Like many women, I tend to avoid conflict and hedge
myself when giving my opinions at work. This means my input is often overlooked
or dismissed. What can I do to improve my communication skills and present
myself more confidently at work during brainstorming sessions and other
meetings? If you’re going to
win in corporate America — or in life — you must make peace with conflict.
Conflict is not a bad thing. I invite you to shift your perspective and see
conflict as a way to create something new. Changing your perspective
and behavior to ensure you are heard starts with changing your mindset. When a
situation presents itself, don’t use language that places you in a defensive
position such as "I disagree.” Rather, use language that allows you to create a
connection, such as "Yes, and …” Avoid saying things like "That’s a crazy
idea!” Instead, consider saying "That’s interesting, tell me more.” The words
we speak truly matter.
You might ask
yourself if you are really listening with an ear for possibilities — or are you
listening and comparing the ideas others present against your own? Look for the
common connections and call them out. This is how you get into a position
to create something new.
As long as you’re
doing what is right for the business — and remembering that it is not about
your idea or their idea, but about the right idea — you’ll begin to develop new
capabilities for effectively managing conflict. Trudy Bourgeois is happy to answer your career
questions. Please email them to NEW Communications Manager Barbara Grondin
Francella. Trudy Bourgeois is founder and CEO of The Center for
Workforce Excellence and NEW Executive Leaders Forum conference designer.
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