Colette Carlson: Making Connections

“Real human connection, there’s not an app for that.”

- Colette Carlson

Motivational speaker and human behavior expert Colette Carlson, MS, CPS, explored connectivity and communication in the workplace during Saturday’s opening general session.

Carlson has been a driving force in the personal development industry for 20+ years and focuses on helping others form and maintain connections that benefit both the individual and the workplace. She shared with the crowd how we have an excessive amount of channels today to communicate but more challenges to communicate.

AORN Expo Daily News sat down with Carlson before her presentation on Saturday to explore effective strategies for building relationships on the job site.

AORN Expo Daily News: How can I drive change in my workplace without seeming like a nag?

Carlson: Implementing change in the workplace demands you have solid, healthy connections with your supervisors, colleagues, and peers. Otherwise, you increase the likelihood that others will see you simply as annoying or negative. Relationships are work and well worth the effort, which is why I encourage you to become a “Human Highlighter.” When you’re quick to point out what is working or catch someone doing something positive and share that observation through sincere, genuine appreciation, people are more likely to listen when you also share what isn’t working.

Keep your suggestions for change framed in factual, observable data rather than opinions or judgments. Sharing the cost or concerns of avoiding the necessary change might be appropriate before sharing what you would like to see happen. Inviting others’ input and truly listening to their perspective provides insight you might miss otherwise. Obviously, this means you must do your homework, show up prepared, and be prepared to listen with an open mind to any pushback or feedback that follows.

What’s the No. 1 thing I can do to improve my image in the workplace?

Many behaviors reflect on your work image, but outside of showcasing your topnotch work skills, I believe consistently showing respect to others is key. Respect shows up in how you address people during stressful moments, how you phrase a challenging conversation, whether you smile and acknowledge someone while walking down the hallway, and what you say or don’t say about everyone in your working environment.

What can I do to be more positive, even when I don’t necessarily feel it?

Since connection begins within, I would encourage you to make time to nurture yourself both outside of the job and on site. Notice I said make time, not find time. Everyone’s busy, so it’s up to you to make yourself the priority and give yourself what you need, whether that’s taking a short walk, reading a book, journaling, or just sitting still. While on the job, grab moments in the elevator to take in a few deep breaths, silently hum a song that brings you back to childhood, and remember that the person who might be driving you nutty in the moment is probably just feeling overwhelmed or frightened themselves. I have a mantra when I find myself ruminating on less positive feelings that make me feel stressed or irritable: I’m too blessed to be stressed. Because the truth is that the fastest way to reset your mindset is to count your blessings.