What you say is only half the battle in effective communication; the other half is how it’s delivered. The same words that sound inoffensive, and even humorous, delivered by one person, can sound snarky and cruel coming from another. As a sensitive person, I’ve repeatedly noticed this phenomenon, and try to remind myself that many of the people who rub me the wrong way mean no offense. It just may be that they’re clumsy communicators.
What’s the toll of communications in the workplace that unintentionally offend?
A piece by Zeynep Ilgaz on SmartBrief notes that people give themselves away with body language, so a perceptive manager knows who’s friends with whom, without ever having to hear what the people in question are saying to each other. Similarly, the tone you use face-to-face and in e-mails can communicate a message that may not be what you intended.
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