Command attention when you speak
by Amy Beth Miller, editor, Communication Briefings
It’s little wonder that some people choose to send an email instead of trying to hold a conversation. After all, people often are looking at their computers or smartphones when you try to speak with them.
Forty-two percent of the readers who responded to last month’s poll said that’s their greatest annoyance when they try to talk with someone. Another 5% wrote in that people multitasking is their pet peeve.
If you want someone’s attention, ask for it. Here are some phrases you can use:
- “This is important.”
- “I’d like your undivided attention.”
- “I’ll wait until you finish that.”
Or you can simply pause until the person turns his or her attention back to you. Then hold your listener’s attention by explaining why your remarks are important and by being brief.
Nearly a third of the respondents said people who interrupt when they are talking annoy them. Prevent that problem by assuring people that they will have an opportunity to speak after you finish. Example: “I’m going to outline the new procedures, and then I’ll answer your questions.” If someone does interrupt, take back control of the conversation. For example, you can say “I’ll be happy to listen to you after I make this final point.”
A few readers told us that people misinterpreting their remarks or forgetting what they said is their biggest problem. You can guard against both of those problems by sending a follow-up email to document your conversation. Example: “As we discussed today, you will provide X by Friday and I will do Y by Tuesday.”
You told us
Poor communication drives away a good employee
Last month we asked about the differences in how the men and women in your workplace communicate. One reader told us about a male employee who quit after two months because “two of the women he had to work with closely in the office chewed him up!”
“I don’t think it was done intentionally, however it was a classic respect issue,” Cindy told us. She had noticed the women’s bossiness and negative tone of voice, as if they were talking to a naughty child. They told him how to do his job, even though they had never done it, and they criticized him for not performing the way they thought he should.
“Men want to please and when we talk to them like they are incompetent or inept, we cut them off at the knees,” she said. Before leaving he told Cindy that he appreciated her treating him like a peer, not a subordinate.
“All things considered, I don’t blame him for leaving,” she said, but the organization lost a good employee who had a lot to offer.
Am I Making Myself Clear?
Get Your Point Across Whenever You Communicate
With the advice presented in this multimedia product, you will learn to communicate your message effectively so that you prevent confusion, mistakes, conflict, low morale and poor productivity.
You will learn how to:
- Communicate so that everyone fully understands your message and knows how to act on it.
- Give clear instructions that get results.
- Address employee performance issues.
- Gain buy-in and support for your ideas.
- And more!
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