In any workplace environment, communication is key to getting tasks completed and building relationships. To be able to do this, employees need to interact with people with different personal and professional backgrounds. When dealing with a wide variety of people on a regular basis, you need to be able to be mindful, listening to others and showing compassion, empathy and understanding. In a workplace environment, mindful communication is all about being present when others are talking, not judging them and have a truthful exchange. By taking steps to make your workplace communication more mindful, you can improve your relationships with your coworkers and help to create a more amiable workplace environment.

1. Initiate Conversations
To be able to communicate with others mindfully, you need to have practice and build relationships with your co-workers over time. Often, people don’t talk to other employees in the workplace or form close-knit cliques. By speaking to people, with a wide variety of views and backgrounds, you can learn to be a better listener. Initiating a conversation may seem hard at first, but it will allow you to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. Just start the conversations out with a basic topic, such as the weather or pop culture, and build from there. Try to avoid hot-button topics, such as politics, until you get to know your coworkers better because these subjects could lead to heated arguments.

2. Use Active-Listening Cues
To show that you are listening and are truly engaged in what someone else is saying, you need to show it with your body language. One of the biggest issues with communication in the digital age is people are often on their phones when they are talking with other people. It is difficult to truly listen to other employees when you are concerned with something in a text or on social media. By looking directly into your workers’ eyes and facing them, you can show that you are actively listening to them. Verbal cues such as “uh huh” and “aah” can also communicate that you are invested in the conversation.

3. Be Open to Other Perspectives
Being a mindful communicator involves being empathic to others’ situations and point-of-views. To do this, you need to be exposed to different backgrounds and opinions from your own. You can do this in your workplace by getting to know employees from different religious backgrounds, nationalities, races, sexual orientations, genders and age groups. Getting a better understanding of their cultures, languages and practices will help you to be more careful when you are speaking to others. It will also make you better at making everyone feel welcome within your conversations. A big part of being mindful is using words that are inclusive.

4. Speak Truthfully and Gently
As humans, we are often taught to tell lies to protect other people’s feelings. While little white lies can be okay in some situations, conflict in workplaces can often result from people not being truthful with each other. Often, employees don’t talk directly to individuals when they have issues with them and instead speak to their managers or coworkers. You can build a better rapport with your coworkers by being honest with them about smaller issues that arise, such as their process for completing tasks. The key to this form of mindful communication is to use a gentle, non-confrontation and non-judgmental tone when talking to other people. Coworkers may take offense to your words at first, but they will be more apt to see you as a trustworthy person if you are willing to approach them and be truthful.

5. Address Conflict in a Peaceful Manner
As humans, we all experience conflict in our lives, especially at work. This is unavoidable, but mindful communication will help you to address conflict in a more thoughtful and peaceful way. When your emotions start to overwhelm you, take time to calm down and center yourself before dealing with work-related issues. By making sure that you are more-level headed when talking with others about potential situations, you can help to avoid further conflict. This can be the hardest part of mindful communication because in the heat-of-the-moment, we all want to say something out of anger, frustration, jealousy, or sadness. By being able to manage your emotions, you can build a reputation as a level-headed employee.