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Making the Most of Conversations Week

Karen Meager and John McLachlan
engagement

The latest technical advancements have meant its easier than ever to send a quick text, write an email or Google something, rather than taking the time to indulge in conversation with someone. Contributors Karen Meager and John McLachlan, co-founders – Monkey Puzzle Training.

Linking to this, National Conversation Week is taking place from 19th – 25th March and encourages us to make effort to have more conversations in the workplace and build relationships with colleagues and managers. Below, a range of experts give their advice on how to make the most out of National Conversations Week and conduct effective conversations in the workplace.

Be specific when asking for help
One conversation many of us struggle with in the workplace is asking for help from others. Whether it’s because we don’t want to damage our pride or hassle our colleagues, it can be difficult to seek help from someone and we will often revert to asking over email where our faces are hidden.

Karen Meager and John McLachlan, the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training highlight the importance of being clear and specific about what you need help with. Being vague with requests often stems from the fear of rejection and can make it hard for others respond to. Instead, take time to plan how to ask for help, don’t make it up and ensure you have a positive response ready for when they say no (don’t make them feel bad about it). Making the conversation positive will leave them more likely to help you out in future, knowing that you value their input.

Build open, trusting relationships
Having open, face-to-face conversations is one of the most effective ways of building trusting relationships. When trust exists in a relationship, we are open to ideas, possibilities and collaboration and when trust is absent, we feel closed, defensive and suspicious.

Nigel Purse, Founder of The Oxford Group expresses that trust improves efficiency by increasing the speed at which we work, whilst reducing bureaucracy and cost. Having open conversations enable leaders to tailor the way they work with each team member, whilst allowing the employees to understand how their manager works and therefore can modify their style to suit.

Breathe and believe
Confidence in yourself is an important asset in presenting well. We all want to be the kind of person who is listened to, and whose ideas are acted upon by others, so if you don’t feel like you get the reactions you seek when presenting, it may be a lack of self-belief that is holding you back. After all, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, then why should anyone else?

Simon de Cintra, author of ‘Unlock your Business Voice: How to Speak as Well as you Think’ (£12.99 Rethink Press) says doubting your own capabilities can be the deciding factor that separates you from your more confident colleagues, so start taking small steps to improve your own self-belief. Learn a few simple deep breathing exercises to pace yourself and maintain calm. Consider your many skills and the experience you have worked hard to gain throughout your career, and reassure yourself that you are worth listening to.

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