Tips for effective peer-to-peer communication

Tips for effective peer-to-peer communication

Humans are hardwired to seek connection through communication. That’s why good peer-to-peer communication is crucial to the success of the organization. Without it, even the best of the business plans will not succeed. Effective peer-to-peer communication can go a long way towards helping establish mutually respectful relationships that will not only improve employee satisfaction, but also boost overall productivity. Healthy communication can also bring fun and energy to the workplace.

Here are some tips to ensure positive and effective peer-to-peer communication:

1) Listen, comprehend, then speak

Motivational author Stephen Covey said it best – “Seek first to understand.” A lot of us have a bad habit of jumping to conclusions about the intentions of our co-workers, often attributing negative intent when none was intended. We should first take time to first fully understand the other person’s point-of-view, listen carefully and then respond. Hearing different viewpoints also helps in broadening our outlook, making us more open-minded and accepting of situations.

2) Avoid being defensive

We often react defensively when a co-worker criticizes or disagrees with us. Effective communicators learn to monitor their reactions and avoid defensiveness. This can be difficult at start but can be mastered with time. A good practice is to ask questions before responding. This not only helps to make sure that people understand the other’s point-of-view, but can also buy some time while attempting to frame a response.

3) Keep it personal

Taking advantage of opportunities to interact at a more personal level with your colleagues can help improve relationships and build trust and comfort. Companies often sponsor activities and events to help employees bond and connect. Taking advantage of these opportunities to get to know co-workers outside of work—where you can get a better idea of who they are as a person—can go a long way in improving your day to day work life. What’s better than having a friend at work?

4) Avoid unhealthy gossip

Relationships can be damaged when employees avoid direct communication and talk about others ‘behind their backs’. Make a habit of interacting directly and honestly with peers, and avoid judgements without knowing the truth. False rumours at the workplace about a co-worker can harm them more than you can imagine. Such gossip can lead to the person leaving the company and even ruin their career.

5) Reward and acknowledge

Most good leaders recognize the importance of rewarding the efforts of their employees and acknowledging their successes. Similarly, it is also important for you to react promptly and communicate well when your co-workers excel at their job. A quick verbal acknowledgment can go a long way towards encouraging them to keep up the good work.

6) Use the right channel of communication

Once you know how another person wants to receive communication, it’s your responsibility to communicate that way. For instance, if you feel a co-worker is sensitive and gets easily hassled, you should talk to them face to face and calmly explain the point. Using the right medium to send a message can make a lot of difference when it comes to how your message will be received. E-mails or messages can be interpreted wrongly at times.

7) Indulge in small niceties

Ever worked with a colleague who came in early, never said hello, and immediately started working? Maybe they felt unsure if people liked him/her in the company or not and did not feel welcome in the team. Make it a habit to greet co-workers politely, enquire how their weekend was or ask them to join you for lunch or tea. Most people will be more than happy to have someone to interact and socialize with while at work. However, if you realise someone wants to be left alone and does not enjoy your company, avoid pestering them and let them be.

8) Fix the relationship in case things go wrong

There will be times when, no matter how hard you try, the communication will not go as planned. Instead of ignoring the situation and potentially having it get worse, have a conversation with your co-worker. Let them know that having a positive working relationship is important, and you’d like to talk it out.

The working relationships we have with our peers can make us or break us and are crucial to having a good work life and career. Networking at the workplace is as important as doing the actual work. A lot of us grudgingly wake up every day to go to work and do not enjoy it. Developing good communication with your colleagues benefits everyone and makes coming to work a whole lot easier.

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