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9 Tips On How To Get Along With People In Any Situation

9 Tips On How To Get Along With People In Any Situation

No matter where you fall on the extrovert/introvert scale, wouldn’t it be great to learn better tactics to help you get along with the people you encounter in your daily life? Getting along with others is not complicated, but you do have to make a deliberate choice to practice and incorporate these tips into your daily interactions.

1. Listen with the intent to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

-Stephen R. Covey

If you make understanding another person a priority in any social circle, you will find that it is extremely easy to along with people. It is in the choice to invest time and emotional effort that the barriers to harmonious living are torn down. Planning or preparing yourself to understand others is a massive first step. You can do this by listening to what the person says (no planning your response while they are still talking!), making appropriate comments as they talk, and including references to their statements in your response.

2. Walk in their shoes.

Like coins, every social interaction has two sides. Sometimes, those lines between people can get blurred and cause misunderstandings. Taking the time to view the situation from someone else’s point of view will help you to get along better with them, even if you still do not agree with their views. As the quote says, you can’t understand (or get along with) someone until you have ‘walked a mile in their shoes.’ Get to walking!

3. Be polite.

Quite simple. Rude people do not get along with others. They may get along with other rude people, but those results have never been proven. Be careful of others’ feelings. Wit and humor at another person’s expense may do more damage than you will ever know. A polite demeanor will also leave a deeper positive impact than you will immediately realize.

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4. Always take the opportunity to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody.

Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, offer it gently, never harshly. If you recognize someone in need of encouraging, then that makes you the perfect person to do so! There are countless stories of people who have been inspired or motivated by a single needed word of encouragement at a critical time in their lives. When you encourage and compliment people, you create a culture of kindness and the kindness will be reciprocated.

5. Show interest in others.

Show interest in their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Celebrate their achievements, grit your teeth with them through the rough times. Dance with people who are rejoicing and take time to weep with those who mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance. If people around you sense that you support their best interest and also care about the ins and outs of their lives, you will get along with them just fine.

6. Keep an open mind.

Discuss, but don’t argue. It is the mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Accept that others may have a point of view different from the one you hold, or believe something that you do not believe yourself. One sign of an open mind is someone who will listen to someone else speak, without interrupting, even if they disagree with the view being expressed. Differences make us human, idiosyncrasies make us unique and special!

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7. Listen intently.

This may not be anatomically true (I wasn’t a biology major), but the tongue and ears cannot both be used at the same time! Holding your tongue and freeing up your ears to listen actively for a bit gives you an easier path to an open mind and allows you to learn more about people around you. Other ways to listen intently include refraining from one-upping or pointing out problems with the speaker’s story.

8. Be positive.

No one enjoys spending time with a pessimist.  Sir Winston Churchill said,

‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’

Positive people are welcomed in any social situation because they continually brighten the room or space they occupy by seeing the silver linings in each cloud, and that optimistic attitude is contagious! This is one situation where two negatives do not a positive make. Positive people make positive situations.

9. Be sincere.

While each one of these tips is important, none stands alone. They all operate in some combination with one another, and none more than sincerity. People will sense when you are faking a positive attitude, when you do not have a genuine interest in their lives, and when your kind words are simply a facade. All of these tips without sincerity will end up destroying any positive effect you were hoping to produce. Combined the tips above with a heavy dose of sincerity, you will find yourself getting along with people wherever you go!

Now this list is nowhere near exhaustive, so I’d love to hear what other tips you have heard or employed yourself! Feel free to share them below.

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CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

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.

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.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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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.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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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.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] 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.

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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.[5] 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.

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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.[6] 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.

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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

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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