Communication

Time to team up

June 1, 2009
Sally, a technician for a manufacturer of scientific equipment in Texas, updates us on how a team-oriented workplace has fizzled in recent months.

Believe what you say

June 1, 2009
You begin a presentation by declaring, “I’m thrilled to be here today.” That’s a fatal mistake.

Lace your talk with humor

May 1, 2009
When charismatic speakers make audiences laugh, you think, “I wish I could do that.” They make it look so easy. You don’t need to be naturally funny to incorporate humor into your personality.

Disagree with the boss without leaving scars

May 1, 2009
There’s a right and wrong way to disagree with your manager. If you speak too bluntly (“You’re missing the point”), you may trigger defensiveness. Your great insight can fall upon deaf ears. A better approach is to begin on a note of agreement.

Forge agreement in advance

May 1, 2009
You explain what you want in great detail and then ask, “Do you agree?” But employees resist; they find your bossy tone a turnoff. It’s better to induce compliance rather than demand it.

Win debates by resisting the bait

April 1, 2009
You propose a sensible idea to the CEO: The company should revive an old, much-loved marketing campaign. But the CEO insists on entirely new branding.

Impose a cool-down period to rein in runaway emotions

April 1, 2009
Emotions often work against you when you try to resolve conflict. If you’re too close to the situation, you may become embroiled in it and lose your perspective. The best problem-solvers cool down before taking action.

Stop before you start

April 1, 2009
As you walk to the front of the room and prepare to speak, everyone’s watching you. And they’re judging you. Win them over.

Look for troubling nonverbal cues

April 1, 2009
Masters of conversation don’t just speak and listen well. They also observe others with a keen eye.

Fibbers favor e-mail

March 1, 2009
In face-to-face conversations, you can often sense when someone’s lying to you. The speaker’s shifty eyes, facial tics and fidgety behavior raise your guard. But when you receive e-mail, you cannot observe the sender’s body language.