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9 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

9 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

Communication is an essential part of work and home life. Understanding how to be a good communicator can be an important productivity tool, one that’s frequently neglected. Poor communication can often have disastrous results; lost time, injured feelings, frustration, ineffective meetings, unproductive teamwork, resulting in a general lack of career advancement and goal achievement. To become effective communicators we need to be aware of a few fundamental tips we can use in our work and life interactions. Regardless of the situation, the same rules apply.

9 Easy Tips to Improve Communication Skills

Show Appreciation

Prior to getting into the meat of your conversation, be sure to express your thanks for the other individual’s time. Time is an extremely precious resource, and it important to be respectful and considerate of that. Also, complement or recognize any positive contribution they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building good rapport.

Connect

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Connect on a personal level if possible. Look for places where interests overlap if any exist. Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common, hobbies, sports, children, etc. Take care to avoid such controversial topics as political leanings or religious beliefs. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of the current conversation and most likely future communications as well.

Stay positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to productive communications. Be constructive rather than negative or complaining. People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind even when expressing concerns or displeasure.

Watch tone

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While it’s sometimes necessary to be assertive in order to make your point, don’t be aggressive. There is a fine line between the two. Try not to cross it. An adversarial tone is not in any way productive. Be confident and direct, while still adopting a calm, cooperative tone.

Focus on the result

It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start the conversation. Knowing your objective helps you to direct the conversation and to remain on point. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to give help, resolve a conflict, or collaborate on a project or issue? Are you seeking advice or trying to influence behavior? Your desired outcome helps to determine the flow of communication.

Listen

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Eye contact is crucial. Be polite and don’t interrupt. No one likes being interrupted and though it’s natural to want to rush in to make your point, it’s very disrespectful of the other person’s thoughts. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Maintain an open mind. Learning how to value different viewpoints can be an important communication tool.

Notice non-verbal cues

Watch body language. Lack of eye contact, distraction, or fidgeting are often signs of restlessness or impatience. Yawning or sighing are usually signs of mental or physical fatigue. When you notice these types of non-verbal signals, it’s a sign that this conversation is not going to be a productive one. Quickly wrap up the conversation, postpone the conversation, or inquire about the discomfort if your relationship allows.

Request feedback

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Confirm that you have a mutual understanding of what’s being communicated. We often think that we’ve reached a resolution and come to an understanding, only to find out that we have completely misunderstood the other person’s thoughts. Ask for input and feedback. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated; it also makes the other person feel that they have been heard and understood.

Follow-up

Be clear about what actions will be taken and establish accountability. Confirm deadlines, responsibility, and expectations. If relevant, document any agreements in writing. A clear understanding of what is supposed to happen next can help avoid a conflict later on.

Always try to end your communication in a friendly manner. Reiterate your thanks and try to leave the other individual feeling understood and valued. Productive communication involves respect, consideration, awareness, and clarity. It is possible to be both direct and kind and still get the results you want.

Featured photo credit:  Smiling woman talking to telephone via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

When You Start to Enjoy Being Single, These 12 Things Will Happen

When You Start to Enjoy Being Single, These 12 Things Will Happen

Being single can make you weary, especially if you didn't initiate a breakup, it could be easy to get carried away with reminiscing and what-if scenarios. Staying caught up in the past is toxic to your growth, however, and interferes with your ability to move forward. Single life can be self-actualizing and enjoyable, but you need to embrace it first. No matter where you are on your journey in coming to terms with being single, the following 12 fantastic things will happen when you accept it.

Video Summary

1. You will be more focused.

    Once you start to treasure your new-found freedom, you will realize that taking time for yourself will show you what is most important in your life. Enjoying your single time will make what you want clearer and reveal which areas of your life you should build upon. Additionally, studies show that experiencing something alone results in our brain forming a more clear and longer lasting memory.

    2. You will be more active.

      Studies show that unmarried people are also more fit than their hitched counterparts. Let yourself welcome being single, and use this time to your benefit. You'll be more confident and in control when you do meet someone special.

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      3. You will be more likely to have high goals.

        Being single means you can't settle. In case someone who captures your heart comes along, you need to be at the top of your game. By embracing your time being single, you will be more able to pursue your goals and work towards a more complete, fulfilling future.

        4. You will be more creative.

          Spending time alone is also linked to an increase in creative thinking. Spending more time alone will force you to be a deeper thinker, and could lead you to solutions and projects you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

          5. Your schedule will be your own.

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            Once you get past feeling lonely and realize how wonderful being single is, you will become aware of one of the best perks – your schedule is now completely your own. No longer do you need to have nights out approved, nor will long days at work get interrupted. Relax into loving your single life because nothing is quite as liberating as deciding every moment of your weekly schedule.

            6. You will likely save money.

              Dating is a great way to wave goodbye to all your hard earned cash. When you're with someone, there's nothing more important than impressing them, including your income. However, when the relationship fizzles, you realize how this tactic doesn't pay off. Not only are we more prone to spending when dating, married couples are more likely to have credit card debt than unmarried singles. So don't get depressed when you're eating cheap meals alone – it's really a form of investing in your future!

              7. You won't need to compromise on entertainment.

                Particularly if your significant other tends to have different tastes than you, being single can be a blessing. As soon as you can appreciate being single, you will realize how freeing it is to always watch exactly what you want. There is no longer any need to skimp on your favorite movies, plays, or TV shows that others don't appreciate.

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                8. You will have more time for your family.

                  Another thing you will realize once you learn to relish being single is you now have much more time for family. Especially when it comes to older relatives, time spent with them truly is precious. Make the most of your single time by reconnecting with family members in your life you may have been neglecting.

                  9. You have more time for your friends.

                    Once you start basking in your single glory, you will also find that you have more time for your friends. Not only will increased free time let you reconnect with friends you may have neglected while being half of a couple, studies also show that married people have much weaker social lives than those who are unmarried.

                    10. You will find new haunts in your city.

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                      Once you start to enjoy your single life again you will also find that you have plenty of time to rediscover your city. Where relationships see us fall into the same habit of favorite spots to drink, eat, or dance, when you're on your own you will naturally start to explore fresh venues again.

                      11. You'll find more interests.

                        Similarly, enjoying your time being single will give you more time to consider new hobbies and interests. Instead of repeating the same go-to dates, you can now freely explore activities that really make you passionate.

                        12. You will be more aware of what you want.

                          Ultimately, taking time to ourselves is an important ingredient in discovering what type of person is our ideal match, or what career we can happily commit to. By delighting in your uninhibited life, you are more able to experiment and thereby find out what works for you and what doesn't. Don't look at being single as a drawback, since learning more about yourself and finding out what makes you tick are crucial in forming balanced, healthy relationships in the future.

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