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10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One

10 Ways to Have Excellent Communication with Your Loved One
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Communication is absolutely vital for every relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a child, a parent, or a dear friend. In our harried, hectic daily lives, we can often forget just how important simple acts are for maintaining a strong, healthy connection, but by devoting some time to re-establishing those connective threads with those we love, we can keep our bonds strong.

1. Listen, don’t just wait to speak.

One of the main problems that people have when communicating with others is that they don’t actually take the time to listen. Sure, they hear the general gist of what the other person is saying, but they’re mostly just biding time until they can toss their two cents into the mix.

Draw your attention out of your own cranium, and really listen to what’s being said to you. Once the other person has finished speaking (and don’t even think about interrupting them or finishing their sentences), take a moment to mull over what they’d said before responding: you’ll be able to process everything in depth, and give them a reply that’s sincere.

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2. Be honest.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again: the worst truth is better than the best lie. True friends are those who will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it (albeit gently and tactfully), and couples who are honest with one another can weather life’s storms as a team, rather than staying silent about issues until they overflow and damage things beyond repair. If you’re gentle and honest with those you love, you can work through any trial together, with love and compassion.

3. Write!

Written words are powerful for more than one reason: the recipient can read your note/letter/card over and over again so the words can be learned by heart, and they can also recognize the fact that you took the time to write something to them by hand. Emails are all well and good for a moment’s communication, but when you write someone a letter, even if it’s just a couple of sentences in a store-bought card, you let them know just how important they are to you.

4. Go outside.

Make plans to take an outing together, where you’ll be free from distractions like TV, internet access, etc. Consider turning your phones off while you’re out there so you can really immerse yourselves in nature, and enjoy beautiful things together. Having a picnic in a park, exploring your local waterfront, or hiking nature trails in the forest gives you a perfect opportunity to pay attention to one another while experiencing all the rejuvenation the natural world has to offer. Being outside can lift everyone’s spirits, and an environment that’s fresh and alive is a perfect place to talk about new ideas, projects, or even life changes you’ve had in mind.

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5. Make a physical connection.

Did you know that babies who don’t get enough physical contact often fail to thrive, and can even die from lack of touch? The need for physical contact is so ingrained in humans that we actually fail to thrive without it. When you spend time with those you love, be sure to make some kind of contact from time to time to reinforce your connection with them. Holding hands, hugging, or even just sitting side by side with shoulders/legs touching is enough to provide reassurance and comfort.

6. Let them know how you feel.

How many times have we heard about people who have lost a loved one and then lamented that they never told them how they really felt? Too often, that’s for sure. If you value someone’s creativity, if you appreciate how they take care of you, if you enjoy their company, or any other wonderful aspect about them, let them know. Not only will you brighten their day, but they’ll realize their worth to you. This is particularly important for kids between the ages of 12 and 18, as their emotions are all over the place and they need reassurance and love, even as they try to push others away.

7. Recognize their “prime time”.

Some people are at their best and most alert first thing in the morning, while others prefer to socialize after dinner. If the one you love is a groggy mess for the first 3 hours after waking, it’s not a good time to talk to them about anything important during that time. Communication will be much smoother when you can approach them during their “prime time”.

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8. Take time outs as needed.

If you’re trying to talk to someone about something important, and emotions start to get fired up, it may be best to take a break and then return to the conversation when you’ve both calmed down. When tensions run high, things may be said in anger that can’t be taken back, so it’s best to go for a walk or meditate a bit, and then come back with a better attitude and more perspective on the issue at hand.

9. Make sure that solo time is respected.

Everyone needs “alone” time to recharge and just escape from the world at large, and if that’s intruded upon, it creates frustration and irritation: two ingredients that do not create a healthy environment for communication. Always ask the other person if it’s a good time to talk, if they seem to be engrossed in solo time, and establish that you need to be asked as well. Additionally, if you’ve planned a block of time in which you really just want to be left alone, let others know: they’re not mind readers.

10. Use “I” or “Me” statements when broaching difficult subjects.

If you’re frustrated or upset about a situation or behaviour, try to avoid being accusatory—that will just result in the other person getting defensive and bristly. Instead of beginning a sentence with “You really upset me when…”, start with “I felt really upset when…”, as that puts the focus on you and allows them to contemplate the actions that caused your reaction, rather than feeling as though they’re being attacked.

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Don’t hesitate to let the other person know if you ever feel uncomfortable or awkward broaching a topic as well: acknowledging that you feel weird about it can diffuse a lot of tension, and actually make them more receptive to discussing it, which ends up being better for everyone in the long run.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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