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Communicating—With Management

Communication is the key to success pass it on.
MAXWELL MALTZ

If you want to do your job well, you have to be able to communicate effectively with your superiors. This skill is particularly important for career advancement.

  1. Make sure your boss knows what is happening, especially if there are problems. Bosses need to be prepared for difficult situations — put yourself in their shoes, and don't give them an opportunity to blame you for embarrassing them.

  2. Be prompt with bad news. If your boss first hears about problems through office gossip, your version of the situation will sound weak and defensive.

  3. If you have an urgent matter to deal with, set up a meeting with your boss to talk about it. When you make the appointment, let her know the subject of the meeting and how long it should take.

  4. If your knowledge and advice are creating positive effects, make sure management is aware of this.

  5. If you are presenting an idea, have written backup material on hand whenever possible. Your documentation will continue to sell the idea after your presentation is over.

  6. Present ideas clearly and briefly. Bosses are busy people, and over-explaining will weaken your case.

  7. Project confidence in your ideas and your information. Speak firmly, and reinforce your argument with body language. Emphasize critical points by leaning forward and making eye contact with your audience.

  8. Highlight solutions, not problems. Let your bosses know that you have the answers and are willing to implement them.

  9. Use language carefully. Avoid phrases that suggest the opposite of what you intend. For example, "To tell the truth" suggests you haven't been honest up to that point. Try not to use overheated expressions such as "awful news" rather than "important information."

  10. Resist the urge to show anger or to avoid your boss when you are having a disagreement. Let your emotions cool down, and then calmly present your view of the issue, explaining the reason for your opinions. Use "I" statements to avoid sounding aggressive. For example, you could say, "I don't think this is fair," rather than "You're being unreasonable."

  11. Accept criticism from your boss as feedback. Turn criticism into a learning session by asking what your boss's response would be to a similar situation.

  12. If you would like to introduce an important new idea to your work-place but are not sure how it will be received, first mention it to your boss in writing. This will give you a chance to explain the issue as you would like, and will also allow your boss time to think about it.

  13. Don't go over your boss's head, unless there is absolutely no alternative. If you must, make sure you inform your boss first.


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