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How to Have an Effective Conversation With Your Boss

James, I think your cover's blown!
Photo by laverrue
Trying to talk to your boss can be uncomfortable and awkward. But if you know the right way to approach your superiors, you can survive the encounter and even thrive in your workplace.

Effective communication with your boss is essential for many reasons. If you want to ask for a raise or talk about another employee’s behavior, communicating effectively can increase your chances of success.

If you want to make a suggestion that you think could help the company, your idea will only be considered if you handle the encounter in a way that’s most beneficial. Here are some suggestions to get your conversation off on the right foot when talking with your boss.

Be Aware of Your Boss’ Schedule

If you don’t know your boss’ schedule, you risk approaching him when he’s not receptive. Know what kind of schedule he keeps. There are times when he’s more stressed and times when he’s more relaxed, so focus on talking with him at his convenience.

Bosses are often busy and stressed. If he’s busy with someone else, pick a different time to address your concern or ask your question. If possible, schedule some time to talk to your boss so you’re not interrupting anything. When you plan meetings, it shows that you have your boss’ best interests in your mind.

Show him that you understand the value of time. Schedule the meeting in advance so that other things don’t interfere with your chances of success. If you’re considerate of his busy schedule, your boss will likely be more receptive to what you have to say.

Pay Attention to Industry Trends

One way to get your boss’ attention is to know what’s going on in your industry. Staying knowledgeable can help you get ahead and make your conversation with your boss more effective. And, your boss is more likely to remember the conversation in a positive way.

Ways to stay up-to-date with industry trends include:

  • Reading industry trade magazines
  • Talking with others in the same profession
  • Attending conferences and listening to speakers
  • Keeping up with the news

If you pay close attention to what’s happening around you, you’ll be able to show your boss that the company’s goals are important to you. Communicating this commitment can help you get promoted, keep your job in a tight economy, and make your opinion appear more valuable to others.

Stand Up For Yourself

Everyone fears rejection, but giving in to that fear can stop you from achieving the career success you deserve. If you have something important to discuss, you should do so. Just remember stay calm and present a professional image. Avoid profanity, slang, being too informal, and other things that might turn your boss off to what you have to say.

Of course, every industry is different. Effective communication with your boss in a construction environment is different than in a corporate office. In every setting, however, the general keys to success are the same. Remain polite and professional. Your boss will notice and your communication with him will be effective as a result.


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