies have shown that most of the problems that arise in the workplace are rooted in poor communications.
As Anna’s superior, Gina can make use of the following techniques for effective communication to discover what caused the decline in Anna’s performance:
Identify the issue and focus on obtaining information relevant to the issue.
“Anna, during the past two weeks I noticed that we’ve fallen behind schedule. What can we do to keep up with our deadlines?”
Phrase your questions to be open-ended; open-ended questions invite discussion while leading questions convey an expected answer.
“I was wondering because we have been working together for 10 years and this is the first time we experienced any delay. Why the change?”
Effective communication includes nonverbal language; to encourage dialogue, make eye contact and maintain an open expression. Other nonverbal forms of communication that encourages dialogue include nodding your head as if in agreement or in acknowledgement of what the other is saying; smiling, refrain from crossing your arms or legs, and lean a little toward the person you are talking to.
Paraphrase the information you have received to reassure the person that not only did you listen to her but you understand her and her position as well.
"So your position is that these out of town trips can be very unpredictable and you think that all of the producers should sit down and discuss the possibility of modifying the show’s format?”
Recognize that you don’t know all the answers to all questions. If you don’t know the answer just say that you don’t know. You don’t have to make other people feel and think that you know everything.
Listen to other people’s concerns. People need to be heard just like you do. More importantly, take the initiative to share in other people’s feelings.
Always remember that what others may not mean the way we think they mean it. Our values, beliefs and judgments may have altered the meaning of what someone has said. Always allow for the possibility that our impression of what someone has said may not be true.
Focus on common interests rather than differences. This will help you direct your energy to promoting the common interest and making everyone happier, and will also help you avoid frustration.
Be aware when you impinge on someone’s space. Personal space is very important for most people. When you impinge on their space try to ask them respectfully. Tell them the reason you have to impinge on their space.
Think positive. Always see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Doing so will help you reduce stress. Also it can keep you motivated and pleasant when you deal with other people.
In effective communication, after the issues have been clarified and all the necessary information have been uncovered; it is important to summarize the key points, agree on the next best course of action and express your appreciation for the other person’s effort and cooperation.