Communicate better with colleagues

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We’ve all experienced those moments at work dealing with a snafu because either we failed to communicate well⁠—or someone else did. It could be anything from an assignment turned in with missing elements, or confusion about the division of responsibilities on a project. It always comes back to how we communicate.

The Network recently asked a few Baton Rouge area professionals at various stages of their careers to share the communication styles or strategies that have been most successful for them.

Taylor James, co-owner, Beyond Gymnastics 

“For me and my business partner, we’ve found lately that being clear and assertive is really important when communicating with employees and the parents of children who come to our gym. We used to prioritize sounding nice to everyone, and unfortunately, this passive style sometimes backfired on us. Now we make sure that we’re clear and direct with any communication so there’s no confusion about everyone’s expectations from each other.”

Gaye Sandoz, coordinator, LSU Food Incubator

“It’s best to be very focused on goals and timelines. I have an open and controlled communication style. Coworkers and employees should understand the mission of an organization and have a clear message of one’s expectations. Fortunately, the food business has been part of my life since I was young, so my career at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator is very gratifying.”

Marion Davis, classroom coordinator, Behavioral Intervention Group 

“Having recently started at a new company, I am often at a complete loss on answers to questions people ask me, so I try to tell them when I am unsure and then come back with an answer when I find out. When communication is open and honest, people are more likely to want to work with you and will be more likely to work harder toward a shared goal. You need to say what you mean and mean what you say. In some situations, it’s better to just say, ‘I’m not sure, but I can find out for you,’ so that you’re honest in your knowledge and there aren’t as many communication problems.”

Jennie Ponder, director, The Truancy Assessment & Service Center at Baton Rouge Family Youth Service Center 

“We are only a staff of five, and we are all right on top of each other with just three offices, so we have staff meetings every Tuesday. We review everything that has taken place over the prior week, any data we’ve submitted and we discuss our cases. It helps to keep the group communication structured and to meet regularly. When things get off track, we just stop and take a deep breath. We try to always remain positive. That’s a mission that’s always important to our program because we deal with some tough things with the cases we work with. We see a lot of abuse, so it’s important for us to remain professional and positive.”

Danielle Jeffcoat Wilson, licensed clinical social worker 

“In my personal experience, I’ve found that being able to have open doors where you can pop in and ask questions and relay information has worked best for me. I find that if the open door policy isn’t an option, the next best thing is to have scheduled check-ins. On my most successful cases, we were carving out time each week to have phone conferences to divvy up tasks. It also kept the whole team fresh in my mind so that If ever there were changes or developments I thought immediately to alert the whole team.”

What have you found to be your most successful communication strategy at work? Share it with The Network group on LinkedIn.

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