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5 Ways to Effectively Use Communication to Manage Your Personal Brand in the Workplace

January 12, 2015 By Whitney L. Barkley | Write Comment
 

 

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The journey of developing a respectable reputation in the workplace can easily be linked to the effectiveness of your verbal, written, and non-verbal communication.

Although you are taught to act with diplomacy in difficult work situations, it is easy to allow your passions or emotions override your ability to maintain tact. Unfortunately, the inability to master your emotional intelligence in the workplace can become a detriment to both your reputation and job if you don’t learn how to put your emotions into tact.

Curious how you can get your point across but still remain a respected professional? Check out these five tips to get you started:

Formulate your disgust of your colleagues’ ideas into a meaningful question.

There will always be a colleague who will offer a suggestion that sounds like it can negatively affect your team or company. Instead of playing devil’s advocate and creating tension between you and your colleague, avoid shutting his or her idea down. Instead, formulate a meaningful question that will help your colleague evaluate the risks of his or her idea. By doing this, you will avoid creating any embarrassment or hostility, and be viewed as someone who practices critical thinking. Take it a step further by politely offering to discuss the idea to gain further clarity or collaborate to offer your insights.

Ensure that you are adding value to meetings; being unprepared can throw others off on a tight schedule.

Atlassian estimates that 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings per month with 47% of meeting goers who say that meetings were the number one time waster in the office. While attending a meeting, make sure that you add value to the conversation. Keep your responses brief and choose your counter arguments carefully when you disagree with something being said. If you are expected to contribute, ensure you prepare in advance and provide any necessary handouts for your colleagues. Although you cannot control the length of a meeting, you will certainly do others a favor by being prepared when it is your turn to speak.

If your idea is crushed, politely ask for feedback.

If you happen to be on the other side of rejection during a meeting on one-on-one interaction, it is natural to feel hurt or confused. Before you allow your emotions to become the stepping stones to a grudge, politely ask for constructive feedback from the person who rejected your idea. Most people will respectfully explain their position and it is important that you are respectful of their opinion. Being open-minded about others opinions may help you reevaluate your own ideas and give you a fresh perspective for the future. Be sure to thank the person in the end and ask if he or she would be a listening ear when you want to collaborate on a new idea.

Do not participate in slander of another coworker’s reputation. Be smart – change the conversation or change your associations.

Spending eight hours a day or more in the workplace can often give you a sense of being entitled to an opinion about those around you. Although you may have a disposition, keep it to yourself. The quickest way to damage your reputation in the workplace is being known as a person who creates and transmits gossip. If you find yourself around people who talk about others, be a change agent and take the conversation in another direction. If this fails, remove yourself from toxic workplace associations. Always remain cordial; however, avoid conversations that are non-work related. People will recognize that you are about business and you will be the least suspected of spreading gossip around the water cooler .

Anything you say in an e-mail can and will be held against you, forwarded, screenshotted and all the above.

E-mail etiquette is everything. When someone sends you a message that is less than polite, retaliate with kindness. An e-mail is a paper trail of your professionalism and it is important that your words aren’t reflective of your first reaction. As much as we would like to believe people are honest, your messages can be used against you if you’ve knowingly (or unknowingly) made workplace enemies. Remember your written communication carries as much weight as your verbal and non-verbal communication; choose your words carefully before pushing the send button. If you feel that your emotions are high, return to the email when you have a clearer mind and more optimistic attitude.

Whitney L. Barkley

Whitney L. Barkley is a millennial career blogger and digital marketer. She is the creator of www.thewritegirlblog.com and has work that has appeared on the Nation, Black Career Women’s Network, and GenYize. For more career tips, follow her on Twitter at @TheWriteGirl_

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