Following from yesterday’s blog about the IoIC’s ‘Connecting People’ event, I thought I’d focus on the importance of interacting and engaging employees, not as a group, but as individuals. Boundaries Edge, who specialise in maximising human performance, gave a highly informative afternoon seminar.

The number one rule when talking to someone is simple – eye contact. An interesting piece of information I discovered during the seminar is that when you lie, your pupils constrict. When you tell the truth however, they enlarge. Dilated pupils put people at ease and you will therefore come across as a trustworthy person. From personal experience, I can’t say that I’ve picked up on this but I suppose that’s how the subconscious works, right?!

It is essential that feedback and constructive criticism is worded appropriately in order to have an encouraging effect. Although two words can mean the same thing, a slight change in phrase can undoubtedly sound friendlier and more welcoming. For example, ‘reception’ instead of ‘waiting room’ sounds far friendlier and less daunting. So does ‘confirm’ instead of ‘remind’ when enquiring about a meeting.

By simply using alternative phrasing, a negative comment about an employee’s quality of work can transform into a motivating and inspiring talk. If articulated incorrectly, an employee may feel the comment is a personal attack therefore possibly damage the future quality of their work. Instead of expressing a vague, negative comment, it is best to specify what was good and what was bad, so the employee can really hone in on what they need to improve on.

This can extend to arranging meetings too. Instead of saying “Do you want to meet next week?” it is more appealing to state exactly when you should meet, thereby modifying the question to “Do you want to meet on Monday or Tuesday?”

Engaging individuals is about tailoring your comments, questions and answers to that specific individual. It is often beneficial to temporarily adapt a point of view in order to really understand that person and embrace their way of thinking.

What I really got out of this event, more than anything, is that employees respond better to personal conversation. If the individual feels their needs are being addressed, the result will be a more engaged and motivated workforce.