Can I Talk to You Please? How to Have an Effective Conversation with Your Boss

by Angel McNeil, Contributing Writer

Caution - Bullies At Work_4

We are used to reading an email, answering a call, or reading a memo summoning us to our boss’s office for a conversation. But sometimes it is the employee who needs to request time with their superior. As millennials the idea of requesting a meeting with your boss for anything can seem nerve wracking. #millennialcareerwoes But have no fear there are ways get around your fear and enter your boss’s office confident and ready to talk!

Here are 3 ways to plan and execute a successful conversation with your boss.

1. What is Your Why?

The first step to thinking about a successful meeting is to envision your why. Why do I need to call this meeting with my boss? What do I want to be the potential outcome? Do you need to meet with your boss to ask for a potential raise? Do you need to bring to their attention a nagging office problem? Are you ready for more responsibility or need further resources to complete the job you already have? Thinking about your why will help you plan how you are going to approach your boss and whatever information you need to support calling the meeting. It will also ensure that the meeting is productive and efficient as well as get rid of those last minute nerves you might have.

2. Bring Your Evidence

After thinking about the why behind your meeting, gather evidence that supports your argument. Any well-supportedgoals-discussion-boss argument is made better by bringing facts that support what you need. If you are asking for a promotion, share how you have benefit the company’s growth or mission and how your skills will align in a new capacity. If you disagree with your performance evaluation, what are some ways you can show they you have mastered certain skills? It’s better to go into any conversation well prepared and backed up by facts.

3. Find the Perfect Timing

Some people say there is no such thing as perfect timing. Well when it comes to your boss’s schedule I beg to differ. Senior and executive level staff are busy people with jam-packed schedules. Picking the wrong time to speak to them can either mean a rushed conversation or having your boss not be in the right frame of mind to speak to you. I suggest finding a time when you know your boss will be focused on whatever you need to discuss. If your job shares calendars, choose a time where your boss doesn’t have a day of full meetings or deadlines. If that isn’t an option either talk to your boss’s secretary or admin and ask them directly when would be a good time for a meeting. Have them schedule the meeting so your boss is aware of the conversation and send a follow up email confirming your conversation with your boss.

4. Pick a Neutral Territory

ask_boss_raiseWhile having a meeting in your boss’ seems ideal, when you call the meeting it’s not. You’ll still feel nervous because it’s their office and having him/her staring you down from the other side of the desk is just not what you need. Suggest your meeting take place at the local coffee shop downstairs, or in a small conference room. You’ll be more comfortable in a space that you suggested and you can somewhat take the lead in.

Whether the conversation is difficult or lighthearted it can be a tough task to navigate a needed conversation with your boss. However, with proper planning and confidence the conversation can be successful.

Share a time you have had to navigate a conversation with your boss. What was the outcome?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s