Jan 28

How Are You Communicating?

I’ve always been one to speak my mind. Ever since I was little, the expression on my face gave away what I was feeling. I was frequently asked “what’s wrong?” and began to realize how important it was to be transparent in communicating – but maybe not in poker.

Being a young, recent graduate, it’s easy to want to keep your opinion to yourself. I’ve been extremely lucky to work with people who take my opinion seriously and value what I have to say.

Case in point: We recently moved our office into downtown Grand Rapids, and we all love it! Being just steps away from HopCat and other yummy restaurants is incredible. We walk out of our door and into the heart of the city – and we can keep a close watch on the progress being made at Studio Park.

The day of the move, Mary Ann realized that my and Chiara’s desks would no longer fit in the new office earmarked for us. Mary Ann problem solved and put us the more open space of the office, which we were initially okay with because we had just moved from an open office floor plan.

But we realized the new traffic patterns were making it difficult to concentrate. So when Mary Ann asked us a few days later if we were okay, we spoke up and said that we would prefer being in the office with the door. I’m not sure why we both felt nervous to say this because Mary Ann took it with such grace and immediately called our furniture crew to figure out how we could make it work.

My point here – don’t be afraid to speak up. Being transparent and honest in your communication will help you develop trust with yourself – and help others realize they can count on you for candor. When I’m nervous to speak up these are some things that help:

Everyone makes mistakes– If something you say isn’t the best idea for the situation, it’s okay! Getting in the habit of sharing ideas and being open is the best way to feel more confident.

Don’t get defensive if you receive feedback– Receiving feedback can be one of the ways to understand a situation better.

Be honest – If others share their idea or thoughts, don’t be afraid to chip in or add to them. Being honest if you don’t understand something or have a different idea is key.

Apologize if something goes wrong – Just graduating means I’m probably at a higher risk than many to make mistakes. It’s a constant internal battle to want to speak out and being afraid to make a mistake but if you do, own up to it! Sometimes you attach the wrong document or might email the wrong person but work on being transparent about it and apologize so it doesn’t happen again.

Again, I’m lucky to work in an environment that welcomes and embraces open communication. Mary Ann makes sure we are comfortable coming to her at all times and will always go the extra mile to explain something if we need a little more help. Communicating openly (even though it can be scary) benefits you and others in so many ways.

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