When personal issues are weighing on your mind or tricky topics come up in conversation at work, you may feel as though you’re dancing on the fine line of corporate TMI. To say something and risk your reputation or to keep it to yourself and miss out on a potential connection? Find out how to not share too much information at work in Arden Coaching’s post below.
Don’t Be Divisive in Conversation
Many of us have been taught that there are two topics you should never bring up in conversation: politics and religion. These topics, which are directly tied to our personal belief systems, tend to get us heated quickly. As you complain about your uncle who wastes thousands of dollars on an extreme political candidate, there’s likely someone listening who objects to your view and is holding back from speaking up (not the best way to get on somebody’s good side).
If there’s an opportunity to engage in lengthier conversation, discuss your hobbies or how you fill your weekends rather than who you support in the upcoming election.
Don’t Share Too Much About Stress at Home
You don’t roll into the office in your boxers and bunny slippers groggily ready to take on the day, right? Discussing intimate details about what’s going on at home can be just as disruptive.
As a general rule of thumb, unless it’s something that’s going to affect your ability to do your job, it shouldn’t come up in conversation. If you need to leave early, your coworkers don’t need to hear why. At a corporate happy hour, top-level conversation about your spouse or significant other is fine, but if you catch yourself getting into the details of your divorce, it’s time to pull back.
Other areas to avoid:
- Your personal finances
- Issues with your parents or children
- Health problems
Do Be Conscious of Comfort Boundaries
Different cultures have different distances at which they speak. In the US, people consider 18 inches an appropriate length, while other cultures might talk very close at just 5 inches apart.
As you can imagine, speaking to someone 5 inches from their face would be disturbing for that person if that’s not what they’re used to. Sharing information is the same, so you want to make sure that you’re being respectful of others cultures and values before you share the topic in question.
Do Bring Your Whole Self to Work
Making sure that you don’t share too much might make you want to err on the side of caution during corporate conversation. But you don’t want to be so tight-lipped that you aren’t being your true self in the office. Bringing your whole self to work essentially boils down to making sure that your personality shines through in your interactions and initiatives.
You shouldn’t be a completely different person at work because you’re afraid you’ll share too much. You can be professional and skirt around divisive or inappropriate topics and be mindful of cultural and value-based boundaries while still being true to you! Follow Arden Coaching’s steps and you’ll be able to conduct yourself professionally and inspire others to do the same.
Communicating about the right things and communicating correctly go hand in hand. If you believe that your management team would benefit from communication skills training, contact Arden today or check out our free eBook5 Questions You May Have About Improving Your Employees’ Interpersonal and Communication Skills.