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There is no shortage of topics that bring strong opinions, especially as we get closer to the Presidential election, continue to deal with COVID-19, and navigate working and learning from home. With strong opinions can come difficult conversations. 

Lisa Mitchell, Communications Expert & Founder of Power Body Language, shares a few tips to navigating conversations with people who have different opinions than you. 

1. Assume Good Intentions  

It’s OK that people have strong opinions. It’s OK that their opinion may be different than yours. It doesn’t mean that they are incapable or unwilling to engage in meaningful dialogue so enter into those interactions assuming you both have good intentions for productive conversation. Most people, at their core, really just want to feel seen, heard, and valued. 

2. Different Doesn’t Have To Mean Bad 

Conversations, by nature, are meant for sharing information and data points. They can drive you towards a common goal or at the least, towards a shared understanding. Sometimes you may find yourself posted up on the polar opposite side of another person’s outlook and that doesn’t mean that either of are wrong or bad, it can just mean that you both are firmly rooted in your beliefs. 

There doesn’t have to be a winner and loser, there can just be genuine listening, thoughtful consideration, and respect of each other throughout the interaction. 

3. Show appreciation for the person even if you disagree with their opinion or viewpoint. 

Sometimes, if the topic is heated enough, it’s necessary to challenge yourself to separate your feelings for the person from your feelings about their opinion of a particular topic. It can be as simple as saying something like, “I don’t think we are going to find common ground on this topic but I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.” 

You don’t have to fight every battle on differing opinions and you don’t have to disrespect or discount the person offering the differing opinion when you can’t find common ground. 

 Visit or connect on Instagram at @lisamitchellindy.

In our Building Career Confidence series, today Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach is talking about three communication skills to focus on when working from home. Here’s more from her:

Without that in-person touch, it truly is harder to build trust. There are specific communication skills that make a big difference in this season:

1. Listening. Take a extra few breaths (and minutes) to listen to our teammates and try to understand where they are coming from. Those few extra minutes show that you are supportive and you care. At the same time, meetings are not the time to dump our emotions all over our colleagues.

2. Self-Advocating. This is where true authenticity lies. Not in dumping all of our unprocessed stress, and not the other extreme of being closed off and cold towards our team. This is a chance to let people know what you need. We used to walk into the room and get a feel for how people were doing. We read body language and interpreted tone a lot more in person. So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It’s also very easy to be out of touch with how much you have on your plate, and how much your colleagues have on theirs. You may find yourself reminding your team when your plate is full.

3. Keep meetings short. We all know what it’s like to wander aimlessly on a zoom call. If you don’t know what’s on the agenda and what’s being asked of you during a meeting, it probably shouldn’t be happening. We need agendas and clear expectations right now to keep our attention.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website and Instagram.

As we begin to connect in person again while adhering to social distancing guidelines, it can seem challenging to show that you’re engaged, interested, and listening when you’re six or more feet away from the person you’re interacting with. Here are a few easy tips from Lisa Mitchell, communications expert & founder of Power Body Language to help keep you feeling connected when physically separated. 

 1. Warmly Acknowledge The Other Person 

For many of us, we’re used to starting an interaction off with a handshake or even a hug, both of which are frowned upon at the current moment. Just because we can’t greet each other that way now doesn’t mean we can’t still share warmth upon greeting each other. 

A genuine smile, yes, even with a mask one, indicates that you are happy to be in the same the space with someone and acknowledging them with a wave, and air high five, or some other type of nod or gesture can let them know that you’re happy to see them and ready to connect or do business. 

2. Verbalize Your Intention 

When we can as easily use our facial expressions, space, and touch to let people know we are ready to connect and engage with them, it’s important that we use our words more intentionally to help create clarity around our intentions and to reinforce how we feel. 

By clearly stating things like “I’m so happy to see you!” or “I’m looking forward to a productive time together as we work on XYZ…” you are letting the other person know directly how you feel since they can’t as easily read your expressions or even hear your inflections as well if you’re wearing a mask. 

3. Use More Animation and Gestures To Help Provide Clarity 

When interacting at a distance and wearing a mask, the person on the other side of your face is missing out on key data points that they usually count on to help create clarity and understanding during an interaction. 

Be mindful about how you’re using your body language, including explanatory hand gestures to illustrate key points, leaning in or away to show closeness or distance, and using more animated facial expressions such as raising your eyebrows to show excitement or enthusiasm can all help compensate for what isn’t as easy to see or hear as it usually would be if you were sitting closer together and not wearing masks. 

Just because we’re interacting at a distance and wearing masks doesn’t mean that the impact of our interactions has to be any less effective. Using these mindful and easy communication hacks can help you feel better connected and more easily understood. 

For more from Mitchell visit her website or connect on Instagram.

As states and communities begin to open back up and we start, in some cases, returning to offices and workplaces, it’s important to adapt your communication style and your expectations of others to look a bit different and accommodate for our new and ever-evolving “normal.” Here’s more from Lisa Mitchell, communications expert & founder of Power Body Language:

1) Things are going to look and feel different. Think through that experience ahead of time and make peace with it. 

When we are surprised or walk into something that is unexpected, we often automatically assign a negative or fearful quality to that place or thing and that negative feeling shows up in our communication. We will be more standoffish, we may shut down or be more reserved, or may feel so physically uncomfortable that we can’t communicate calmly or effectively. You may be walking into the same place you’ve worked at for 20 years but coming back in this mid-pandemic reality is going to come with some changes.

By mentally preparing yourself and processing how you might feel in advance, you can walk in to that environment with greater confidence and peace knowing that yes, things will be a little different, but you are prepared and aware in advance so you can handle it like the pro you are. 

2) Don’t take things personal.

Co-workers who are usually really friendly and spend a lot of time hanging out together may be more reserved. That’s OK. Your regular lunch partner may decline and choose to eat in their office. That’s OK. A manager or team member who usually always has their door open might now prefer to keep their door shut to create more physical distance. That’s OK. 

People are going to do the things that they feel are going to keep them safest and best protected during the return to the workplace. It’s important to remember that this change in behavior is not a personal affront to you or to the feelings and respect that they have for their relationship with you, it’s just a personal decision that have made so they feel a little more in control of their environment and a little better protected. You can communicate your understanding of this need by checking in with them on their comfort level regarding their space, activities, and interactions with you throughout your work day and by respecting what they’re comfortable with without making them feel bad about it or letting it hurt your feelings. 

3) Show that you value connection even while maintaining safe physical distance and recommended safety protocols. 

Just because you need to be more mindful of space, shared spaces, and your environment for interaction, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make an effect to show that you still value connecting with your co-workers. Get creative in how you communicate with them, even if you’re in the same building or physical space. 

Don’t lose sight of the effectiveness of the remote working tools that proved good connectors during work from home or remote working like Slack, messenger, internal message boards and even video meetings. Using your non verbal and body language cues to show acknowledgement (like a wave or an eyebrow raise) and warmth (like a genuine smile, even if wearing a mask) when you are visible but distanced is also a great way to show someone that you see them, you acknowledge them, and your glad to be back in the same space with them.  

Most importantly, keep your patience and grace close at hand as you re-enter the work place. Don’t jump to conclusions about why people are doing things they are doing, everyone is going to have a different safety threshold and pace that they are comfortable with. If in doubt, ask them directly if they are comfortable, do they feel safe, and how you can best help them to feel both of those things in how you interact with them. 

For more from Lisa, visit or connect on Instagram at @lisamitchellindy.