A recent article in a Times publication offered 5 top tips for journalists. Three of the tips are relevant to ensuring that we have productive conversations in our workplace.
Here is a very brief overview of the three top tips.
Wear a watch. We are all busy and so using time will help us to manage our own time pressures and to show respect for the other person. Simple tips include:-
- agree how long you wish to spend talking. A focused five minutes can be very useful and it’s amazing what can be achieved in 20 minutes. Aim for 50 minute meetings; this will allow time for pleasantries and wash-up – all ended within the hour;
- however short the conversation, agree the purpose and desired outcome;
- keep to time;
- summarise and close;
- part with a smile and a thanks!
Be fair. Ensure that you discuss and agree upon the purpose and desired outcomes for the conversation. Be fair and open in approaching difficult conversations where you may feel uncomfortable. Ask questions to encourage the other person to express their views and ideas – this will help you avoid assumptions.
Listen. If you talk, you learn about what you think. Listen and you will learn about what the other person thinks. Both are valuable. By listening to the other person you will gain information about their viewpoint and possible objections. With this understanding you can then work to seek agreement and sharing of ideas. Aim to understand each other – it creates a solid foundation for moving forward.
Time for conversations is valuable – use it well.
Conversations are essential in our workplaces, so in future weeks we will explore different types of conversations and how to develop a style that is productive and engaging.