Five collaborative communication tips you can use every day at work.

1.  Listen for what’s important to others.  Look for interests.

Interests are needs, hopes, motivators and fears.  Think about yours and listen for theirs.

2.  Reflect back to someone the emotions and content of what they’ve told you.

“What I heard you say is….”

“It sounds like you’re feeling really frustrated (confused, overwhelmed,                     angry…) about this situation.”

3.  State your own views using “I” statements.

“I’m concerned because I don’t know how to solve this problem in a way that works for both of us.”

“When you send an email to the boss about your concerns about me without speaking with me first, I feel frustrated.  I’d prefer if we could talk about it first to see if we can work the problem out before we involve the boss.”

4. Ask open questions.

“What are you most concerned about?”

“What do you think would happen if [insert one proposed solution or situation here]?

“What is important to you about that?”

5. Focus on the problem not the person.

Think about the problem as something both of you are trying to solve together rather than thinking about the problem as the other person.