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19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

You don’t have to create big, grand gestures to make a positive impact on someone else’s day. A few simple courtesies can spell the difference between an awful day and an awesome one. Unfortunately, there are days where it seems that common courtesies are not so common anymore.

Make an effort to go out there and prove that chivalry is not dead. Being gallant & respectful are traits that will never go out of style.

Be that person who will make life easier for the people around you.

1. Put a big smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it.

Trite as it may sound, the simple act of letting sides of your facial muscles turn north can give a boost to someone else’s day. Like a yawn, it is highly contagious. Even if the smile isn’t genuine, a fake one can lift your own mood. Fake it til you make it.

2. Give a genuine compliment.

Make the compliment very specific and sincere. Instead of simply saying, “you look great!” say something like, “I love how your blue scarf brings out the flecks of gold in your green eyes. They look stunning!”

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3. On the tollway, pay the toll of the person behind you.

Perform an unexpected act of kindness for a stranger. Pay the toll of the person behind you the next time you drive through the tollgate.

On the subway, go ahead and pay someone else’s fare. It’s fast, easy, and it won’t make you poorer. Nobody was ever rendered you bankrupt from parting with some lose change.

4. Tell the person you’re meeting exactly where you are when you’re running late.

Have you ever tried telling someone you’ll be there in 10 minutes when you very well know it will take you another 30 minutes to actually meet them? Spare their feelings. Let them know exactly where you are, so they can plan what to do with their time. You might invite their ire, but at least they’ll know exactly what to expect, and act accordingly.

5. Offer to help a tourist who obviously seems lost.

See someone holding up their well worn map, making sense out of the subway whatever? Offer your help. Give them specific instructions on where and how to get to their destination.

6. Treat the waitress nicely. 

You don’t know if they’ve had a long day and they are on their way to their second job just to keep the bills paid. Everyone has a story. Practice a bit of empathy.

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7. Open the door for an elderly woman, or that person with a bag full of groceries. 

Or hold the door for the person behind you. Practice common courtesies.

8. Share your talent at a public place.

Talents are meant to be seen, heard and appreciated.  A piece of music, a beautiful painting, a heartfelt rendition of a classical piece are reminders to slow down and appreciate our journey in life, and not be too focused on the destination.

Your talent is a gift that is meant to be showcased. Go ahead and show it off.

10. Ignore the wailing children at the grocery store.

Or better yet, give the mother a sympathetic look that says, “I’ve been there, hang in there.”

Mothers of toddlers do not mean to make life harder for you. So stop the judgmental looks and be kind. Same thing goes for moms stuck in a long haul flight with their toddlers. Make a special effort to more tolerant of moms who are alone with toddlers.

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11. Be more patient while waiting in line.

Try not to show your irritation. Don’t tap your foot, or make loud, rude comments. Try being fully present in that precise juncture of your life, those “in-between” moments which make up most of our days. It’s a good time for reflection and cherishing the little things that we take for granted.

12. Give your spouse/dad/mom some “me” time.

Moms are notorious for always being “on” and not having a break, catering to the family’s welfare and every child’s whim. Give whoever takes care of you a day off to recharge their batteries.

13. Listen without interrupting.

The next time someone’s talking to you and unburdening themselves, try really listening to them, without thinking of what to say next. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Give them your undivided attention.

14. Withhold judgement.

Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes all the time. Some learn from them, others might need to commit more errors to learn the lesson. You don’t know the full extent of their situation, or the unique circumstances and unusual context they’ve had to deal with. Practice compassion.

15. Offer to take care of a toddler/look after the toddler.

Mothers of little children have a lot on their plates. A little help will go a long way.

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16. Clean as you go, without being asked.

A tidier, more organized space will work wonders on your productivity.

17. Say please and thank you. Express gratitude. 

When was the last time you used these simple words to express appreciation? Use them more often.

18. Have a good night’s rest.

Being cranky has a spiraling effect that will affect everyone around you. So for everyone else’s sake, take good care of yourself.

19. If you have nothing nice to say, hold your tongue. 

These aren’t rocket science suggestions. It takes so little effort to spread joy and good cheer. And these simple gestures just might be the lift you need to make your own day a little brighter as well.

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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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