Everyone has his or her own ideas and opinions in the workplace. This is good but it can sometimes make teamwork a challenge. We need to get everyone pulling or pushing in the same direction. A great truth is that we all support a world we help to create. Creating that agreed world is not always so straightforward. Getting everyone to listen and consider each other's perspective open-mindedly can be a difficult task. However there are techniques to promote open communication.
1. Try to see things from the other person's point of view.
We get so wrapped up in what we want and our world of trouble, we become oblivious to the worlds of others.
Your colleagues may be comparing your ideas to theirs. Try to see your proposal from their perspectives. Imagine the questions that your coworkers may have, and how you would answer them. Nobody is perfect and that includes you! This a useful fact to keep in mind when trying to get people to follow you. They may have a different perspective from you, that in itself doesn’t make you right and them wrong.
2. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
People don’t care how much you know. They are more interested to know how much you care – about them!
Understand that your colleagues can be just as enthusiastic regarding their work as much as yourself. Being receptive to their opinions can bring on a new perspective you haven't considered, and will assist your colleagues in keeping an open mind to your ideas once they realize you are sincerely interested in theirs. Perhaps you can even incorporate each other's suggestions into your project. Everyone wants to feel their view is heard and that what they do has value.
3. Show respect for the other person's opinion.
Never say, "You're wrong". Your colleagues have their own views and ideas and want to be heard as much as you do. While their views may differ from your own, that doesn't necessarily make them incorrect or useless.
Negative comments will create defensive walls, create arguments, and essentially cause others to tune out. We all do it – as soon as we hear keywords like "but", "however" we mentally brace for a negative response. We go deaf at that point and are totally pre-occupied with what we will say in our spiffy comeback. Be attentive to what your colleagues are saying, and sincerely consider their proposals.
4. Dramatize your ideas.
Our days are long and full of information. Whenever we engage with someone, we are fighting for their attention. Their minds are full of thoughts on unrelated topics. The spread of high powered hand held devices, able to access everything immediately, means people are having even shorter attention spans. We have to break into all that clutter. How we start a conversation has to be done in a way that grabs their attention.
Be enthusiastic about the work you've done and back up your work with facts and examples. Your colleagues will appreciate your well-thought plan and your enthusiasm, and give it the credibility it deserves.
By incorporating these techniques in your next meeting, you will begin to gain respect from your colleagues for your suggestions and learn to become a better listener as well.