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10 Sweet Moments Only Long Distance Sisters Can Relate To

10 Sweet Moments Only Long Distance Sisters Can Relate To

I have a long distance sister. My sister lives in another state and I miss her like crazy, but it does make getting together all the more poignant and enjoyable when it does happen. Sisterhood is undeniably a special bond, one that can’t be broken — regardless of how far apart you are or how often you get to see each other. Often life gets busy and whether they are across the street or across the other side of the world, getting together with your sister can get less frequent as we get older. However, there is an upside to living far away from each other. Having a long distance sister means that catching up is all the more significant.

Here are 10 sweet moments that long distance sisters can relate to:

1. Having a place to stay when you travel

When you live away from your sister, you know that any time you visit her specifically or happen to travel in her vicinity, you will definitely have a place to call home. Free lodging with family, especially a sister, means always having a home away from home. And if you forgot something or need a special pair of earrings to finish off an outfit, you can always raid your sister’s room, just like old times.

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2. Exchanging all the presents at once

Having missed several special occasions by the time you get together means you get to exchange all your gifts with each other at once. Birthdays, graduations, religious holidays – any occasion that requires a gift is saved up and a good way to save on postage is to put all those presents aside and take them with you next time you visit. Then, you can open a bottle of wine and a giant box of chocolates and sit on the lounge room floor to unwrap all your goodies.

3. Meeting and reconnecting with nieces/nephews

If residing apart has meant that you aren’t able to be there to hold each others’ hands while in labor, visits can mean meeting new nieces and nephews for the first time or seeing how much they’ve grown and changed the next time you reconnect. Photos and videos can keep you updated, but being an aunty in the flesh without having to babysit weekly makes the relationship with the little critters all the more worthwhile.

4. Exploring each others’ home improvements

Getting to stay at each others’ house infrequently means you don’t see the mess of renovation and home decoration. When the time comes to visit you have both got the spare bedroom immaculate, like a bed and breakfast. Showing each other your homes can be the fun part of not living near one another.

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5. Sharing a meal

As children, you probably sat at the dining table together a million times over a million meals. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and you never even said two words to each other except maybe to fight over the last piece of garlic bread, but now meals take on a different meaning. Breaking bread with your sister at your favorite cafe or restaurant, or better still cooking a meal for her gives you both immeasurable pleasure and comfort. Open a bottle of good wine and break out the ice cream and coffee and you’re likely to be sitting at the dining table for half the night.

6. Hugging

As kids it was probably the most uncool thing in the world to do to hug your sister. You don’t realize how little affectionate physical contact you have with your siblings whey you are children; the only time you touch is likely to be the rare occasions when you fall asleep on the lounge together or if you shove each other as you pass in the hallway. However, as adults there is nothing as comforting as that bear hug the minute you see each other at the air port or in the driveway. The older you get, the tighter and longer the hugs.

7. Making eye contact in real time

When you mostly communicate with your long distance sister via text message, email, or online chatting, you don’t make actual eye contact with her. Even if you’re looking at her through a computer screen, you’re probably just looking at the image of yourself talking or you’re doing other things while you talk. Eye contact is underrated. It’s these moments that are a stark reminder of the connection between you.

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8. Waking up and going to bed in the same house again

How many mornings and evenings together did you take for granted as children? Living apart puts an end to bleary-eyed breakfasts in your pajamas and late nights watching movies together. They say, about many things, you never know when the last time will be. Catching up brings those morning and evening opportunities back. It’s just nice to be under the same roof again, knowing they are on the other side of the wall provides a sense of coziness lost long ago.

9. Reminiscing about old times

At some point it is inevitable that you will remember the past together. When you don’t see each other regularly, you lack having someone in your life with that shared experience of growing up together. You have known this person the longest in your life. Longer than your parents, partner, children, and your best friends. Having somebody to evoke the past with, who understands and remembers your memories, good and bad, helps you to make sense of who you are and where you come from. Nothing is as precious as going through old photo albums with the one person who was standing beside you.

10. Making plans for the future

The distance between you is an opportunity to look forward to something. It’s knowing that at some point you will see each other again and that will get you through being apart. Absence and distance definitely make the heart grow fonder. Petty disagreements and personality clashes, sibling rivalry and old resentments disappear because you cherish your relationship all the more.

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In this day and age, people go their own way. The world is small. It isn’t unusual for families to live continents apart, but with the ease of travel and technology those relationships not only survive, but thrive. Having a long distance sister is a privilege and it’s the quality of time spent together that’s most important, not the quantity. Being far away from each other forces you to make those moments count.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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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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