Communication Tips to Avoid Awkward Moments in the Workplace



We have all experienced those cringe-worthy moments where we wish something that was said could be erased from everyone’s minds. Hopefully that off hand comment was among friendly colleagues in the office and not at a meeting at work.  Knowing what your communication style is will help you understand how to be a more effective communicator and have you talking like a pro in no time.


There are five basic styles of communication according to psychologist Clair Newton, and once you identify which style you use, you can learn how to communicate better.



A person with this way of communicating is often seen as someone who is trying to get something from others, and is viewed as a complainer.  Often this behavior is paired with those seeking attention, and may give others a poor impression of you as a whiny, envious and manipulative person.


Passive Aggressive

A person who is passive aggressive often feels undervalued and may hide their true feelings, which leads to going from a super sweet posture to a bitingly sarcastic way of communicating in a matter of moments.  This approach will catch people off guard, and create resentment among colleagues when you present yourself one way while feeling differently.



Some individuals go the other direction and let everyone know what they are thinking in a no-nonsense manner without considering who they are addressing and what the subject may be.  If you see people shrinking away from you or shutting down, you should consider toning down your approach and communicating in a softer manner.  Hold back and give your colleagues the opportunity to responde to you to create a healthy environment for back and forth communication.



If your response to an aggressive communicator is to shrink back and behave in a submissive manner, you may quickly become discouraged in the workplace.  You may become less willing to make decisions, avoid confrontation or even feel victimized by aggressive, manipulative or passive aggressive coworkers.  Take back your power by stepping up and working to respond to a potentially toxic work environment.  You will need to vocalize ways to improve communication in the office as you quietly observe ways to improve social interaction among your colleagues.



Look to emulate those in the office who have an assertive style, without being aggressive.  Learn from those colleagues who are no-nonsense members of the team, but who do not expect everyone to bend to their will, and are looking for genuine collaboration in the workplace.


SOURCE: “Let’s Talk About It: Keys to Communicating at Work (Without Being Awkward)” by Jennifer Magliano, The Muse

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