Developing a respectable reputation in the workplace is directly linked to the effectiveness of your verbal, written, and non-verbal communication.

Although you are taught to act with diplomacy in difficult work situations, it is easy to allow your passions or emotions override your ability to maintain tact. Unfortunately, the inability to master your emotions in the workplace can become a detriment to both your reputation and your job.

Curious how you can get your point across but still remain a respected professional? Check out these five tips to get you started:

Formulate your disgust at your colleagues’ ideas into a meaningful question.

There will always be a colleague who will offer a suggestion that could negatively affect your team or company. Instead of creating tension between you and your colleague, avoid shutting his or her idea down. Instead, formulate a meaningful question that will help your colleague evaluate the risks of this idea. By doing this, you will avoid creating any embarrassment or hostility. You will be seen as someone who practices critical thinking. Take it a step further by politely offering to discuss the idea after the meeting.

Ensure that you are adding value to meetings; being unprepared can throw others off on a tight schedule.

47% of meeting goers say that meetings are the number one time waster in the office. While attending a meeting, make sure that you add value to the conversation. Keep your responses brief and choose your counter arguments carefully when you disagree with something being said. If you are expected to contribute, ensure you prepare in advance and provide any necessary handouts for your colleagues. Although you cannot control the length of a meeting, you will certainly do others a favor by being prepared when it is your turn to speak.

If your idea is crushed, politely ask for feedback.

If you happen to be on the other side of rejection during a meeting or one-on-one interaction, it is natural to feel hurt or confused. Before you allow your emotions to become steppingstones to a grudge, politely ask for constructive feedback from the person who rejected your idea. Most people will respectfully explain their position and it is important that you respect their opinion. Being open-minded about others’ opinions may help you reevaluate your own ideas and give you a fresh perspective for the future. Be sure to thank the person. Ask if he or she would be a listening ear when you want to collaborate on a future idea.

Do not participate in slander of another coworker’s reputation. Be smart – change the conversation or change your associations.

Spending eight hours a day or more in the workplace can often give you a sense of being entitled to an opinion about those around you. Although you may have a disposition, keep it to yourself. The quickest way to damage your reputation in the workplace is being known as a person who creates and transmits gossip. If you find yourself around people who talk about others, be a change agent and take the conversation in another direction. If this fails, remove yourself from toxic workplace associations. Always remain cordial; however, avoid conversations that are non-work related. People will recognize that you are about business and you will be the least suspected of spreading gossip around the water cooler.

Anything you say in an e-mail can and will be held against you, forwarded, and screenshot.

E-mail etiquette is everything. When someone sends you a message that is less than polite, retaliate with kindness. An e-mail is a paper trail of your professionalism. It is important that your words aren’t reflective of your first reaction. As much as we would like to believe people are honest, your messages can be used against you if you’ve made workplace enemies, knowingly or not. Remember your written communication carries as much weight as your verbal and non-verbal communication; choose your words carefully before pushing the send button. If your emotions are high, return to the email when you have a clearer mind and more optimistic attitude.

 

Beth Kelzer
Follow Beth at LinkedIn.com/in/marybkelzer
CareerToolboxUSA

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