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5 Self Defence Tips All Women Should Know

5 Self Defence Tips All Women Should Know

It’s a sad fact of the world we live in that women need to be more aware of self defense tactics than men. In a perfect world, articles like this one wouldn’t have to exists; and in a more fair world the title would be “5 Self Defence Tips All People Should Know” but the statistics show us that our world isn’t always fair. In 2005, 92% of all sexual assault victims in the United States were female according to the Women’s Self Defense Institute. More than one million women are stalked each year in the US compared to nearly 400,000 men. Obviously it makes sense for everyone to be aware of techniques they can use to stay safe when travelling alone at night, but due to the increased risk of attacks on females there is an even greater need for women to be alert and informed. With that in mind, let’s get into the list:

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    1. Use Your Senses

    The best way to stay safe is to avoid a confrontation altogether. Criminals do not see all people as equally likely targets, they identify those who will give them the least trouble and the best chance to escape. Consequently, your best self defence strategy is to not be an easy target. Walk tall with good posture and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones, your ears are a valuable resource in knowing what is going on around you especially after dark. Keep your head up and watch where you are going. The sooner you can react to a potential situation the better off you will be.

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      2. Dress for Success

      If you plan on walking home alone or expect to be in some other similarly risky situation, wear clothing that will allow you full mobility. Stash a pair of running shoes at a friend’s house, in someone’s car, or carry them with you. Avoid tight fitting clothes that will restrict your movement. Part of avoiding a confrontation might be the ability to run away from a potential threat, and you don’t want heels and a skirt to get in your way.

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        3. Stay Visible

        Be conscious of the route you choose to get home. If there are busier streets with better lighting that add ten minutes to your walk but will keep you safe, take them. Criminals tend to stick to areas where there are fewer people for a reason and it pays to avoid them. Also, be aware of how you are walking. Take a wide path around corners to avoid being surprised.

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          4. Have a Toolkit

          Carry items that will help you out if you end up in a bad situation. At the very least, a whistle will alert other people around you that something is wrong and at best it may scare away any potential attacker. Also consider carrying weapon, but be aware of the fact that any weapon you carry has the potential to be used against you. If you live in a place that allows them, personal pepper spray canisters are a great option. Just make sure you know how to use them. A well placed shot of pepper spray in the face of an attacker can give you the time you need to get away.

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            5. Know How to Fight Back

            When prevention and your toolkit fail you, be prepared and know how to fight back. There is also no such thing as fighting dirty when your safety is on the line. Direct any punches you throw at your attackers face. If they come at you with their hands outstretched grab a thumb for finger and bend it like a Christmas wishbone. If they get closer than that, grab their shoulders and hit them in the groin with your knee as hard as you can. Other sensitive areas are the shin and the eyes. Focusing in the right targets and landing one good shot can give you the window you need to get to safety. Look into taking a self defence class offered in your area.

            Featured photo credit: PictureYouth via flickr.com

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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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