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Workplace Communication: Change 2 Words to Get Cooperation From Co-Workers

June 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 188

Choosing positive words is an an important aspect of effective workplace communication. While great communication skills are essential for leaders, they are also necessary for employees.

Choosing Positive Words Improves Workplace Communication

Here's an example...

Sally works at a medical office where the charts must be filed at the end of each day. The task has been assigned to her co-worker, Mary. If Mary doesn't complete it, then Sally, who has a lot of other tasks, must do it.

Sally watches Mary prepare to leave - without noticing a stack of charts... again. Unaware of how this is affecting her co-worker, Mary is completely surprised when Sally pounces.

Sally: "You are always leaving charts for me to file."

Mary: "What?! I don't know what you're talking about. I do so flie the charts!"

Sally: "No you don't."

Mary: "Yes I do!"

You see where this is going? That's right... exactly nowhere. Sally will not be getting the help she wants, plus she has just alienated Mary.

"Always" and "Never" are Negative Words

You see, the words "always" and "never" are negative words because they exaggerate a situation and are rarely true. Since they are usually used to criticize, people feel attacked and can become very defensive.

Why Does This Matter?

Exaggerations Won't Be Believed

Think about it. If you are trying to get your point across, and you exaggerate the situation by using words that express extremes, the person you are talking to will focus on your exaggeration and entirely ignore your message. The words "always" and "never" are common negative exaggerations that cause defensiveness.

Instead, use the words - "Often" and "Seldom".

Use these words, or something similar, to explain your feelings, and your co-worker will be less likely to get defensive. What's more, you are more likely to get the cooperation you are seeking.

Feeling frustrated, Sally decides to speak with her supervisor about her problem with Mary.

" I tried to confront her on her responsibility, and she got very defensive," says Sally. "I told her that she always leaves the charts for me to file."

Her supervisor listens and advised. "Try saying and 'often' instead of 'always'. That might help to ease things."

Positive Word Usage Can Lead To Cooperation

Let's play the office scene again, but this time Sally uses a more positive tact.

Sally: "Since you don't often finish filing the charts, I get frustrated because I usually have to stay late to get the filing finished."

Mary: "I'm sorry, Sally. I've been really swamped. I didn't think about you having to take up the slack. Can we work out a plan so that we can share the filing?"

You see? Mary listened to Sally. Sally felt validated, she'll get the help she needs, and the co-workers remain on good terms.

Using positive words is a leadership skill that can also be taught to employees. It will improve employee relationships and enhance job satisfaction.

Visit to get instant access to our free Leadership Quiz.

Discover how effective are you as a supervisor or manager in the essential workplace leadership skills. The results - improved employee motivation, attitudes, skills, and productivity.

How happy are your employees? Find out with our free Employee Morale Assessment. Get it at:

Copyright: Written by Harriet Meyerson, president of The Confidence Center. You may print this article in your newsletter, magazine, or web site as long as you include the resource information.

Source: EzineArticles
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Workplace Communication


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