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Your helpdesk skills may be second to none when it comes to building smooth and efficient connectivity between devices, but building a human connection with endusers might present more challenges. Working well with others and effectively communicating your expertise with colleagues in other fields is an essential skill for an IT pro, but rarely included in formal IT training curricula, or even in soft-skills training.

Endusers are very reliant on information technology, so when things break down emotions run high, and addressing the problem means not only fixing what’s broken, but diffusing tension and de-escalating. If you don’t know what to do when confronted with an angry email, or feel flustered by impatient endusers, we can help. We compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help you work with even the most aggressive co-workers.

This infographic outlines essential tips for managing “layer 8” connectivity. Here’s a brief summary of our best practices:

Stay upbeat, even when you feel frustrated. Our impressions and memories of bad experiences outweigh good experiences 12 to 1.

Keep an eye on body language and tone. 93% of our emotional communication happens non-verbally. You might say all the right things, but if your arms are crossed and your forehead is wrinkled, those gestures speak louder than what you actually say.

Use positive language. Most of our communication happens in text nowadays, and without tone even the most innocuous messages can seem terse. So be sure to say what you have to say in a way that’s guaranteed to make the recipient feel good about your interaction.

Listen! Let end users tell their version of events, even if you think you don’t need to hear it. You might learn something new and they will certainly feel better for being heard.

Personalize your communication style and adapt to their preferences. Think about who you’re talking to and how they prefer to receive information, both in terms of the medium they are used to (phone, text, etc.) and what kind of information they are interested in.

Don’t explode. Remember that even if it’s the 100th time you’re dealing with an issue, it may be an end user’s first time. So while their process may feel frustrating, and you feel anxious to get the problem fixed, take a breath and try not to escalate things with your own frustrations and impatience.

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