12 May Communicate respectfully
Respect is what Aretha Franklin already demanded in her song back in 1967 and respect is still something we fight for in 2021 all over the world. In this blog post, I want to stand up for respect in everyday communication at work and in our private lives.
@viesure we’re living a very open corporate culture and sometimes discuss private matters with our colleagues meaning that they know what’s going on in our private lives and thus it is even more important to act and communicate respectfully when your colleagues trust you so much.
Not just because of that, but more and more companies nowadays put special emphasis on soft communication skills because loads of studies have shown that emotional intelligence is a crucial component of powerful teams and thriving companies. Treating others with respect and communicating respectfully with our colleagues, family and friends will definitely have a high positive impact on all our relationships. Communication is something you do every day almost always and everywhere. So you’ll have a lot of opportunities to practice! 😉
I’ve drawn up a list which might help you to decide what to do and how. This is the viesure way and might not be valid in other parts of the world, but I think for Western European countries these recommendations work quite well.
You could try to incorporate some of them into your daily communication routine and with a little practice, they will soon become natural.
- be kind every day: smile more often – the happiness level that a smile can bring to our brains is estimated as equivalent to that of having 2,000 bars of chocolate (see here), but be aware that smiling isn’t always appropriate in other parts of the world, such as Russia, China or Japan – and if you don’t feel like smiling, then don’t; it’s also ok to show when you’re not cheery
- be courteous regarding others’ needs and opinions: give others the chance to speak up and let them finish speaking before you jump in
- say thank you and please – it’s common courtesy, doesn’t hurt and is valued everywhere in the world as a sign of showing respect
- listen actively: focus on the words said – communication is a two-way street – and try not to be distracted by your phone or computer or other people talking next to you
- value other people’s opinions as much as your own: encourage others to speak up, consider different viewpoints – it signals appreciation and might lead to an even better solution because the topic is viewed from different perspectives
- keep criticism constructive: never insult others, avoid general criticism, try to name the issue and suggest a solution
- talk to people directly and not about them (behind their back)
- respect diversity and treat everyone equally: make no difference if male, female or non-binary or in regards to racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds
- be empathetic: keep emotionally open and avoid being judgmental (you never know what others are currently going through) – for some of us this might not be easy or a natural thing to do; then it helps to try taking the other person’s perspective
- avoid generalizing: try to separate person from behavior – don’t say ‘you’re so mean’, but ‘please don’t use that condescending tone’, etc.
- don’t assume sameness: don’t assume that the other party immediately understands what you mean. Take the time to get on the same page.
- it’s okay to disagree: communication is not a competition – there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions
We all want to act respectfully, focus 100% on the person who requires our attention, but do we really do it? Particularly in times like these when so much communication happens online. There is a huge difference between having meetings on-site or online and even for viesure – which has been planned as any time remote company – it was of great importance to write down remote working guidelines and emphasize respectful communication.
Make it happen
Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center show that soft skills are six times more important than hard skills for job success. The Harvard business review also dedicated several articles to respectful social interaction. You could do an online course for example at Harvard University or decide to start right now and right here. Respectful communication is a soft skill you can definitely learn and improve easily by practising it every day and everywhere.
If you change your communication behavior, others will follow! Give it a try!