Outgoing and optimistic or cautious and shy. Regardless of personality, differences or age anyone can bridge the gap and become an expert communicator.

Stifling your individualism and quirks is counter productive. These are the the things that make you unique. Now, before you go thinking I’m getting all kumbaya on you, let’s talk about why this is a solid business practice.

Millennials make up 25% of the current workforce in the US and that number will only continue to grow. As a group, they value diversity and shun the rigid corporate structures of the Baby Boomer era. Rather than bending and contorting themselves to fit an ‘ideal model’, they hold their individualism at a premium.

In a changing world that increasingly embraces other cultures and views, we face new challenges in the workplace. Namely, that we need to establish some kind of baseline for communication.

We hit some stumbling blocks  when we enter the implementation phase of this idea. How is it that we achieve the open, productive workplace Utopia Millennials desire?

Unfortunately, this is not a ‘one size fits all’ type situation. There are, however, things we can do to overcome the variations and create cohesion.

Here is a list of actionable steps to use everyday to foster better relationships at work:

 

1.The Power of Good Morning

Whether an introvert or extrovert, begin and end each day with a “good morning” and “good night”. It creates a warm environment while establishing a relationship with a coworker you might not otherwise speak to.

 

2. Body Language is 55% of Communication

Paying attention and accurately interpreting nonverbal cues plays a huge role in workplace harmony. Think of facial expressions, hand gestures, and body positioning as data you are compiling.

 

3. Be Present

Multi-tasking has a time and place. Checking phones for texts or emails is disrespectful and doesn’t give your best to either party. It can wait.

 

4. Don’t Allow Shyness to Appear as Arrogance

You have a hard time talking to new people? Fine. Be aware of how you appear to others. Make up for it by smiling more and employing basic common courtesy.

 

5. Have a Sense of Humor

At the end of the day, people are looking to connect. Humor is a great way to do that. Whether sarcasm or a Dad Joke it’s all relatable.

 

6. Get to Know Who You Are

Gain more insight into who you are by taking a personality test. Tests like the Meyers-Briggs offer insights into your strengths, weaknesses and communication styles.

 

7. Throw Out Perfectionism

No one is perfect and pretending you are will only alienate those around you. When giving feedback or contributing during a meeting, be fearless. Don’t allow the fear of disagreement or looking foolish to hold back an idea.

 

Bottom Line: Be a Human

We are not wired to lead an insular existence. No one is saying you have to be best friends with everyone at the office. But with technology today it has become easier and easier to limit our human interaction.

Make time for your co-workers. You’re not too busy to have a short conversation every now and again. And who knows, maybe it will be the start of the next great idea.