Communicating Professionally

How to tell your boss you disagree with an option without being disliked.


Knowing how to communicate in a professional setting is a skill that extends far beyond student employment and can really come in handy when entering the corporate world. Proper communication can even come in handy when you are asking for a promotion or recommendation from a boss or coworker. Here are a few simple ways to communicate effectively:

In meetings…
A strong handshake coupled with eye contact is a sure way to make a great first impression. When disagreeing with a higher-up’s perspective, remember that it’s important to always be respectful. Highlight any strong parts of their proposal, suggest any changes, and open the floor back up to their opinion. The key to gaining more responsibility and praise is to be trusted in a work environment, so make your voice heard while maintaining a constant level of respect for those around you.

In emails…
Reread an email aloud before sending it. This helps catch any grammatical mistakes, and it also ensures that nothing can be misread in a negative tone. Miscommunications occur very easily via email, so make sure nothing is ambiguous. When signing off, leave the “Sent via iPhone” out of the email. Your boss doesn’t need to know that you sent that you rushed to string together a cohesive email while you were rushing to class!

In letters…
Be neat! If you make a mistake, scrap that card and start over. Take your time to ensure your handwriting is as neat as possible – no one wants to spend twenty minutes trying to decipher your words. For more information on writing a thank you note, check out this article.

If you are unsure how formal you should be with a boss or coworker, always err on the side of caution and keep it formal and professional. You can never be too polite!

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