Communication is a Hot Topic

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We cover a lot of topics in this TribeHR blog: from workplace accommodation to the impact of catching a few zzzz’s on productivity.

Along the way we touch issues of leadership and workplace power dynamics, as well as more traditional HR management concerns like effective onboarding and employee engagement.  

While all articles garner a fair amount of interest and certain subjects clearly trend based on the latest HR research or what’s in the news, one topic—communications—is consistently popular. Whether we write about different communication styles, offer Powerpoint “dos and don’ts”, or provide tips for dealing with conflict in the workplace, articles related to communication invariably float to the top of the list when we track readership.  

Photo by Len Radin, Flickr

Last year we listed many of the articles and resources we had available at that time in a blog entitled Mastering Communication at Work . Since then, we’ve added a number of interesting posts that tackle the ever-present challenge of workplace communications.

Here is a list and a brief summary of each. We hope you find them useful.

  1. Healthy Workplace Communication: A discussion of communication styles from the perspective of healthy and unhealthy communication patterns (Passive, Assertive, Aggressive and Passive-Aggressive ways of interacting.)
  2. Create a Common Language to Connect: The key to communicating successfully with all types of people is to speak their language…this article discusses how to establish commonality for better communications.
  3. Communicating With Purpose: The essence of communication is intention. Communication always has a result and whether that result is intended or unintended has a lot to do with the communicator.
  4. Communicating Change: In an ideal world, significant organizational change is managed in a pro-active, organized way. More commonly, today’s companies are not systematically managing planned change as much as they’re rapidly responding and reacting to external pressures and emerging opportunities on an ad hoc basis. 
  5. Office Politics: Five tips for Playing in the Mud without Getting Dirty: Few people enjoy office politics but, being human, they get pulled into sticky situations in spite of best intentions. Conflict will happen. Bringing it out into the open and resolving it without slinging mud or leaving people bruised creates a win for everyone involved.
  6. Managing Rumors and Gossip in the Workplace: Much like office politics, rumors and excessive gossip in the workplace create a drain on morale that managers and HR professionals must get a handle on. Here are some practical tips for slowing down the rumor mill.
  7. Keep Calm and Carry on at Work: When it comes right down to it, we can’t control the behavior of others; we can only control our own actions in response to that behavior. These strategies can help us keep calm and carry on in the face of workplace drama, confrontation and crisis.
  8. Words Matter: The right words can make the difference between creating instant rapport and triggering the immediate rejection of your message. The right words open doors, build bridges and move mountains.
  9. Presentation Skills – Using the Tools of the Speakers Trade: This article offers practical tips for anyone who is called on to make public presentations and wants to take it up a notch and handle the task like a professional speaker.
  10. 10 Things You Should Never do in a Powerpoint Presentation: PowerPoint is still the most commonly used presentation software on the market. As an application, it allows you to do everything you need to do in creating an effective presentation. Unfortunately, it also comes with enough bells and whistles to lead you down the path to presentation hell.
  11. Mediating Workplace Conflict: This article offers a six-step process to help you mediate workplace conflict between employees.
  12. Why Don’t We Listen: Listening is one of the most under-developed communication skills. This article helps us understand why and what to do about it.
  13. Reframing-an Essential Tool for the Workplace: The words we choose determine how we are perceived and influence how we (and others) interpret day-to-day experiences. By using this technique you can set the tone for how workplace events are interpreted and how you are perceived as a leader.
  14. Informal Communication at Work: Informal communication is what keeps things moving, builds relationships and creates culture in the workplace. In an increasingly virtual world, employers need to understand the importance of preserving this part of the communications environment.
  15. The Bottom Line on Office Politics: Every environment that contains more than one person will have its share of politics. Find out what it means to be good at office politics in a healthy organization.
  16. The Importance of Clear Signals at Work: In the workplace, signals are often unclear. This article describes three ways that signals often get muddied at work and how to avoid them.
  17. How Do You Handle Conflict? Everyone responds to conflict differently. It helps to understand how you and others typically react to conflict so you can better manage your own reactions and learn to work with the many different responses of others.  

Of course, communication crosses may boundaries and you’ll also find related content in the employee development, employee engagement and leadership sections of our blog. If you don’t see what you’re looking for and you’d like us to write about a particular aspect of workplace communication, let us know. Effective communication makes the world (and the workplace!) go around.


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How Not to Be Your Own Worst Enemy

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Most people enjoy lists. From Letterman’s top 10 to websites like listverse and that have turned the creation of lists into a business model—lists are everywhere.  The ubiquity of lists, especially numbered lists, has even resulted in parodies of list-making. Consider, XKCD’s stab at rewriting major 20th century headlines to get more clicks, by turning many of them into lists (e.g. 1920 - 17 Things That Will Be Outlawed Now That Women Can Vote!) Our apparent fondness for lists has also led researchers to investigate this phenomenon, with some interesting results. Not …

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A mass of information is produced every day about the people side of organizational management. In order to keep writing this blog, I read much of it.  Since organizations all dealing with many of the same issues, the content can be repetitive. Quite often, common sense is positioned as enlightenment.  Occasionally, something comes around that puts a new spin on an old problem, offers a unique perspective or proposes a different kind of solution. When that happens, reading is elevated from necessity to pleasure. Here are a few of my favorite HR (and HR related) reads from 2014. The …

10 Behaviors that Build Trust

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10 Behaviors that Kill Trust

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Dennis S. Reina, PhD and Michelle L. Reina, PhD have devoted their professional life to building and rebuilding trust in the workplace because, in their words:  “Business is conducted through relationships and trust is the foundation of those relationships.” Photo by Jesse757, Flickr While working directly with organizations for over 20 years, in those that foster relationship and trust-building behaviors, they found that employees focus on the work they were hired to do and productivity increases. When trust is damaged, however, morale and productivity begin to decline and turnover increases.[1] Although it’s possible to destroy trust …

I’m in HR and I Need a Laugh

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I sat down to write today’s blog and decided I needed a mood lightener. First, I thought about sharing one of those hilarious “it could only happen in HR” stories. But we’re not a big office and I’d run the risk of exposing personal information about an employee, so scratch that idea. Next, I dug through my humor folder, where I save stuff that tickles my funny bone, to see what popped. I had a reminiscent chuckle over this unattributed list found on a forum a while back.   Rules Left Out …

20 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches

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20 Secrets of the World's Greatest Coaches Cleaning out some old files I came across a handout from a coaching workshop I attended some years ago. A single sheet of paper with the heading “The Coach’s Toolbox” and a list: Twenty Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches.[1] Heartfelt Coaching by woodleywonderworks, Flickr The page included a scorecard with the obvious intent of allowing participants to score themselves (from 1-5 on each attribute). It was blank. I’m not sure if that means I was uncomfortable scoring myself when I received the handout, or …

5 Top Corporate Succession Fails

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Aside from managing core HR data, Human Resources and technology may seem like an oxymoron at first glance. But in today’s tech and media saturated environment, managing data is only the beginning. At SHRM 2013, the SHRM Special Expertise Panel shared the following current and emerging HR Technology Trends. And one trend is crystal clear; HRIM is not just about employee data anymore. 1. HR Data is Secure in the Cloud The cloud is a secure place to do business. Even the U.S. Federal Government manages payroll and other government business in the cloud, as Amazon was happy to …

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