“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
There are a multitude of things you can spend money on nowadays. You live in a society that is obsessed with consumption. Houses, cars, technology, etc. are all items you are pressured into purchasing. You can’t go anywhere, including on your personal laptops, without encountering advertisements for the latest fad or technological advancement.
Why do companies and corporations push their wares on you, the consumer? What is the purpose? How do they bait their hooks so well, reel you in, and catch your attention and willingness to purchase their products?
They offer you happiness when you consume their products. While buying a new house, car, iPhone, or hamburger and soft drink from a fast food restaurant might satisfy you momentarily, it will not last. Experiences on the other hand, live on forever. If you spend money on experiences, as opposed to material or quantifiable items, you are going to experience much more joy and contentment in your life.
1. Experiences can’t be quantified.
I already delved into this but the importance of this point can’t be overstated. Experiences are priceless while material items always have an expiration date. The house and car you buy are wonderful purchases but over time the satisfaction you receive from them is most likely going to diminish. The initial buyer’s high you get is not going to last forever.Advertising
Contrastingly, experiences will never lose their luster. Sure you spent $100 on the Mumford and Sons concert tickets, but that is an experience you will never forget. You can always go back to that moment and conjure up pleasant feelings. Perhaps you will never forget a night out you had with friends-dinner, movies, and dancing. You will never forget when you went to the Super Bowl or backpacked through Europe or Southeast Asia. These are life experiences that will never be replaced no matter how many cars or gadgets you buy.
Continue to purchase the things you need in life. You need a place to live and a car to drive. You need certain amounts of technology. Before you acquire your next material item ask yourself if there is an experience you could be spending your money on instead.
2. Experiences help define your purpose and passions.
Failure to spend money on experiences means failure to discover your purpose and passions. Your purpose and your passions should serve as your compass through life. They should guide you and influence your daily activities.
Your experiences don’t need to be expensive or grandiose, and neither do your purposes and passions. However, you should align experiences in your life that are in tune with them. If you enjoy sports, for example, and perhaps you believe your purpose in life is sports-centric, then it makes sense for you to spend money on attending sporting events. Learn as much you can about the sports industry if you are certain it is your calling. This goes for any other passion you have in life.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to pursue your purpose and passion. These are the experiences that matter to you, and ultimately they will help shape your life. Take advantage of them because they are always great investments!Advertising
3. Experiences introduce you to different worldly perspectives.
Perhaps there is no better way to learn about worldly perspectives than traveling. Traveling is undeniably one of the greatest ways to experience various cultures and social norms. It is an education that you will never experience in a classroom no matter how many places you study. And you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to witness the benefits of travel. Simply taking a road trip for a weekend offers you a new and fresh experience.
You don’t have to travel to appreciate a new worldly outlook. Spending time in nature can be extremely meditative and healing. Some of my fondest experiential memories are those times I was in nature, absorbing all its beauty and wonder. Experiences like this won’t cost you a dime, but they have the opportunity of being life-changing.
4. Experiences teach you life lessons.
Experiences are worth investing in because they teach you life lessons that you won’t acquire anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, acceptance, understanding, as well as organizational skills. Purchase tickets to the symphony, theater, opera, or musicals to expose your senses to the performing arts. Spend time at museums and exhibitions to uncover information from past historical time periods. Observe the sacrifice and commitment it takes to be an athlete by attending sporting events.
You are a member of a species that thirsts for experiences that are meaningful and significant. Experiences do more than just merely endow you with facts and figures. They transform your life. They teach you how to be humble, virtuous, and compassionate. These lessons might be subtle at first, but they are a big reason why you spend your money on experiences.
5. Experiences help you express gratitude.
Experiences, which you find worthwhile and meaningful, are prime opportunities for you to express gratitude. If you fill up your life with experiences imagine how grateful you are going to be for your existence. Practicing gratitude for major life-altering experiences allows you to feel grateful for the seemingly minute and mundane ones. Perhaps you will experience a paradigm shift, where all experiences are ones to cherish.Advertising
Living gratefully is the best way for you to live happily. Inundate your life with grateful experiences, and notice how better you feel about life. It is not a coincidence. There is a reason you feel euphoric and alive when you attend concerts or go to the movies. You are grateful for these experiences because they are worth the price of admission.
6. Experiences are unforgettable and joyful memories.
For many people the optimal reason for investing in experiences is that they unforgettable and joyous occasions. These memories can be especially useful if you are going through a rough time. It is never ideal to disassociate yourself completely from the present, but having pleasant and fond memories to reminisce on can be quite therapeutic. Perhaps they will serve as a reminder that things aren’t as terrible as they seem.
Happiness is correlated with your ability to relish your moment to moment experiences. Why not make these experiences ones that are beyond minute and mundane? Invest in experiences that you will treasure, not only in the present moment, but for the rest of your life.
7. Experiences are exciting and challenging.
Your experiences will inspire you, and at times, call you to take action. If they didn’t then you probably wouldn’t invest too much time or energy into them. Climbing Mount Everest is an experience you probably would never forget because of the daunting task you are forced to overcome. The mental and physical challenge of ascending the slope is both inspiring to yourself and others, and challenging at the same time. Accepting the challenge of learning a new instrument or language offers a mental challenge that is gratifying for anyone who sticks with it.
Being inspired and overcoming adverse situations are keys to your genuine contentment with life. Whether or not you believe it you need to be motivated to an appropriate degree in order to reach your full potential.Advertising
Experiences offer you this platform to reach your maximum limits.
8. Experiences are meaningful for you or you wouldn’t be spending money on them.
In today’s economic climate you probably are looking for ways to cutback spending, rather than increase it. With that being said, you aren’t going to waste money on new experiences that aren’t meaningful to you.
This makes it utterly necessary to get the most bank for your buck from these experiences. Don’t aimlessly throw money away at any opportunity that comes your way; rather, research and decide what experiences are right for you. What experiences are important to your well-being? In most cases you will know immediately, and the money you invest in them will be money well spent.
Go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. Many of them will cost you nothing. Some of them will be reasonably priced, and maybe some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with rewarding memories and life lessons. Always link these experiences with your passions and purpose if you desire complete satisfaction. You can always spend your money on more “stuff” with a limited authenticity of happiness or you can invest in purposeful experiences that will contribute to a substantive feeling of joy.
Last Updated on April 11, 2019
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.
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- How to Work with Different Communication Styles in the Office
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com