For many of us, having a conversation with the boss can be like attempting to traverse a landmine without a map. We might be exceedingly articulate under normal circumstances, but give us an audience with the boss, and we’re as tongue tied as a basket of snakes.
Formulate a Plan; Don’t Improvise
The key to effective communication with the person in charge is to know what you want to say before you say it. The worst plan of action is to go in “cold” without a clear, concise outline of the topics you want to discuss. You want the boss to see you as confident, not skittish and unprepared.
The key to effective communication with the person in charge is to know what you want to say before you say it.
Here are some ideas that will help you stay calm and poised throughout the conversation:
- Make a written list of all the topics you want to discuss, along with the points you want to communicate.
- Rehearse what you want to say in private before your meeting.
- Use qualifying terms when you speak, such as “perhaps” and “maybe.” Using absolute terms like “always,” “never,” and “all the time,” will raise a red flag because those words indicate defensiveness.
- Avoid conversing with the boss when you’re emotional. It is imperative that you remain calm and composed during the conversation.
- Try to repeat or re-phrase your boss’s responses, so he or she can see that you are listening to and comprehending responses
- Listen effectively; if you are unclear about something your boss said, ask him or her to repeat it.
- Be mindful of your body language; fidgeting is a big no-no. Lean into the conversation, and make sure you maintain eye contact.
- Be assertive, but not aggressive.
- Have a positive attitude and be open to compromise.
- Give your boss praise or recognition for behavior that is deserving of it. And, remember:
- Maintain regular communication with your boss to ensure a comfortable relationship.
It is important to keep in mind that having a good working relationship with your boss is not about sucking up or manipulating situations in order to gain favor. The most effective way to ensure a good working relationship is to be clear about expectations, and to understand what your goals and priorities should be. A good boss will always keep his or her door open to an employee who plays well with others, and is motivated to do a good job.
Need More Suggestions?
A great relationship with the boss is always going to be a work in progress. It never hurts to brush up on your communications skills, and keep apprised of new and effective techniques that will make your life easier in the office. Remember: The more good days you have at work, the better life will be away from the office.