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Learn to Love Annoying People

Learn to Love Annoying People


    Unfriendly people.

    Bad drivers.

    Incompetent customer service reps.

    These are a few of my least favorite things. In fact, they’re downright annoying.

    Now, I’m normally known for my overly optimistic attitude and flashy smile. Hell, I write about happiness for a living. But encounters with irritating people are enough to turn this peppy rebel into a defensive, rage-filed driver who expects all call center responders are out to get me. It’s awkward and uncomfortable.

    But you get annoyed with other people, too.

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    (Yeah…I caught ya.)

    Remember that airline worker who wouldn’t put you on the flight you desired? Or the Wendy’s employee who always puts pickles on your sandwich even though you specifically asked them not to? I saw you pounding your steering wheel in a fit of rage as you tailgated that 90-year-old World War II veteran who was driving 10mph under the speed limit.

    Or wait, was that me?

    Either way, it’s pretty clear that other people have a way of getting under our skin.

    So we huff and we puff. We bitch and we moan. We yell at people for not doing what we expect them to do. Because you know that you’re right and that they’re wrong. You refuse to back down.

    But here’s the catch, darlin’…

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    All of that huffing and puffing? It’s not going to blow down their incompetently built house. Getting frustrated is not helping your case. It’s actually killing you.

    And it makes you look fat.

    Unfortunately, you cannot and will never be able to control the people around you.

    (I’ll give you a second to mourn the death of that idea.)

    Now…I do have some splendid news. There is one thing that you can always control: Your reaction to the situation.

    I bet that if you take the following advice, you may even find yourself empathizing with that evil airline employee whose life mission, it seemed, was to trap you in Fargo, North Dakota for the rest of your life.

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    So, the next time that you come across an annoying person, sit down, take a deep breath, and remind yourself of the following:

    1. Everyone has pain.
    2. Everyone has fear.
    3. Everyone has a dream.

    All anyone is ever trying to do is avoid the first two and accomplish the third.

    And if…

    …you consider other people’s hopes and dreams instead of stewing in angry frustration over something that they did, then you will undoubtedly want to help them.

    …you remember that everyone experiences pain, stress, and anxiety, then you might just feel less lonely and more connected.

    …you imagine what scares a person the most, then you will surely feel humbled.

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    …you read these 9 tips for dealing with difficult people, then you will feel armed and protected. (Number six is my favorite).

    Instead of adding fuel to the fire, let’s try to make the world a better place, shall we?

    Here are 9 super-simple things that you can do to brighten someone else’s day. Who knows? It might even brighten your own.

    1. Pay for someone’s coffee (c’mon, it’s a dollar).
    2. Leave your server an 80% tip.
    3. Tell someone that you are proud of their work.
    4. Hold the door open.
    5. Write an inspiring message on a piece of scrap paper and leave it on a table in a coffee shop or on someone’s windshield.
    6. Tell someone that they can go in front of you in line.
    7. Bake cookies for your neighbor.
    8. Send a birthday card to an old friend.
    9. Drop a dollar bill on the sidewalk.

    For more ideas, I suggest watching the movie, Amélie. And I also suggest reading this piece that shows you 10 small ways to make the world a better place.

    (Photo credit: Young Adult Woman and Man Holding Emoticons via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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