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  • Writer's pictureVerity Woodgate

10 Ways Mindfulness Can Improve Your Communication At Work

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

Difficult conversations are often a part of our working lives, however not many of us look forward to initiating them and often the thought alone can create feelings of anxiety. Yet honest and respectful workplace dialogue can be an asset when it comes to fostering effective and positive working relationships.

Mindfulness can be a great tool to improve the chances of getting your point heard in difficult conversations, whilst respecting others:

1. Focus on your breathing. Begin by clearing your mind and body of tension. Take a few deep breaths and feel your lungs expanding. A proven way of reducing anxiety is to relax and concentrate on your breathing, helping you to speak from a calm and centred state.

2. Body scan. Are you holding on to tension? Are there areas in your body that feel tense and strained? It’s usual to feel butterflies in the stomach or a tight feeling in the throat before having an important conversation. Imagine breath flowing into these places, easing any tension. 

3. What is the purpose of the conversation? Giving thought to what the purpose of the conversation is or writing the points down will give you a deeper sense of clarity as to what you want to achieve. Would you like to rectify a misunderstanding, apologise, or put forward an idea? Being clear in your intention will help you to be understood and obtain what you need from the conversation.  

4. What do you want to say? Now that you’re clear on ‘why’, what’s the best way to put forward your thoughts? Taking time to outline the tone and words you would like to use to communicate your view can help you stay on track and help to navigate any anxiety that crops up during dialog.

5. What feelings does this bring up? When something is important to us, it’s only natural that we will experience strong feelings. Understanding these emotions will help you to stay in control and avoid any “buttons” being pushed. Being aware of what you are likely to feel means you won’t be surprised and speak impulsive or heated words as a consequence.

6. What is their side point of view? When you really think about a situation as a whole, you can begin to see the other person’s situation through their eyes. Understanding the challenges and pressures and what their objectives are can help create empathy and a positive shared vision for the future.  

7. What emotions could they feel? Just as you are experiencing strong feelings, what might they be feeling? Mindfully considering their reactions helps encourage compassion and a positive regard for them, which will greatly help navigate a difficult conversation.

 8. Can you work together to create success? Is there a way you can utilize each other’s skills to create a situation that benefits all concerned? Having thought about the possible beneficial outcomes can help smooth moments of tense dialog to create a sense of cooperation.

9. Wipe the slate clean. It’s possible this is a situation that has tried to be previously addressed. Even if this is the case, try and free your mind from the past to create a new way forward. There might be a new course of action or thinking that opens up as a result of a genuinely open-minded approach.

10. Are you reacting to the moment, or do you want to proceed? It’s often best to delay an important conversation until you’ve managed to calmly weigh the outcomes. Rash words can cause a lasting impression.  

Taking these steps will help empower you to make a decision that you feel comfortable with, which in turn will give you confidence in your words and actions.

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