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How to Strengthen Your Communication Skills

How to Strengthen Your Communication Skills

Three of the most important things that you can do to strengthen your communication skills is to (1) increase your vocabulary, (2) learn to listen, and (3) practice your speech.

If you’ve spent a fair amount of time in online discussion forums or chat rooms, you may have noticed that the cause of many electronically based disagreements appear to be the misinterpretation of certain words, phrases or expressions. In some cases, a simple lack of word knowledge may become the crux of a long flame-war or worse, the end of a potentially good friendship. You can prevent this by increasing your vocabulary and if necessary, asking for clarification of the meaning of specific word. Never be embarrassed to ask what a word means even if you’re in the middle of a conversation. If you’re trying to complete a task – it’s critical that you clearly understand what is being asked of you.

You must also learn how to listen in order to effectively communicate as well. All conversation is useless if you don’t take the time to fully absorb what’s being said. After all, a conversation is based on input and its feedback – you just can’t give useful feedback if you don’t fully appreciate and accept the input. Nothing is more aggravating than giving a set of lengthy instructions to someone who isn’t listening. If you discover that you’re having trouble listening on the other hand, you can always politely interrupt your speaker and ask him or her to clarify things that you didn’t understand.

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Of course when it’s your time to speak, you certainly want to do your best to communicate your points in a way that your listener(s) can understand. Some of us are natural communicators (like talk radio hosts for instance), while others of us aren’t. But if you practice your speech, you’ll find that you’ll start to learn a few tricks to relax and speak at a rate that you’re comfortable with, or get those ‘hard to pronounce’ words out of your mouth. One trick that can help your speech flow is to visualize the words on a sheet of paper before you talk. That way when you speak, you can virtually read aloud what you’re visualizing. This is a handy trick for those impromptu moments where you’re required to answer a series of questions (as in an interview), or when you’re attempting to explain a new procedure at work in front of a group of co-workers.

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Nicole Miller is a developer and member of the Association of Shareware Professionals.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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