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9/2/15 12:54 PM Stephanie Hunter

Are you the Cesar Millan of your workplace? Four key thoughts to help you be the master of effective communication strategies in your office.

With over 62% of households in the United States owning a dog or cat, pet ownership is ubiquitous. Cesar Millan is touted as the definitive “dog whisperer”, what can we learn from him? A lot! You may easily become the office whisperer for superlative office communication strategies.

What connects Millan with his canine cohorts?

  1. Guidelines
  2. Body language
  3. Consistency
  4. Reinforcement

Tip 1: Guidelines

The most important way to successfully communicate with your team/organization is to have guidelines or conventions. This is not to say that you cannot or should not change it up a little, but in general, it is wise to have established guidelines. These may be conventions for how you transfer internal information. Some options/typical examples:

  • Email: routine communications — easy and direct
  • Face to Face: staff meetings — scheduled and allows for feedback and interaction
  • Social Media: events
  • Webinars: human resources — often content is already established, so maybe sent to key contacts
  • Burst Training: sales and marketing — quick and directed for updates
  • Videos: quality assurance — perfect for “how to’s” and activities that are repeatable and requires specific instruction
  • Surveys: feedback and planning — provides a channel for documented feedback and allows time for recipients to think before responding

Establish guidelines so that your team knows what to expect and where to obtain important information. Having guidelines is tip 1 in addressing successful communication strategies.

Tip 2: Body Language

We are so similar to pets — body language counts. Amazing fact over 55% of communication is nonverbal. Nonverbal behavior is the most critical form of communication. While you watch your dog’s ears, tail and mouth for hints on how he or she is doing; likewise, you need to be acutely aware of visual cues in your workplace.

Key indicators:

  • Eye Contact: direct eye contact is imperative in establishing meaningful and sustained relations
  • Posture: both sitting and standing demonstrates approachability and/or confidence
  • Hand Gestures: project interest and/or animation

Tip 2: non-verbal cues matter with establishing successful communication strategies. Make sure that you pay close attention to your team members as well as how your project yourself.

Tip 3: Consistency

There is not a dog or a human that doesn’t embrace consistency. Erratic behavior signals indecision and sometimes fear in dogs. Showing consistency in your workplace is essential to your communication strategies. Your co-workers and employees need to know that you are not being mercurial — literally barking one day and being overly solicitous another day. Consistency counts.

Ways that you can show consistency in your communications:

  • Email: use title conventions
  • Face to face meetings: have an agenda and post meeting notes
  • Social media: establish guidelines for format, images and events (place, time, RSVPs)
  • Surveys: stay on the same timeline for quarterly or annual surveys

Tip 4: Reinforcement

Perhaps the golden rule that Millan his other dog whispers alike would share is reinforcement is essential. Most agree that positive reinforcement reigns. In the work world, reinforcing in your communication strategies are easy to implement:

  • Catch your team when they have done a great job — praise and acknowledge
  • Use the communication channels listed in tip 1 to share information and highlight over a period of time what you are seeking

Employing these 4 tips is creating and perpetuating your successful communication strategies in your workplace will elevate you to Office Whisperer status!

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