Was It Something I Said? Your Communication Style Can Hurt Your Career

February 3, 2012  |  

Unfortunately for a large number of professional women, communicating powerfully and authoritatively in the workplace can be a difficult challenge. Although a recent report states that African American women do not face the same challenges in asserting their opinion and providing tough leadership, there are still some communication blunders you should be aware of. Run down this list to double check if you are communicating in a way that hinders progress on the job.

Forbes suggests that you first ask yourself if your colleagues respond positively when you present an idea or suggestion. Does anyone show an interest in following up with your thoughts or are they shot down? Do you find your colleagues often criticize your input? Do people seem to trust your opinion and give you respect? If you notice people generally don’t respond well to your contributions, then you can be sure that your progress at work suffers.

Next consider whether your points are taken into account. If the conversation almost immediately switches to another person’s thoughts or topic after you’ve made your point, you made want to rethink your responses.

Make sure that you’re taken seriously. No one gives raises or promotions to people they consider a joke. Your communication with your colleagues must convey your intellectual and professional abilities. If you’re unsure whether the first two describe your professional life, then it’s highly likely your office also doesn’t take you seriously.

If there’s a negative reaction whenever you attempt to offer your suggestions, then you probably need to take a look at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Maybe you’re coming off as a show-off or overly aggressive. Forbes notes that effective communicators know how words can incite certain emotions and thoughts to the listeners. Be sure to use your words carefully and correctly.

Lastly, are your words memorable or do you feel ignored and forgotten by your colleagues? If you feel as if no one even noticed you were in a meeting and had a say in the discussion, then you’ve got to change your “power quotient.” Although it’s possible to do so, first you must identify and acknowledge the power dynamic at your job.

If you feel that your work experience aligns with any of these red flags of ineffective communication, remember not to make excuses or blame others. You can get help fixing your communication style by working with a mentor or life coach and remembering to always think before you speak.

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