Communication style by Tracie Marquardt

Is Your Communication Style Hindering Your Business Success?

If you are like me, you strive every day for positive, value-added communication. We know that creating and maintaining relationships underpins our success. Sometimes though, we come across a Negative Nelly or a Sabotaging Sam. Their communication can be negative, accusatory or even bullying.

Consider Fred, one of my networking contacts. I’ve known Fred for years. But lately, his attitude and mindset have become even more negative than usual. His communication comes across as sarcastic and passive-aggressive. And this time, he has come very close to embarrassing himself to a wider audience.

In a recent meeting full of lawyers and other stakeholders, Fred got so angry and frustrated that he said to the entire room: “What do you take me for, an idiot?”

Uh oh … long dramatic pause in the conversation …

Fred just scored an ‘own goal’. He achieved nothing but a negative impact to his reputation. And in all probability, he will not be able to achieve the career and life goals he set for himself if he continues with this self-destructive communication style.

Not every interaction we have with others will lead to the outcome we want. We know this, right? We work hard to achieve our desired results, but as educated, worldly professionals, we know that sometimes we don’t get the win in our column.

How can Fred or other people who might let their emotions overrule their judgement make a better impression and ensure their communication brings them success?

Here are 5 ways to accomplish that:

1. Leave the emotion out of it

Let’s face it. Some of us are emotional creatures. But negative emotions do not serve our greater purpose. So leave them at the door. Even better, learn to deal with them yourself, without overburdening your business communication with them.

2. Change your mindset

A negative, controlling, or woe-is-me attitude is not just your problem. You make it everyone’s problem. So do some soul-searching, understand how to manage your state, and turn on the positivity.

3. Make an effort to add value

Someone who is always trying to get the edge over everyone else is not trying to add value to the conversation or the world. Those who take, take, take are usually undone in the end. So use your new positive mindset to help others, share your expertise, and give something amazing to the world.

4. Practice empathy, tolerance and acceptance

Understand that others may have a different opinion than you do, and that’s just fine. When we accept not just the similarities but differences in our business partners and others, we can reconcile our interests and come to a win-win solution. So use constructive communication that moves everyone forward.

5. Think before you express yourself

Once in a while, we say something we shouldn’t. Maybe we are being too honest, or maybe we are making a judgement about someone else. That can get us into a situation where a major apology is required, but even that may not save the relationship. So be your own best friend and put on your internal filter before you damage your relationship and your reputation.

Bottom line? We should be able to handle challenging business situations with empathy, open-mindedness, tact and diplomacy. Relationships, business or otherwise, are critical to our success and our happiness. Use your excellent communication skills to nurture those relationships, not tear them, and yourself, down.

All the best,

Tracie Marquardt


This post first appeared on LinkedIn.


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Tracie Marquardt

I've been living outside of my home country for over 20 years. I've lived in 3 countries and 10 cities. Falling in love with Paris is what led me to Europe (and I go back often). I think Germany is an amazing country, and a great hub from which to travel to the rest of Europe. I started my own business in the Heidelberg region in 2013. My mission is helping international professionals communicate their key messages clearly and concisely in English. I believe that language and culture are huge factors in the success of our communication, and must be taken into account when we interact with and build relationships with others. By networking together from around the world, we are able to build bridges, add value to each others lives, and I hope, contribute to each others success in life, no matter how that success is defined. So let's get started!