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15 Easy Ways to Make Others Smile

15 Easy Ways to Make Others Smile

I love making people’s days better, and I know I’m not alone.

Although we are constantly worried about our own problems, bills, or the way people think of us, making someone else smile or improving their day through a simple act of kindness can completely turn your mood around, too. What’s better? These kind, positive actions aren’t that hard to do, nor do they take that much time from our busy, frantic lives.

Here are 15 super simple, fun ways to make other smile.

1. Crack a dad joke or terrible pun

Okay, I know not everyone is super witty or clever or quick on their feet enough to do this. But even a simple joke or witty commentary will do. Humor is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make someone smile (crazy, right?!).

Some people might find you corny or cheesy, but deep down inside their laughing too. Besides, your simple act of courageousness and your willingness to be vulnerable enough to tell a joke will win the reward of a smile, making others feel better.

2. Give a genuine compliment

Compliments are often mistaken as creepy come-ons for one reason: they aren’t sincere. If you truly like the way a girl’s hair looks or a guy’s smile looks, they’ll be able to tell immediately by the way you say it. If you truly mean it, this simple sentence, that took maybe 15 seconds to say, can make someone’s entire week.

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3. Reach out to someone you miss

Sadly, I see a lot of people use the excuse of, “Well, they haven’t talked to me in X years either and the phone works both ways dontchaknow?!”

What a sad thing to say. If you’re yearning to spend time with with a close friend or relative, reach out and see how they’re doing. Be the first to initiate contact. Again, genuine gestures go a long way here. Even just a Hey, I really miss you and hope you’re happy with life text will hit them right in the feels.

4. Food

Even people who are dieting or exercise a bunch love pizza and burritos, but not together. Or maybe…

*Bonus points: If you make something from scratch. Even if they’re burned cookies, it’s still really cool that you did that and the recipient will appreciate it (and probably laugh it off with you).

5. Send your mom or loved one “just because” flowers

This is fairly self-explanatory, but random gifts and treats are so much more appreciated when they’re given spontaneously.

Birthdays, Mothers Day’s, and every other Hallmark holidays can be spotted from a mile away with the expectation that a gift is coming. Although gift giving in any form is appreciated, random gifts are always the best.

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6. Tell someone you’re proud of them

These words are so heavy and meaningful, but some of that meaning is often lost because we’re only told that by our parents or family members. Telling a close friend or significant other that you’re proud of them after they accomplished something meaningful carries substantial validity.

In fact, try flipping the switch and tell your parents you’re proud of them for something they did. There comes a time in your life when you’ll finally realize that they’re not just superheroes, but actual people, too.

*Bonus points: Praise them publicly

7. Write and send a handwritten letter or note

I had a pen pal recently bring up a really good point about our current culture. In our highly communicative, fast-paced lives, we often have, like, six to ten conversations going at once.

Between social media, email, text messaging, and Tinder, the intimacy of letter writing has sadly diminished. In fact, disappeared. But, if you think about it, there aren’t many things on the planet that can be more complimentary. The fact that you sat down for 15-20 straight minutes to carefully craft a message to one person, and one person only, is like one hundred specific compliments wrapped in an envelope and stamped with love.

8. Listen fully

Again, there are a lot of distractions in the world around us, and some for good reason. Life is crazy beautiful! There are countless things to look at and see and do and experience. However, one of the kindest, most touching things you could do for someone is be fully attentive when they are talking. I can almost guarantee they will kindly return the favor when you want to talk, and they will never forget how much you care.

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9. Say “I’m sorry”

We’ve all done someone wrong, but it’s never, ever, ever too late to make it right. The ship rarely ever sails, but our egos make us thinks they did. It doesn’t matter if it’s been days, weeks, months, or even years since the incident happened, owning up to something you did that hurt another person will go a million miles in one heartbeat.

10. Give a huge tip

For some reason I’m unsure of, people seem think, and tip, like the check they pay at the end of the meal is what the waiter, waitress, or bartender pockets. Now, I’m not saying that all people tip poorly, or all service is super great, but giving a great tip, especially when the service warrants the pay, will make that persons shift endlessly better.

11. Say what’s up to the mailman

Dude, he brings your mail every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the sleet, in the snow, in the squelching hot sun, and any other inclement weather pattern in-between, he’s always there. That sort of reliability and timeliness deserves a proper introduction at least. Or, if nothing else, a head bob and a smile.

12. Realize when someone is bumming out and encourage them

The world is inherently negative, and it’s very difficult to pull ourselves out of funks alone. I can remember several times when friends recognized I was down and did something they knew would pull me out of it.

But it doesn’t have to just be with your friends. People can be read pretty easily. Older gentleman hanging his head on the bus? How hard is it to turn and say, “Hey, you okay?” Believe it or not, we’re all scared and worried and get depressed at times.

However, we’re all in this “mess” together. Kindness always comes full circle.

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13. Give thanks

It’s often said that successful people start their day by giving thanks for one thing or several things they have. Even when you’re striving for more, or trying to make a better life, it’s always good to stop and recognize the beauty that exists around you.

How can a rose grow in the middle of New York City on it’s own? Astounding. This is also true for others. Someone holds the door for you? Thanks, m’am. The barista at the coffee shop you frequent buys your coffee on a Friday?Frick yeah! Thanks! Waitress fills your water glass without you having to ask for it? Well, you get it by now. It’s pretty easy to recognize moments of graciousness if you keep your eyes out for them.

14. Be available even if you don’t want to be

Okay, don’t ever tell someone that you don’t want to be there for them. That’s not only extremely disrespectful, but also very hurtful.

What I’m encouraging instead is to be willing to drop the things you want to do to be there for someone. This can be a text message convo, a phone convo, or a late night trip to Baskin Robbins after a bad breakup or a job firing. There will come a time when you’re called on to be there for someone when you have other stuff going on. Be there and light up their world.

15. Smile at everyone you see every single day

I intentionally saved this one for last for two reasons: 1.) It’s the easiest one to do and can be applied to everyone you pass during the day (I’m looking at you, city dwellers) and 2.) It’s so effortless. Actually, I want to challenge all of you. Next time you’re on your lunch break at work or walking around the busy mall on a Saturday, look up from your phone for 5 minutes, make eye contact with the person in passing, and give them a warmhearted smile. Again, sincerity, not creepiness, is the key here.

But if you make it from the heart, you’ll be truly amazed at what will happen.

Positivity is a lot like a stone being dropped in a calm lake. Once you drop it in (via a simple action), it will send ripples of kindness and happiness in every direction.

Featured photo credit: Young happy hipster woman looks through binoculars via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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