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The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

The pint of Ben & Jerry’s is gone; the Kleenex box is on its last tissue; the wine bottle beside your bed is empty; and you haven’t brushed your hair since the Clinton administration. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there—on the dark side of a break-up so bad we doubt we’ll ever recover from it. Our hearts are sunk, and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re hopeless and unworthy of true love.

It takes a while—and several thousand calories and a half-dozen of hangovers later—to realize that maybe, just maybe, we’re not the problem: the real dilemma is the person we’ve been dating.

Swagger is sexy. It’s a turn-on, really, to see a “bad boy” order a drink at the bar with the confidence of the Marlboro Man or a knockout in a red dress knock out the self-assurance of a man at a cocktail party with a mere look.

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They’re daring, provocative, and sensual—so much so you’re at first willing to overlook the way they mistreat you. It could be something as innocuous as her forgetting to remember that you don’t eat chives to something as insidious as him calling you only on Saturday nights after the bars have closed down. With time, and with more and more disappointments, you realize you’re back in the territory you know so well you don’t even need a roadmap: you’re in an unfulfilling relationship.

But then, when the tears have dried and you’ve removed all evidence of your fling from your Facebook page, someone so wonderful and compassionate comes along that you’re stunned speechless, and you’re reminded of the words of Mark Twain when he said, “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

This new man makes dates with you a week in advance. She surprises you with a weekend getaway when you finally receive that promotion. You have long, passionate discussions about everything from politics to your pasts.

It may be too soon to start naming your children together, but what this person does for your health and happiness is nothing short of magical: they tear you out of your dreary landscape and show you a new, refreshing reality—the place where you belong.

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And it is there that you have the chance to see seven of the signs that reveal you deserve to be treated right.

1. You’re tired of being a doormat.

When you’re self-esteem is low, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being present for someone when they need you—even if they’re MIA during your most desperate moments. You want to feel empowered and respected, not bullied into “meeting up” when it’s convenient for them—and the difference between the two is vast. When the latter starts becoming your modus operandi, you realize that you’re worth so much more than an offhand phone chat or date when he or she requests it, often at the last minute. You, exactly how you are, merit a home-cooked meal, a vase of flowers, a call wishing you luck on a stressful day. You’re neither a doormat nor a wallflower, but someone richly deserving of time, attention, empathy, and love.

2. You know the old adage is true: beauty is only skin deep.

Players and man eaters are notoriously good looking. They dress well, sport fresh pedicures, and have their hair professionally cut. But what happens when the clothes come off, the polish chips, and the wind blows their hair out of place? Who is the person underneath? If they’re dull-witted, insolent, narcissistic, unsympathetic, slovenly, and mean to your cat. It doesn’t matter if their shirt is from Prada, they modeled in their teens, or drive a Lexus—sexual attraction has a shelf life. Your charm and value—as well as theirs—exists beneath your physicality, and you’re determined to be treated as such.

3. You’re meet-their-parents worthy.

Your Aunt Bea is convinced you’re gay. You overhear your dad say that you’ll turn into a spinster with seven cats if you keep up this behavior. Your sister calls you a man-slut. You envy the foursome at the table next to you, where the eager young man is discussing what Christmas is like in Australia to his beautiful fiancé’s father. And then it hits you: the person you’re “dating” would fit in with your family like Morticia would mesh with the Cleavers. He would start talking to your dad, who is staunchly liberal, about Trump’s “promise.” She would try to drink your Uncle Fred under the table, and mistake the olive oil for wine. In your mind, your Mr. or Mrs. Right (even if it’s only Right Now) would open the door for your mom and not give your sister’s cleavage a first, let alone second, glance. She would cheer on the Saints with your dad and push your nephew in his swing.

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The point being: we aren’t that unlike our families, however hard we try to resist it. What they like, we like; what they see as disconcerting, we should see as well—even more so. You know you’re meet-their-parents worthy, and if your partner fails to see it? It’s time to show them the door.

4. You’re starting to forget the name you were christened with.

The men and women you’ve been dating have a variety of “pet” names that aren’t cuddly whatsoever because they are, let’s admit it, so clichéd their meanings are lost in obscurity. You’re Hun. Baby Girl. Dude. Darling. Sweetheart. Bae. All of these nicknames hint at what’s likely a larger problem: you’re one of many men or women in their lives, and they’re having a tough time keeping your first and last names straight. (A problem made all the more difficult if, my word!, one of you isn’t on social media.)

You’re beginning to recall the pleasure of the person you’re intimate with addressing you properly, even, dare I say, asking and remembering your middle name. Seriously: call out “blondie” in a packed restaurant and 50% of the clientele will probably swivel their heads. Now, Paige Monroe? Bradley McAllister? How nice is that?

5. You honor loyalty and candor.

Dating an adult man who can’t hold down a job or seeing a woman who is known around town as Miss Promiscuous requires a certain level of, um, discretion. You have to tell your BFF that you’re going to the gym when He calls because god forbid you’re giving him a twenty-second chance. You have to tell your surfing buddy you’re on a deadline because he’s dating Her too.

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You have to tell yourself that you’re suffering from temporary insanity and that it’s good to feel like a naughty teen again even if you can’t remember the last time he or she actually treated you with an iota of respect. It’s getting boring, strenuous, and straight-up time consuming coming up with lies—white or not—to cover up for your absences and I-feel-so-used mornings. You acknowledge, and absorb, that in truth there is beauty, and want someone who has a similar moral compass—one who chooses kindness over impulses, diligence over laziness, principle over pleasure.

6. You love yourself, with or without a partner.

When the baes and handsomes have been inevitably replaced with vengeful and defamatory name-calling, you start to believe it. Think of it as knowledge through repetition, or, in clinical terms, emotional abuse. And, like an ill-treated dog, you start bowing your eyes and sleeping alone in the bushes, hoping someone will come around with a bowl of food and a rub on your rump.

Whether or not that happens, through time, wisdom, self-empowerment, and the introduction to someone who treats you well, you begin realizing what those who truly love and respect you always knew: you’re downright fabulous. You may not be a princess, you may not be President of the United States (or even the bank at which you work), but your positive qualities far outweigh your flaws. And the right person—that person you genuinely adore and admire—will reinforce that you shouldn’t just like yourself, whether or not you’re alone, but deserve to love yourself with all your might.

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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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