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What My Civility Workshop Attendees Asked

ISU Extension Office Assistants’ Development Conference Oct. 4

1. In the workplace hierarchy, how can you voice your observations and opinions?
We talked about operating from a position of being respected because you’ve laid that groundwork: thinking before speaking, not offering opinions on all topics and approaching topics from a neutral point. Perhaps disagreeing with a superior will be received better in a private conversation. Couch observations and opinions with language such as “My perceptions are….” “I don’t understand…”

2. How do you work with someone who is very detached in the workplace?
And the conversation swung to the opposite…How do you deal with someone who shares too much private information?
We talked about boundaries between work and private lives and what blurs them today—technology, people isolated from extended families and may not have many friends outside the workplace.
For the isolated person—continue to greet them but respect not all people are ‘morning’ people and perhaps conversing with that person later in the day would be better received. Attempt to get to know the person’s interests, feelings. And recognize that none of these attempts may work.
Too much information—Respond with comments such as “I’m not comfortable hearing about…”

3. What if the workplace lacks camaraderie?
One person said team building exercises helped her office get to know one another better, added some fun, helped people identify different work styles and communication styles. The entire office participated.
One commented there is value in changing routines so you don’t always do the same thing with the same people at break time or lunch hours.

4. How do you deal with a client who is powerful in the community, demanding, a bullying personality who takes up a great deal of time with requests that can’t be met?
Referred to a professional.

We talked about ethics at work from not drinking someone else’s soda in the lunchroom refrigerator to conflicts of interest. We talked about how to be effectively assertive. As always, workshop participants had good suggestions for one another’s questions.

These workers have my utmost respect
They answer the phones and talk to the clients who come into the office. They field inquiries on many topics. They hear the problems, the requests and know the current hot topics. From my communications and marketing point of view, I always want to know what they’re getting inquiries and comments about and their sense of those conversations because they are the link to Iowans.