Advertising
Advertising

Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Some people exist only to bring others down. The worst part about this type of person is they do so under the guise of being a caring friend, when in reality they simply don’t want others to succeed and leave them behind. The trick is in realizing the difference between someone who is genuinely looking out for you, and someone who is trying to hold you back from true success. The following toxic people don’t belong in your life, and you should do whatever you can to rid yourself of them:

1. The Statistician

The Statistician will be the one constantly reminding you of your odds of success. If you’re trying to start your own business, they’ll be the one reminding you that most businesses fail within their first year. If you’re applying for a job, they’ll tell you that hundreds of other people are applying for the same position. Of course, they do so under the guise of being a friend that “doesn’t want to see us let down.” But when they tell us how small our chance of success is, what shows is that they don’t believe you’ll be the one out of ten businesses that succeed, or the one chosen out of the hundreds for the position. Throw some statistics back at them in the form of cost/benefit analysis. Show these toxic “friends” you’ve done your homework and deserve the success you’ll receive.

Advertising

2. The Ridiculer

The Ridiculer just thinks your ideas are, well, ridiculous. They’re most likely a toxic, inside-the-box thinker who won’t entertain any innovative, mind-boggling idea that comes from anyone else simply because they can’t imagine it working. This is probably due to the fact that they aren’t intelligent enough to truly understand the concept, but will play it off as if it’s the idea itself that is stupid. They’re the ones being sarcastically optimistic about your ideas, saying things like “Good luck with that,” which we all know means “That’s never gonna work.” Shut them up by sincerely thanking them for their “well wishes,” and put your plan into motion.

3. The Fault Finder

The Fault Finder is similar to the Ridiculer, in that they’ll constantly point out the flaws in your plan. Like the Statistician, the Fault Finder doesn’t give you credit enough to think that you’ve thought of these hang-ups in your plan, and doesn’t believe you have any contingent ideas for if a problem arises. They’re the ones asking toxic questions like “Well what if this happens?” whenever you discuss your ideas, and then shrug you off even if you have a perfectly valid explanation for what you’d do if “this happens.” Counter their barrage of questions with equally ridiculous questions, like “What if a meteor hits the Earth and we all get launched into outer space?” or “What if aliens actually do visit, and they don’t come in peace?”

Advertising

4. The Pessimist

The Pessimist could also be called the Nihilist. Not only do they not see any chance of success in whatever you’re setting out to do, but they also don’t see any purpose in trying. While you’re keeping your eye on success, you also don’t see failure as the be all and end all of your existence. The Pessimist, on the other hand, seems to think that failure is synonymous with ultimate demise. Instead of asking “What if” questions like the Fault Finder, the Pessimist will state negative effects as if they’ve already happened. “If you start your own business, you’ll have to work 12-14 hour days.” Yeah, and? “If you don’t succeed, you’ll end up right back where you started, but in more debt.” Yeah, and? Just keep following up their negativity with “Yeah, and?” and see how long it takes for them to get the hint.

5. The Passive-Aggresor

The Passive-Aggressor clearly doesn’t agree with what you’re setting out to do, but won’t come out and say it. They’ll most likely skirt the issue by saying something like “If you think it’s a good idea…” That kind of statement obviously isn’t any sort of attempt to lend support when you’re trying something new. Of course, if you happen to fall short of your goal, the Passive-Aggressor will be the first person to chime in with “I told you so.” Again, not helping. Regardless, you should turn the other cheek toward them. Ask them nicely (in a non-sarcastic tone, even though you’re not exactly happy with them) how they would have done it differently. They probably won’t have an answer for you, and will shut up quickly.

Advertising

6. The Staller

The Staller doesn’t want to see you succeed simply because they don’t want to be left in the dust. Whenever you start talking about your big plans, they’ll change the subject to something menial, toss you a beer, and try to make you forget you had any kind of ambition to leave your stagnant life behind. The Staller is the college friend that’s fun to hang around with once in a while, but can be absolutely deadly if you want to get anywhere in life. Meet them out for happy hour every few months, but call it a night after one or two drinks. Otherwise you’ll be out until 2AM against your wishes, and wake up the next day too tired to get your dreams moving.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

Advertising

More by this author

Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

8 Steps to Ensure You Accomplish Your Goals 6 Steps to Ensure You Keep Reaching For Your Goals 5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain 12 Self-Destructive Habits to Eliminate for a Positive Life 7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

Trending in Communication

1 Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? 2 How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication 3 11 Facts About Volunteering That Will Surely Impress You 4 I Hate My Wife – Why a Husband Would Resent His Spouse 5 How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

Advertising

Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

Advertising

Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

Advertising

Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

Advertising

This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Advertising

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next