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6 Ways To Make Your Every Message Count In Daily Communication

6 Ways To Make Your Every Message Count In Daily Communication

Being a brilliant communicator is more about the way we think than articulating our messages fluently and interestingly. No matter how carefully you choose your words, you can never fully control how your message will be received. What you do can influence the content, tone, and intensity of your message.

When you apply these 6 ways to improve your communication, your words will become more powerful. You’ll increase your chances that people actually hear what you’re saying.

1. Prepare yourself before the conversation.

Take some time before sharing your ideas. This will make you more confident when talking to people. As a result, your message will be more powerful and easier to understand.

Before opening your mouth, ask yourself what is your real aim in this conversation? What message do you want your listeners to remember? Whether you’re talking with your partner or your colleagues, stress and frustration can cause you to speak less clearly. Clarifying your emotions before a conversation can help you to avoid beating around the bush and going into tangents on minor points. It’s important to stick to the main subject – the one you feel most passionate about.

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Keep in mind that this conversation won’t necessarily go the way you’ve planned it. Anticipate negative replies in advance so you don’t have to wing it.

2. Keep it simple.

Use as few words as possible to communicate your message. Keeping it concise offers less room for misunderstandings and boredom. Even though you may think what you’re saying is the most interesting thing on earth, your listeners may not share this feeling. If you speak for too long, they will stop paying attention and may not understand your message.

Also, the simpler and more concrete your message is, the more you can focus on your body language — which is 55% of all communication! Stand with your body open and inclusive. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, distribute your weight evenly, and look people in the eye.

3. Use positive language.

Our subconscious mind doesn’t hear negatives. Your message will be more efficient if you speak positively. Instead of telling people what not to do, let them know what you actually want them to do.

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For example: “You hang out with your friends too much and you never have time for me!” is not likely to be well-received. Instead, use a precise request: “I miss hanging out with you. Let’s spend Saturday evening together”.

4. Think from the listener’s perspective.

Flip around your thinking and try to imagine how your listeners will take your message. Use this method to develop a balanced and clear approach. In this era of texting (and other types of impersonal messages) our communications can be easily misunderstood.

Dr. Rosenberg (a communication expert) says, “The more we empathize with the other party, the safer we feel ourselves.” By connecting to your listeners’ humanity, they are more likely to realize the value of your ideas and find common ground with you.

Take into consideration the influencing emotions which can play in the perception of a message. Don’t demand, but gently and precisely indicate what you want from another person.

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For example: “I’d like you to wash the dishes after dinner.” might come across the wrong way. Try a softer approach: ”Would you be willing to wash the dishes after dinner?”

5. Avoid judgments.

People usually feel bad when you judge their behaviour. Judgment creates a power dynamic of superiority and inferiority which makes people defensive. This can derail a conversation and prevent healthy dialogue.

Differentiating observation from evaluation is a key step in improving your communication skills. As the Indian philosopher J. Krhnamurti says, “Observation without evaluation is the highest form of human intelligence.”

Even if you disagree with someone’s behaviour, remember this is nothing more than your own subjective opinion. Train yourself to stay mindful and to notice judgmental thoughts — these can lead you to unconsciously choose judgmental language in your conversations.

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For example: “You’re so naive.” is a judgment which would likely provoke a defensive reaction, whereas this second sentence explains a fact: “When I see you accepting Rob’s explanations, even though we know he’s lied to us before, I think you’re being naive.”

6. Stick to the facts.

Approach people with logic and an objective mind. A conversation supported by facts is less likely provoke hostility because no one can argue with the facts.

Especially when describing a tricky point, be as precise as you can and rely on simple facts. Avoid generalizations and words such as “always” and “never”.

For example: “You never accomplish your tasks on time.” is an opinion which will likely provoke a negative reaction. State a simple fact: “On our last three projects, we met our goals late because you delivered your work after your deadline.”

Communication is a skill which we have an opportunity to practise every day. As it is one the most useful skills we can acquire in life, mastering it is a good idea. Strive to not only be a good communicator, but to be an excellent one!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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