5 ways to improve your workplace social standing

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Here’s snarky contrarian view: social skills matter more than technical skills the further in your career you go. You must have the ability to communicate ideas powerfully to advance your career. These are some strategies I’ve researched and used myself. 
 
1) Tailor your ideas to your audience
The first rule in the workplace: nobody cares about the work you’re doing. Not your colleagues, not your boss. Think about it. Everyone’s busy trying to hit their own goals, so they only care things that directly affect them. No matter how brilliant your ideas or how wonderful a communicator you are, people won’t listen unless you have something useful. We are all self-serving people. 
 
So keep a profile of the people at work you interact with.  What they want, what they need and what they are working for. There are some people who never want to rock the boat. Others are more receptive to new ideas. Always frame your ideas based on the goals of the person you’re talking to. 
 
2) Prime your audience
Nobody likes unsolicited advice. You may have an absolutely ground-breaking idea but be sure whoever it is you’re talking to is receptive before bulldozing over him or her. Here’s how you do it. You ask, “Are you open to a suggestion for this?” or, “Would you like to hear an idea?” This primes them to listen to what you have to say and it feels more like they’ve invited your feedback. 
 
3) Don’t undermine yourself with verbal tics
I know Chinese parents love to hammer into us the importance of humbleness and this spills into our speech patterns. These verbal tics undermine our way of talking. Like starting a sentence with, “well, this might be dumb but…” or, “This might be way off base, but…. We use the dumb disclaimer when we’re not sure about something. Or in anticipation that someone might not like what we’re saying.  
 
If we call our own ideas dumb before someone else does, how likely are they to hear what we have to say. I suffer from this myself when I talk to someone of higher “power” than me in the hierarchy. So I’ve worked hard to replace it with something neutral: “How about this idea?” or, “What about this?”
 
Another one of these irritating tics is the “yeah but”. It’s ok to disagree with a suggestion and show a different perspective. You should know that “but” is a fighting word and people kick up their defences the moment they hear it. 
 
“Yea and” is a better qualifier. As in,“That’s a good idea, and here’s another perspective.” or “I love hanging out with you, and I think we’d have even more fun if…”. Of course, if you want to disagree with an opinion, then just disagree. If you’re already struggling to gain a voice in a project, using “Yea and” can help you get a foot in the door.
 
4) Stop using complicated words 
There’s always someone in the workplace that include words solely for impressing people. Here’s an example: “I am attempting to impress my sophistication on you by employing complex verbiage to obscure my insecurity at not being perceived as an intellectual equal.”
 
Communicating in such a way obscures your message and makes you seems like a monotonous robot. People know when you’re trying to sound smart and it weakens your chances of being taken seriously. Always use simple words and get to the point. 
5) Follow-up, always follow-up on your ideas
If you share an idea or proposal, always, always follow-up. Your average person receives about 50 e-mails a day so never take a silence as a rejection. When you follow up, don’t do it from your heel by writing something like this. “Dear boss, I’m sorry to bother you – I’m sure you’re very, very busy. By any chance, have you had a moment to take a look at what I sent you? If not, no worries, but if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love your feedback. I think it’s possibly a great solution to our problems, but maybe not.”
 
Clear and direct will make you stand out. “Hi boss. I’m following up on the proposal I sent you last week on our project strategy. I’ve attached the proposal again in case you missed it. (never make someone look for your previous e-mail or attachment). I’d be happy to walk you through it, just let me know and I’ll book a slot in your calendar. 
 
Communicate powerfully and you’ll be taken seriously. 

PS: If you want to get more strategies to dominate your workplace:

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