Communication Strategies Make the Difference

Zola Maddison   /   /  Comments: 0  /  Rating: 

In times of budget cuts, layoffs, and stressed-out patrons, learning key communication strategies is increasingly important to keeping our work—and home—life positive. Over 500 people tuned in to hear Melissa Powell, independent librarian and self-described “communication cataloger,” address the foundations of interpersonal communication. “If I can communicate cataloging to people who don’t want to hear about it,” says Powell, “you can communicate with anyone!”

The key, she says, is genuine communication. This means making sure that what and how you communicate is beneficial to everyone involved. It also means acknowledging that we each have the choice to determine the tone of the conversation. Whether we’re starting the conversation or responding to someone else, we can choose to participate positively or negatively. One participant noted in chat that their library always uses positive messaging—even their signage is positive: “Texting is encouraged! Please silence your phone.”

While emotions, culture, gender and age all impact how we hear and process information, we can use positive phrasing to create options and keep the outcomes positive. Rather than:

  • If you had only…
  • Unable to
  • Can’t
  • But…
  • You should…
  • Against policy

Try:

  • Can
  • I can offer you…
  • Would you be willing…
  • Let’s see what we can do…
  • Yes, and…

For many more tips on communication strategies, see Melissa’s presentation, recommended reading, and other resources on the archive page.

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