Have you ever considered the role conversation plays in your career and community prosperity?
Can a good talk be a precursor to a great job and great economy?
“Fewer Than 200 Million Worldwide Have Great Jobs,” says Gallup. A “great job” is defined as one comprised of 30 or more hours per week and is one of quality, which is difficult to measure.
Employee engagement is a crucial component of quality employment. Engaged employees “use their strengths, know what’s expected of them, and believe their job matters,” according to the 2016 Global Great Jobs Report by Gallup.
Disengaged employees “are physically present but psychologically and emotionally disconnected. They are unhappy with the work, share their unhappiness… and are likely to jeopardize the performance of their team,” the report says.
Jobs “help shape…identity and well-being,” and those who have great jobs rank their lives positively, and thrive. The regions they inhabit likewise thrive. Disconnected workers “are less likely to be productive” and such deficiencies create obstacles to “job growth and economic and personal prosperity.”
So what can people do to increase engagement levels and find personal prosperity leading to success for businesses and communities?
According to thecompellededucator.com, “The One Requirement for True Professional Growth” is mindset; it’s the basis for any change we initiate.
“Professional growth is sometimes about personal growth. Learning new people skills, communication strategies, and increased self-awareness are all non-content-based professional learning,” the article notes.
To grow our careers, we must grow ourselves, and communication is key.
This week, research findings illustrate how to “talk the talk” that can lead to personal and professional development—and perhaps stronger workplaces and communities.
‘It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.’ –Yogi Berra
How do our conversation topics and behaviors impact our workday and professional relationships?
“Want To Decrease Your Stress At Work? Encourage Your Coworkers,” suggests Forbes. A recent study shows stress costs Americans more than $300 billion in healthcare costs. The prevailing work stressors involve personnel issues, workload, job security, and life balance.
“Stress is a real issue facing the workforce of today, and we must know how to better equip ourselves against its negative consequences.”
How? We need to support our colleagues.
Co-workers who offer encouragement have lessened stress and higher job satisfaction. Indeed, offering support is more beneficial than receiving it, according to another study.
Three other positive outcomes of compassionate discussion:
What about the role of questions in our work conversations?
Those who ask meaningful questions can create cultural change in the workplace, says an article at switchandshift.com. Good questions prompt others to express thought and create perspective; “it enables dynamic and critical think-through.”
Ask the “right questions” by following these tips:
Outside of work, professionals might explore opportunities to network and grow potential to develop their careers.
These interactions may take place in venues where people do not know one another, and a frequent inquiry may be, “What do you do?”
An article at Inc. suggests this is a dreaded question. Consider replacing it with inquiries like:
These open-ended questions allow for talk about what really matters to another. Job titles and functions don’t indicate motivators, interests, or dedications. These are the commonalities that once discovered create relationships.
“Surface-level questions will consistently fail to elicit the response you are likely looking for,” the article notes.
Asking questions can also foster leadership.
According to another Forbes article, “Embrace Curiosity: 4 Ways Questioning Makes You a Better Leader,” curiosity builds leaders as it:
‘I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.’ –George Bernard Shaw
Of course, conversation is a two-way street. Not only are we concerned about the inquiries we might pose, but we also think about what others perceive.
It’s important to empathize and encourage others, but self-awareness may also help us become better communicators.
Do you know the vibe you throw?
“A Harvard Psychologist Says People Judge You Based On Two Criteria When They First Meet You,” says Business Insider. We are “sized up in seconds” when we meet new people, and impressions are based upon two questions others ask themselves about us:
“Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence, respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both,” according to the article.
In a professional setting, people frequently think competence trumps trust. However, “warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you.”
Competence is evaluated after trust has been established. Consider that for our caveman ancestors, “it was more important to figure out if your fellow man was going to kill you and steal all your possessions than if he was competent enough to build a good fire.”
What happens when you’ve had an interaction during which you create a bad impression? How can you mitigate a negative encounter?
Harvard Business Review poses “4 Ways to Overcome a Bad First Impression.” New people we meet will likely believe “subpar performance is an essential trait,” but you can overcome negative perceptions.
In order to make up for bad behavior or inappropriate comments, you might:
Our conversations are impactful. They can build or destroy relationships; foster innovations or stymie progress; and create and sustain engagement that ultimately leads to prosperity.
Consider the outcomes of the next conversation you might have. It could be very important as you invite change, offer encouragement, build trust, and make an impression with co-workers and members.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.”