How to interact with others

7 December, 2020
Four people standing in a small group having a conversation.

How to interact with others

Communicate effectively for work

Use clear communication skills to achieve work outcomes.

You should:

  • recognise communication protocols and etiquette
  • use communication systems and processes in the workplace
  • understand messages and get messages across to others.

Key terms and concepts

Communication practices and protocols

These are the explicit and implicit ‘rules’ or conventions that you should use to communicate in different settings and with different people. For example, there may be protocols surrounding what and how to communicate with someone in a position of authority, or with people from a particular cultural background.

There may be implicit social conventions about the kind of language that your workplace expects or considers acceptable. The kind of vocabulary, tone, or behaviour you use may influence how others interpret what you say, whether as interested, respectful, rude, persuasive, assertive or aggressive.

Communication channels

Communication channels are the way a message is delivered. They can include:

  • emails (written)
  • face to face interaction (spoken)
  • electronic media (non-verbal).

Mode

Your mode of communication is your choice of communication method such as:

  • spoken
  • written
  • visual
  • formal
  • informal.

Vocational vocabulary

This refers to the language you use in your particular field of work. This includes specific technical terminology, but also words and phrases that carry specific meanings within your field e.g., the term ‘cookie’ carries a different meaning for a lighting rigger, a baker and an IT worker.

 

Connect and work with others

It’s important to build strong work-related relationships to achieve an outcome within a workgroup and effectively work as a team. You should be able to understand others and build a rapport. To connect with others, you need to know your own values, goals, expectations and emotions and make appropriate choices about your behaviour.

Key terms and concepts

Interacting

Social and work-related interactions involve direct contact with people within a general work context or a specific workgroup or team.

Co-operate vs collaborate

To co-operate is to assist someone or comply with their requests. To collaborate is to work together with one or more people towards the same goal.

Interpersonal skills

Your interpersonal skills are the specific forms of behaviour in face-to-face or virtual interactions you use to bring about a desired outcome.

Rapport

Rapport is a relationship of mutual understanding and trust between work colleagues who feel comfortable and accepted. You should build rapport with your colleagues to work together effectively.

Empathy

Being able to identify with, and understand, another’s situation, feelings, and motives will help you relate to your colleagues and find ways to work effectively together.

Workgroup vs team

A workgroup is a group of people with individual roles, responsibilities, tasks and accountability who come together to share information and perspectives and who may collaborate to achieve outcomes

A team is a small workgroup of people with complementary knowledge and skills who work together towards a common goal. An effective team focuses on building and maintaining understanding and trust, and successful interaction.

Working relationship

This is your relationship with a colleague, employer or employee. In a positive working relationship, you will be on good terms with your colleagues and usually feel some personal connection based on values, beliefs and interests. In an effective working relationship, you will understand and respect each other’s values, perspectives and skills, and work together without necessarily feeling closely compatible on a personal level.

 

Recognise and utilise diverse perspectives

It’s important to recognise and respond respectfully to differing values, beliefs and behaviours and to draw on diverse perspectives for work purposes. It’s also important to manage conflict around diversity if it arises.

Key terms and concepts

Perspectives

These are points of view, or particular attitudes towards, or ways of looking at something. You should draw on your colleagues’ perspectives to work towards a common goal.

Diversity

In work contexts, the term ‘diversity’ describes differences based on:

  • gender
  • ethnic
  • sexual orientation
  • religious or cultural background
  • age
  • physical ability
  • beliefs
  • personal preferences.

You should recognise and respect the diversity of colleagues you’ll have in your career.

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