One of the key ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace is through your communication with others. Being a respectful communicator means more than just not offending anyone; you also show respect by communicating clearly and working to prevent misunderstandings by doing things like tailoring your communication style and confirming your understanding.
Techniques for Becoming a Respectful Communicator
Tailor Your Communication
When you’re speaking or writing to someone, do you take the time to really think about who that other person is, and consider how they would like to be approached? Do you alter your message, your words, your tone of voice, your volume, or your body language to accommodate their preferences? Tailoring your communication to suit your audience is one way to show respect in the workplace, and ensure that there’s not a perceived lack of respect (which can cause miscommunications to occur). In diverse workplaces, we all occasionally need advice or guidance when it comes to understanding other cultures and generations.Take the time to learn about your audience, consider how they would like to be addressed, and show respect by tailoring your message for them.
Confirm You Understand the Other Person
Respectful communicators make an effort to confirm their understanding of what’s been said. Most people are familiar with the term “active listening” – the act of rephrasing what the person we are talking to has said, to verify what we think we have heard. In a work environment with a healthy mix of generations, genders, languages, and cultures, active listening becomes even more important. Listening and confirming your understanding really comes into play when accepting a new assignment, when serving customers, or when dealing with a co-worker for whom English is a second language.
Know the Difference Between Appropriate and Inappropriate
We all have boundaries when it comes to the things we do and don’t like to talk about with our co-workers. But sometimes we forget that our boundaries are not always the same as others’. Pay attention to how others are responding to what you say or do, and alter your course if it’s making others uncomfortable. The simplest approach is to just avoid making comments that could demean, hurt or belittle others. You should also avoid inappropriate language, and never share information that wasn’t meant to be made public. To be a respectful communicator, think about what you say and how appropriate it is for the workplace and the people you work with. Sometimes, our thoughts, jokes and opinions are better left unsaid.
Communication is how we get things done at work. If you can improve your respectful communication techniques to accommodate the diversity of people’s backgrounds, experiences and opinions, you will reap significant benefits.
CRM Learning’s The Respectful Communicator: The Part You Play teaches employees to demonstrate respect in the workplace by confirming their understanding, caring about the way they come across, communicating with decency, and valuing the input of others. CRM Learning also offers many other training videos on respect in the workplace.