5 Tips to Make Others Think You Have Super Powers

- Tamra Boucher

Today’s workplace is experiencing increased diversity in the form of age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. Businesses and industry benefit from differing perspectives around the table as these varied views inspire creativity and innovation.

However, diversity in thought also opens the door for misunderstanding and, if allowed, can develop into something more: not only a source of drama in the workplace but also a hindrance to day-to-day productivity and long-term progress. There is important work to be done, so it’s important to control the situation and not let it control you.

Someone once said “Calm is a super power.” Here are five tips I’ve come to rely on for effectively communicating and helping to maintain calm in situations that can evolve into a storm.

  1. Know your audience. Communication tactics are determined by the audience. If you are communicating with a millennial, he or she won’t think anything about you having your smartphone within a hand’s reach; however, a baby boomer might find that disrespectful and unacceptable. Is the person you’re talking with a straight shooter, or is he or she buttoned up, more reserved? You will want to adapt both your approach and tone to the audience.
  2. Communicate in an open, honest and transparent manner. This is not only the best way to prevent a difficult situation but also a great way to solve one. In full transparency, you will likely feel vulnerable. It’s laying all your cards on the table and then being able to talk through each one and its role in a matter.
  3. Identify and recognize differences. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge differences — be it of opinion, operational, process or performance — and talk about them. Too often, we avoid this type of communication upfront, which can allow a situation to fester. These differences need to be tackled right out of the gate.
  4. Set expectations. Work together to set expectations. For instance, you might determine it’s OK to be emailed or texted late at night with the understanding that a response may not be sent until office hours resume. Or, you might agree to try a new approach to something for a 30-day period and then re-evaluate. Whatever you do, be sure to clearly articulate and agree upon the actions to be taken.
  5. Be respectful. This is an absolute must in any type of communication. If you expect someone to be willing to work toward benefit of the organization and its goals (or any other circumstance of shared goals), then respect must be shown — not just during meetings or during difficult situations, but in all encounters.

Utilizing these five tips, you’ll be able to communicate your way through many difficult situations. Becoming a master communicator really isn’t a “super power” — it just takes a willingness to try, and a lifetime of practice.