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Three ways to make the most of National Conversation Week

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Here are some tips from experts on how to strengthen workplace relationships and get the most out of National Conversation Week.

(1) Be specific when asking for help

Seeking help or support from others can be one of the most challenging kinds of conversations to have, especially at work. Whether we feel it causes a blow to our confidence, or we don’t like to distract colleagues from their own work, it is all too easy to just suffer in silence or simply send a quick email so that we don’t have to see the person’s reaction.

Karen Meager and John McLachlan, co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training, emphasise the importance of clarity when asking for help. Nervousness and fear of rejection can cause us to skirt around the issue and word things vaguely, making it difficult for others to respond.

It can help to take a little time to plan your approach, and what you will say if your request is rejected to prevent the person you are talking to from feeling guilty. Make sure to keep the conversation on a positive note, as this will make them more likely to offer assistance, both now and in the future.

(2) Build open, trusting relationships

Maintaining open in-person conversations in the workplace is one of the best ways to strengthen working relationships and trust. Relationships built on trust are more open-minded to new ideas and the idea of teamwork, and without trust, conversations are likely to be defensive and lack progress.

Founder of The Oxford Group, Nigel Purse, advises that authentic conversations rely heavily on trust, and that they help us to achieve good working pace, cost-efficiency and sound politics in the workplace. Leaders are empowered to tailor their management approach to the individual, while giving their employees insight into their working style, allowing everyone to work together more harmoniously. These conversations open up a real two-way street of communication, so why not try it out during National Conversation Week?.

(3) Breathe and believe

Self-confidence is an essential component in good presentation. Everybody wants to be the kind that talks easily to others, and in return, seems to easily attract people’s support and attention. If you feel that you often don’t elicit the responses you hope to from others, a lack of self-belief may be what is stopping you from reaching your potential – besides, who is going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?

Simon de Cintra, author of Unlock your Business Voice: How to Speak as Well as you Think (£12.99 Rethink Press), suggests that doubt in your own abilities can often be the crux of success or failure when trying to communicate with others in the workplace, and advises taking small steps towards better self-confidence.

Look into simple breathing exercises to help steady your pace and nerves, and consider the wide array of experience and skill you have picked up throughout your working life. When you break down all the achievements you have attained, no matter how small, you are able to begin to trust in your own abilities, and the idea that you are worth listening to.

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