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How You Can be a Better Communicator

How You Can be a Better Communicator

    Communication is an integral part of any work or life situation. Learning to be an effective communicator is a valuable productivity tool, one that is unfortunately commonly overlooked. The consequences of poor communication can be disastrous; wasted time, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, unproductive meetings, ineffective teamwork, and lack of progress towards goals. In order to be successful communicators we need to keep in mind some basic guidelines that are applicable in most instances of work, social or home environments.

    Thank you first

    Before you delve into the substance of your intended communication, express your appreciation for the other person’s (or people’s) time. Time is a very valuable commodity, and it is important to be respectful of that. In addition, offer thanks for the contribution the person is making or the work they are already doing. A little praise goes a long way toward building a good rapport.

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    Build a connection

    Develop a personal connection. Find some common ground where interests intersect if possible, weather, sports, news, hobbies, etc. One word of caution, avoid controversial topics, such as politics or religion. Show interest in family, projects or organizations and causes that are an important part of the other person’s life. A sense of connection leads to a more receptive listener.

    Maintain a positive attitude

    Be constructive in your comments and questions whenever possible. Offer encouraging praise. Look for something positive that you can emphasize. You want to prevent your listener from taking a defensive posture if possible. This can circumvent the conversation from spiraling downward and the inevitable breakdown of productive communication that follows.

    Watch the tone

    While you need to be assertive in making your thoughts heard and getting your point across, be careful not to be aggressive. You want to be confident and direct without intimation. Try to remain calm and strive for a cooperative attitude.

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    Determine the desired outcome

    What result are you looking for? This is important. Know what the objective is that you are seeking. Are you intending to impart knowledge or advice, looking for a compromise of some sort, attempting to obtain agreement or searching for a solution? The desired outcome helps to influence the flow of the conversation.

    Actively listen

    Be sure to make eye contact. Be respectful and don’t interrupt. None of us likes to be interrupted and we need to extend that courtesy to others. Seek to understand the person’s viewpoint. Keep an open mind. Learning to appreciate differing perspectives is an invaluable communication tool.

    Observe non-verbal cues

    Carefully pay attention to body language, both your and theirs. Crossed arms or a closed stance can signal defensiveness or disagreement. Wandering eyes, fidgeting or shuffling can indicate restlessness or impatience. Yawns or sighs suggest either mental or physical weariness. These are all important signs that the communication is not going to be a successful one.

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    Ask for feedback

    First, make sure the other party clearly understands what you are trying to say. Often, we think we have agreement only to discover that we have misunderstanding instead. Invite input, thoughts, and opinions.Not only will this information help you, but it also serves to give the other people a sense that their opinions are valued.

    Establish follow-up

    Clarify any actions that will be taken. Confirm deadlines, responsibility, and accountability. If applicable, record any agreements in written form. Verbal agreements tend to be vague, written contracts are clear and concrete.

    Finally, always try to end on a positive note and offer another sincere thank you.

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    (Photo credit: Young man talking via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on October 18, 2018

      50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

      50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

      Life is filled with highs and lows —happiness and struggles that will test your resilience and integrity, push you to overcome challenges and leave you with lessons that will make you even stronger on your way up.

      It’s the way you feel and think about yourself, including your expectations and beliefs about what is possible to you, greatly determines everything that happens to you.

      It all starts with your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you transform the quality of your life. (Right, Nancy’s story is a typical example!)

      Below is a list of the best motivational quotes to inspire you to start your day with a blast:

      Quotes for self-assurance

      1. Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.

        2. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

          3. You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

            4. The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others

              5. You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.

                6. It’s not who you are that holds you behind, it’s who you think your are not.

                  Quotes about positivity

                  7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

                    8. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

                      9. Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice.

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                        10. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

                          11. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

                            12. Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for great.

                              13. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from worst times and from the worst mistakes.

                                Quotes for work and success

                                14. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

                                  15. Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

                                    16. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to.

                                      17. Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream.

                                        18. The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.

                                          19. Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

                                            20. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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                                              21. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

                                                22. Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

                                                  23. A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind.

                                                    24. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

                                                      25. Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.

                                                        26. You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

                                                          27. Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.

                                                            28 If we keep doing what we are doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

                                                              29. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

                                                                30. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

                                                                  31. The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

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                                                                    32. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

                                                                      33. If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.

                                                                        34. Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.

                                                                          35. Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

                                                                            36. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

                                                                              37. Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe dedicated.

                                                                                38. You become who you spend your time with.

                                                                                  39. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.

                                                                                    40. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

                                                                                      41. If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.

                                                                                        42. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power –the freedom to choose.

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                                                                                          43. What comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy.

                                                                                            44. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

                                                                                              45. Work until your idols become your rivals.

                                                                                                Quotes about money

                                                                                                46. Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.

                                                                                                  47. I create new enemies every day, it’s called business.

                                                                                                    48. When you have a Million Dollar vision, don’t surround yourself with 1 cent minds.

                                                                                                      49. You can’t get rich thinking poor.

                                                                                                        50. Doing what is comfortable is rarely profitable.

                                                                                                          51. If you can count your money, work harder.

                                                                                                            If you find yourself feeling lost and frustrated, it’s never too late to change things up. Check out this guide:

                                                                                                            How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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