Three ways to reduce workplace stress

Stressed out? Photo: Creative Commons

BUSINESS ADVICE | By Cheryl Kane. Here are three steps to help us be more effective in our communication with others. Effective communicators can reduce stress for everyone, and in turn build stronger relationships with those we work with and help our teams be more effective.

Be good at using people’s names.

I’ve noticed people fail to use other people’s names when they greet others in passing, enter others’ workspace, or when there are several people in a conversation or meeting; they start their sentences and make statements without addressing the specific person they are speaking to. They just start talking.

A person’s name is important to them, it can be comforting to them, and it assures them you are aware of who you are speaking to.

—Saying a person’s name in a greeting is good etiquette-and confirms you recall their name. Using their name in a conversation adds a personal touch to the interaction.

—Starting a sentence with a person’s name improves the likelihood you will have their full attention.

—When you use a person’s name, they are more likely to also use your name-this makes the entire interaction warmer, more personal, and less stressful.

Become comfortable in temporary silence.

Many people are uncomfortable in silence during conversation. This discomfort can get them in situations they like even less than silence when, often silence is the more powerful option in a conversation for a variety of reasons.

When uncomfortable in silence, people tend to speak before they think, offer up incomplete ideas, see only the most evident problem or task while failing to see the big picture, and can seem impetuous rather than clear-thinking. They may come across as less helpful than they really are.

When not speaking you can absorb and assess what was already said, think about the long-term outcomes of a decision at hand, conduct critical thinking such as, “What has not been said so far-and why not?”, and identify, “What questions still need to be asked?”

A well-thought-out question, suggestion, or statement can help a group gain clarity and direction with confidence.

It can be helpful to group dynamics if everyone recognizes intermittent periods of silence for 30-90 seconds allows all to add their best insight to collaborative conversations-silence is then less stressful.

Learn to say ‘no’ effectively.

I have mentored people who have a very hard time declining a request. Regardless of who it is from or what the request is, they struggle to say, ‘no’, then find themselves in chronic frustration over their inability to do a better job controlling their time in ways that would free them to engage in higher-level tasks and maximize their talents.

Saying, ‘no’ can be a hard skill to learn.

Of course, unlearning how to stop saying “yes” so fast is the first step in that process.

Using, “Become comfortable in temporary silence” (above) is a good way to prevent one from over-volunteering. When a group has come to the point of “well, someone has to do it,” don’t let yourself be the evergreen go-to person.

Plan and practice the words you’ll need to use in the decline. “No; thank you for asking, but no, not at this time.” There are lots of ways to say it but don’t leave any doubt you are saying ‘no’.

So communicate well to reduce stress

Reducing stress in the workplace for ourselves and for others in ways that improve our workplace relationships and enhance our teamwork can be as simple as remembering to use our colleague’s names, being comfortable in temporary silence, and learning to mindfully say, ‘no’ when the request is not a good use of our time and talents.


Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in problem solving and strategic planning. Cheryl welcomes your communication at email: [email protected]


No comments yet.

Post a Comment