Like many fields in today’s workplace, marketing is collaborative. If you’re employed by an agency, you will likely find yourself working very closely with colleagues. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn from others while expanding your skill set, but it’s possible you’ll hit a few bumps in the road. Differences in personality and the way work is approached can often delay a project’s progress. Below are a few communication guidelines to help future workplace collaboration go smoothly.

Practice active listening.

One of the first steps in improving communication is learning how to listen. During conversations, it’s easy to get lured into letting your thoughts wander…thinking about what time kids need to be picked up from practice, what you’re making for dinner, or what’s left on the day’s to-do list. This, alongside the backdrop of a busy office, can prevent you from understanding important messages managers and coworkers are communicating. Always try to keep your focus on actively listening to what others are saying. Maintain eye contact, give encouraging non-verbals, and don’t interrupt or shift too much of your focus to what you’re going to say next. By actively listening to others, you’ll foster respect and prevent future misunderstandings.

Keep an open mind.

It’s human nature to make snap judgments about others. Many people, for example, categorize millennials as entitled, lazy or self-absorbed. Of course, not every millennial conforms to those qualities, and making assumptions about colleagues can cause real problems. They’ll drive a wedge between you and your coworkers and prevent you from uniting as a team.

Communicate face-to-face when possible.

In today’s workplace, there is a heavy reliance on emails, texting and instant messaging. And as our use of technology has increased, face-to-face interactions have become markedly devalued. As a result, messages often get lost in translation. When possible, speak to coworkers in person, and if email is necessary, focus on making your message concise and easy to understand.

Be straightforward.

Whether you’re presenting an idea or project at a meeting or emailing a request to a coworker, it’s easy to get longwinded. When this occurs, people can lose sight of your message’s objectives. Strive to make your workplace communication speedy and straightforward with your goals made clear.

React sympathetically.

Before you react to what you believe is baseless criticism, consider the source of the attack and the possible circumstances surrounding it. When people are having a bad day, they sometimes respond by attacking others for no reason. After hostilities have defused, contact the coworker to learn more about the problem they’ve communicated and how you can help address it. When heads are cooler, the coworker may admit they’ve overreacted and that the attack had nothing to do with you or your work.

 

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