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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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      Royale Scuderi

      A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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      Last Updated on June 13, 2019

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      Think you have a boring life?

      The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

      Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

      1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

      What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

      Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

      2. Go Play with Kids

      Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

      They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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      3. Order a Hot Dog

      While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

      4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

      Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

      5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

      You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

      You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

      6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

      Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

      Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

      7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

      Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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      What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

      8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

      You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

      9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

      Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

      10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

      We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

      11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

      It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

      12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

      This will give you something to look forward to.

      Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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      13. People Watch

      Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

      People are infinitely interesting.

      14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

      Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

      15. Dance

      You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

      If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

      16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

      This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

      17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

      Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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      18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

      Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

      19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

      OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

      20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

      This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

      Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

      Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

      More About Living a Fulfilling Life

      Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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