“All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”
We sometimes take advantage of our mothers’ presence in our lives and forget to thank them for the little things they do and have done to help us grow into who we are today. They encourage us, help us, cry with us, laugh with us and sometimes, we just forget that a simple thank you can go a long way. So here it is—here’s to all you mothers out there! Thank you for being you!
1. Thank you for doing my laundry before I knew how.
Thank you Mom, for making sure I had clean clothes to wear each day free from grass, food and blood stains. Thanks for waking up at 6 a.m. to make sure all of the laundry got done in time for breakfast.
2. Thank you for making my meals, all of them.
Thank you for waking up each day to make breakfast and also my lunch before school. Thank you for having a snack ready for after school and then preparing dinner.Advertising
3. Thank you for teaching me to see the best in people.
Thank you for being there to show me that there is good in everyone and to see the silver lining in every situation.
4. Thank you for being selfless.
Thank you for giving up everything you want so that I could have the world. You sacrifices are appreciated. That time you wanted to just relax after work, but I needed help on a school project will not be forgotten.
5. Thank you for making sure I checked in when I went out with friends.
Thank you for teaching me to eventually be responsible and check in with you so that you know I am still alive.
6. Thank you for dealing with my case of the Mondays even though Monday was five days ago.
This is basically for the mood swings that you had to endure as I went through my teenage years. The mood swings, the yelling, the sobbing, the “I HATE YOU”s are not easy things to put up with and I am thankful you did.
7. Thank you for doing your job as a mom all year round, in addition to your actual job.
Thank you for waking up in the middle of the night to find my cold medicine and clean up barf and checking for ghosts underneath my bed. I know sleep is precious to you, but you got up anyways.Advertising
8. Thank you for teaching me how to handle money.
Thank you for the allowance and not giving me a penny more. It taught me the value of money and to get the thought that “everything is free” out of my head.
9. Thank you for forgiving me even though I hurt your feelings.
Thank you for having thick skin when I said hurtful things and still doing your motherly duties. I know you could have just let me starve or find a way to school after a stupid fight but you packed my lunch and drove me anyways.
10. Thank you for teaching me how to handle conflict.
Thank you for showing me to keep quiet on not act out on my emotions and say things I don’t mean. Thank you also for teaching me how to speak up and stand up for what I believe in.
11. Thank you for making sure I used my manners.
Thank you for making me say “please” and “thank you” to everyone and use my manners. Now I understand how awful it looks when people don’t use their manners and I am glad you made sure I did.
12. Thank you for helping me with my homework.
Thank you for helping me (forcing me to) do my homework. It helped in school (even if I don’t want to admit it).Advertising
13. Thank you for teaching me the importance of hygiene.
Thank you for teaching me how to be a clean person because, well, everyone likes a clean person.
14. Thank you for the gift of persistence.
Thank you for teaching me to keep at something if I want to get better at it and keep doing it. I understand now that great things take time and effort.
15. Thank you for the thick skin and teaching the meaning of the word “fair.”
Thank you for teaching me that not everything is just going to magically turn out in my favor or go my way. It taught me to work for what I want and not be self entitled.
16. Thank you for tucking me in at night.
Thank you for helping me sleep better by tucking me in at night. Now I realize that not everyone is that lucky to have someone to do that for them and I did.
17. Thank you for teaching me patience.
Thank you for teaching me how to wait and be patient because in life, that is all you can do at times.Advertising
18. Thank you for all the answers and for teaching me to keep asking questions.
Thank you for answering all my why’s, how’s, who’s and what’s. Thank you also for teaching me to continue to keep asking questions because knowledge is an amazing tool to have in your tool box and you can’t know unless you ask.
19. Thank you for your friendship.
Thank you for being my assigned friend. You are there when I feel up, down, confused and just plain angry. Thank you for being my best friend, even though it took me several years to see you as that.
20. Thank you for the laughter.
Thank you for all the laughter you have provided me from my childhood up until this day and making sure I had the opportunity to laugh.
21. Thank you for letting me worry about irrelevant things.
Thank you for letting me sob about prom, an old boyfriend (of two weeks), not being able to go out past ten and not seeing rated R movies. Thank you for letting me be a teenager and not forcing me to grow up too fast.
22. Thank you for teaching me to always be myself.
Thank you for letting me know it is okay to be myself. You taught me that it is okay to be happy with who I am and to only better myself if I wanted. Thank you also for the drive and the want to better myself.Advertising
23. Thank you for teaching me family is important.
Thank you for always having open arms no matter what was going on and teaching me the meaning of unconditional love. You are the reason I am who I am today and have taught me that family will always be there for you.
Featured photo credit: Maternity- Sara K Byrne via flickr.com
Published on May 18, 2021
How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.
The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.
Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.
Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.
Table of Contents
Listen to Understand, Not to Speak
There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.
Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.
Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.
We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.
Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.
A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.
The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.
Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event. And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.
Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.
Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!
Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words
While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.
Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved. When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.
These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.
Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.
Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?
Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.
Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.
Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons. These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.
Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.
Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All
As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.
This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.
Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption. Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.
Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.
These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.
Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.
Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!
More Tips Improving Listening Skills
- 11 Tips to Help Improve Your Active Listening Skills
- 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home
- How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com
|||^||NCBI: Listening Effort: How the Cognitive Consequences of Acoustic Challenge Are Reflected in Brain and Behavior|
|||^||NCBI: The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory|
|||^||NCBI: Brain Mechanisms Underlying Human Communication|
|||^||NCBI: Body language in the brain: constructing meaning from expressive movement|
|||^||NCBI: The Role of the Human Mirror Neuron System in Supporting Communication in a Digital World|
|||^||Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences: The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress|