Communication Techniques for Challenging Situations in the Workplace

Effective communication can help you to navigate challenging situations in the workplace.  It is important to communicate effectively so that you are able to share your perspective and views in a professional and clear manner.  When you encounter a challenging situation or a disagreement, you should be assertive but respectful.

There are a number of communication techniques that can be used to work through challenging situations that you may face in the workplace.

Talking through Your Disagreement

This technique allows you to communicate your position in a firm way, without alienating or disengaging the other person.

1)  Start with a softening statement such as “I understand…”

2)  Follow this by stating the “process.” State your opinion in an open and straightforward manner. For example, “this is why I think that this approach is better”.

3)  State what can or cannot happen and consider compromising in this final step as well. For example “I understand your position, this is why I think that this approach is better.  We need to decide quickly, however, perhaps we can organize a meeting to discuss this further.”

Repeat your position in different ways

Use the repetition technique when you need to be firm on your opinion or position. State your case clearly and concisely, demonstrate confidence, remain calm and repeat your core phrases in different sentences using a pleasant but firm tone of voice.

Use “I” for a More Respectful Response

Using “I” statements can help you communicate your feelings in a way that makes the other person more likely to respond with respect.  They also give people clear, direct messages and help them understand how their actions effect your feelings and position.

Saying “No” Firmly

Saying “no” firmly without offending the other individual can be a challenge.  It is important to provide explanation and support for your decision to help the other person understand your position and your choice of action or in-action. If possible, offer possible solutions in lieu of their request to accommodate their initial request.

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