Civil Conversations In The Workplace
Civil conversations are engagements aimed at sharing views or information on topics of high importance in the lives of the general public. They usually stem from and are dictated by our analysis of what mainly influences our social, economic, and political lives, among other things.
However, the level of engagement and the success thereof is so much dependent on the personalities of the parties involved. Some people strongly dislike civil conversations citing that, depending on the mental state of the person one is conversing with, the conversations can move from simply sharing information to showing off one’s intelligence and trying to convince the other party that your views are more valid than theirs.
Where one is not open-minded, there is a tendency to want to defend beliefs or anything one holds dear to them, which defeats the whole purpose of the engagement. It can easily lead to arguments or fights while where verbal aggression and abuse are present, the focus is lost, and the time invested in the conversation is wasted.
Also, it is easy to step out of the line with civil conversations. Controversial issues may arise which may cause trouble for an individual or the company.
Colleagues are also the people that we spend the greater part of the day with, as such, it is important to be careful not to ruin our relationships with them to ensure that we remain the team the company can rely on to achieve goals.
The following points can help us engage in civil conversations without the risk of messing up our relationships:
Know When To Stop
It is important to know how to get along with your coworkers. It is also very important to have the ability to tell when things are spiraling out of control and to know when to stop to avoid having the conversation turn into a conflict. We cannot control how other people react to us but always have power over our own words and reactions.
We need to set boundaries with regards to how farther we allow our discussions on certain topics to go. We can choose to avoid anything likely to spark an argument or to offend the other person.
Controversial topics about individuals or the company itself must be avoided especially when the conversation is not aimed at contributing positively to changing issues of concern. Discussing the absent must be out of bounds especially if the issue does not concern us unless we are helping them to mend relationships.
When you have worked with people for a while, you get an idea of how they reason as well as their emotional state. It gets easier to know the right people to engage in meaningful conversations with. If you do not know the person too well, then you probably should not have too much to say to them.
Even when we have chosen wisely the people to engage in discussions with, we still need to go further to choose our words wisely. We need to consider the possible impact of our words while they are still just thoughts. The language we use to express ourselves can determine the outcome of expressions that would otherwise be harmless when said right.
Where we have our own assumptions, the best way to present them would be in the form of questions that seek clarity or a deeper understanding of an issue rather than an accusation. We should also avoid sarcasm and derogatory language especially when the person we are conversing with is not a close friend.
The most difficult people to have meaningful discussions are those who are too emotionally attached to their beliefs. The first thing that comes to mind if a point mentioned contradicts what they believe in is that they are under attack.
Anything that follows is usually an attempt to defend their beliefs. To such people, anyone who holds beliefs contrary to theirs is either enemies or people who need conversion.
If you are one of those people, learning about life in general and experiencing meaningful personal growth will be slow or nonexistent. Listen to other people and seek to understand why some things matter to them and why others do not.
Listen More And Talk Enough
There is a type of people who always want to be heard and will not do much listening every time they get a chance to interact with others. I am sure you can imagine how much such people learn from others – zero or little.
The mentality is that they already know so much or enough and the only job that is left is for them to share ‘knowledge’, while some just enjoy being the center of attraction.
If we learn to listen more and talk enough, we will be in a favorable position to acquire more knowledge and share only things relevant to the discussion, enough not to overwhelm the listener.
Understand Humans In General
We need to always keep in mind that people go through various things daily and some are not strong enough to keep their emotions in control. This means that even people with whom we normally engage in conversations may not be ready for some topics or may react differently to them than they normally do.