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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 April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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