16 things it’s imperative to say more often at work

Don’t assume everyone you work with is a mind reader. They can’t possibly know what you are thinking unless you tell them.

Poor communication is rife in the corporate world. Lots of things go unsaid, and lots of people are more guarded and quieter than they are outside the office.

But not you.

You are all about trying to improve your workplace and spread good practice – right?

Sometimes this can be so simple that we miss it. We are so wrapped up in focusing on trying to find a magic solution that we miss the easy stuff that’s in front of our faces.

Your mouth is on the front of your face, and you can use it today to make people smile, to get more done and to feel good about yourself. Here’s how.

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Say these 16 things more often at work:

1. Good morning

If you think saying good morning to your colleagues is a waste of time, think again. By saying hello, you are letting that person know that you noticed them, and that they matter. What a great way to start the day! No sneaking in and hiding behind your PC and not talking to anyone until 10am. No delaying communication. Set the intention for the day by starting it as soon as you walk in. You can take this further than just verbal greetings too.

2. Yes

It shows you are willing to take part. It shows you are committed to getting things done. It creates opportunities to engage with people. 

3. I need help

You are human right? Then you can’t possibly know everything about everything, and sometimes you are going to get stuck. Showing vulnerability is nothing be scared of, it’s actually incredibly courageous. Also, by not asking for help you are likely to cause waste, by reducing your personal productivity and that of the organisation you work for.

[Tweet “Rather than seeking independence, we should be seeking a healthy sense of interdependence.”]

Rather than seeking independence from our colleagues, we should be seeking a healthy sense of interdependence. We are all in this together.

4. No

Wondering why ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are both in this list? Because it’s crucial to be decisive at work. Be just as clear about what you are willing to take on, as what you aren’t.

5. I don’t understand

Hear an acronym being used for the first time and don’t know what it means? Ask. Hear about a project but it’s not clear what the benefits are? Ask. Not clear on how to meet your objectives? Ask. Why walk around in a fog of uncertainty when you can have clarity just by asking for it?

6. Thank you
So easy, yet so sparse. There are so many reasons to thank your colleagues each day. Someone held a door open for you. Someone came in in time. Someone helped solve a problem, made you tea, did a good job – whatever it is look them in the eye and thank them. Saying thank you motivates them. If they’re motivated, their levels of productivity naturally increase and they’re more likely to repeat the behavior. Plus the research is there that gratitude is the mother of happiness. (via The How Of Happiness)

…the more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.

7. Tea?
Heard of TDD (test driven development)? Well I also like tea driven development. As well as being a ruddy nice thing to do to make a colleague a cuppa, it’s vital to keep hydrated at work. Studies have shown that being only 1% dehydrated can lead to a 5% reduction in cognitive function.

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8. I’m going to the gym
Exercise makes you live longer. Exercise reduces depression, anger, stress. Exercise makes you look better naked. Also taking short breaks during the day increases your overall productivity, but combining this with exercise is a win:win as you contribute towards a more relaxed and calming environment to work in.

9. Lets do it now
Encourage action. Deny inaction or procrastination to set in by getting stuff done at the earliest opportunity. If you are talking to a colleague today and come up with an action or next step then suggest trying to complete it straight away. There’s a huge amount of waste caused by delaying action at work.

10. You’re awesome at…
When was the last time you paid someone a compliment at work? It’s a double whammy – you make someone feel good and because of that you feel good too! Note: Be specific and give a detailed example relevant to that person rather than just generic fluff. Complement efficiency, good communication, initiative, smiling, results, effort, problem solving.

11. When will you do it by?
If it’s not possible to ‘do it now’ (see #9) then agree with your colleague when they will complete a task by. Tasks are 75% more likely to be completed when someone knows they are being held accountable for it, within an agreed time period.

12. I have some feedback for you
For permanent staff this formally happens at least twice a year. Why wait? If you’ve spotted something someone is consistently getting wrong, or you have an idea about what could enhance their performance, then have some balls and say it. It’s for their benefit, and you are doing a good thing by trying to help them improve and grow.

13. I’d like to book some time off
Of course taking time off is important. We all need to deliberate down time. But did you know that the simple act of planning a holiday boosts happiness? Read this article in order to find out more about why the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks!

14. Can I help?
Know who comes last at work – Givers. Yep, nice guys get screwed sometimes.
Know who comes first at work? Givers. Confused? Me too. Luckily, Wharton professor Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, wraps it up very nicely.

What I find across various industries, and various studies is the Givers are most likely to end up at the bottomThat’s primarily because they end up putting other people first in ways that either burn them out, or will allow them to get taken advantage of and exploited by Takers.

Then I looked at the other end of the spectrum and said if Givers are at the bottom, who’s at the top? Actually, I was really surprised to discover, it’s the Givers again. The people who consistently are looking for ways to help others are over-represented not only at the bottom, but also at the top of most success metrics.

15. I’ll pay.

Yep money can make you measurably happier (when you spend it on other people). So if you have the cash then pay for the coffee, or lunch once in a while. Even if you takes turns paying, this has a more positive effect than splitting the bill every time. Here’s a great TED talk about this: Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

16. Hi. I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m …
When you see someone you don’t know, take a moment to introduce yourself. It’s incredibly dysfunctional to sit in meetings with strangers, to walk past the same people in the office everyday and not know their names, or sit next to someone who’s here from another office for the day and not know who they are and what they do.

introduce

I’m sure reading this list has not made your hair stand on end. I’m sure it’s all common sense to you bright sparks (you do read this blog after all), but things can be pretty bad in some organisations.

People sitting next to each other emailing each other. People not making eye contact when talking to each other. People putting in calender appointments rather than just picking up the phone and getting stuff done.

Sometimes we forget the basics.

We can do better than that. And it’s as easy as open and honest communication. Just by using the words & phrases on this list and by saying these 16 things more often at work you will increase your personal integrity, the positive energy of your workplace, and the speed at which things get done. But don’t just take my word for it – try it for yourself. Today.

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