How to Get Your Point Across Without Looking Like a Jerk

by Lisa H.

Communication is key to creating a good working environment. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it makes it much more possible. Here I have put together several tips aimed for better communication. A happy worker is a good worker. :-) If you can think of any others, please feel free to add them in the comments.

Communicating with your co-workers

  • Use the word “I” it shows that you are taking responsibility for your request and your actions.
  • Use the word “no” directly so that there is no confusion about your intentions.
  • Try to keep your explanation or apology short and sweet. Droning on and on is frustrating to others.
  • Appreciate that your co worker or superior may be upset that you refused extra work and say so.
  • If possible, find an alternative plan and suggest it.
  • Make sure that you repeat your refusal until the person you are speaking to acknowledges it, again ensuring that your feelings are clear.
  • Be aware of your body language and make sure it tells the same story you are telling verbally.
  • When you have a conflict, resolve it amicably and make a plan to revisit the issue. Wait one or two days and talk again so that there are no negative feelings left hanging around.

Communicating with your manager

  • Decide which battles are worth fighting and when is the right time to fight them. Figure out what the real problem is or what you are trying to get.
  • Maintain appropriate physical, mental, and emotional energy when it comes time for a meeting or discussion. Remember that your body language and tone are as important as the words you use.
  • While you are confronting your boss be sure to maintain his or her status by speaking to them with respect. They earned respect so be sure to give it to them even if they do not see your point of view.
  • If the problem you are addressing really boils down to a personality conflict you must be willing to accept the ramifications of your actions.
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