Communication

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.

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.

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.

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.

Teach employees what matters

March 1, 2009
Before you train workers to do a new skill, present the big picture.

Shine spotlight on others

March 1, 2009
When you talk with employees, keep the conversation focused on them. That sounds basic. But many managers wind up giving lectures, sharing anecdotes and repeating what they want the worker to do.

Make brevity work for you

March 1, 2009
People have lots to worry about these days. They’re preoccupied and prone to distraction. That’s why you need to prune your presentations to the bare essentials.