There are a lot of social skills to master but perhaps the easiest to master and the one that will help you the most in the workplace is……shut up and listen. You might be surprised how often you talk about yourself or find yourself putting advocating ideas over and above those of others. While this may win the battle, it won’t win the war. Other people might have a better idea or a way to improve your idea but you’ll never know unless you listen. So here is how to implement this little plan:
- Stop talking.
- Face the other person and look them in the eye (friendly! do not stare them down).
- Relax your posture, uncross your arms and smile.
- If sitting, lean forward slightly (don’t do this while standing, it’s dominating behavior).
- When they speak, nod infrequently and make appropriate affirmative comments.
- Watch their body language for what they’re not saying.
- Re-phrase what they’ve said to you to ensure you’ve heard it correctly.
- Give feedback.
- Follow up on the conversation at a later time.
This works for friendly conversations as well. Now go practice so it comes off as natural.