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The 100 Best Lifehacks of 2011: The Year in Review

The 100 Best Lifehacks of 2011: The Year in Review

    Another year is coming to a close this weekend, and it’s been a banner one here at Lifehack.

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    As you’ll see below, one of our most popular posts of 2011 was our 100 Best Lifehacks of 2010 article, which flows nicely into this post which will outline the 100 Best Lifehack of 2011. Unlike last year’s list, there’s a few changes we put into place before delivering this list to our readers.

    First off, the overall top 10 posts are determined by overall traffic during the past year, as well as engagement on social networks. The articles come from a wide variety of our website’s categories, whereas the remaining 90 articles are divided up into the primary categories that we write about at Lifehack: Communication, Lifestyle, Management, Money, Productivity and Technology.

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    Those 90 posts were decided on based on visits to each article, social media interaction, comments and then were finally curated by the Lifehack editorial team. Each category has 15 articles that made the cut for this year’s list as well.

    You’ve got a lot of reading to do here, os let’s get started…

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    Top 10 Most Popular Posts in 2011

    Communication

    1. Why You & Your Business Need to be Involved in Social Media
    2. How to Work Through Blog Burn Out
    3. How to Deal with Criticism in One Single Step
    4. 7 Ways to Build Your Network Without Using People
    5. 5 Simple And Obvious Tips For Better Communication
    6. Simplify Family Life With A Communication Station
    7. How to Write Better and Faster
    8. Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate
    9. Do You Unnecessarily Point Out Flaws?
    10. Getting NaNoWriMo Done: How to Write a Novel in 30 Days
    11. How to Hack Language Learning
    12. How to Get a Book Contract in 6 Months (with a Blog)
    13. Mind Hack: The Philosophy of One
    14. 3 Ruthless Email Responses to Achieve Inbox Zero
    15. Starting A Blog in 2012? Avoid These 7 New Blogger Blunders

    Lifestyle

    1. What a Karate Weapon Taught Me About Achieving Big Goals
    2. 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less
    3. 10 Ways Improve Your Memory & Boost Brainpower
    4. Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now
    5. Why Fear is Your Friend
    6. 10 Insanely Awesome Inspirational Manifestos
    7. 7 Benefits of Exercise (and Why Weight Loss Isn’t One of Them)
    8. Breaking Bad Habits in 28 Days
    9. Eating Ancestrally: How To Start Eating and Living Like A Human
    10. From Nag To Shag – The Ultimate Marriage Hack For Men
    11. The Best Decision You Can Make for Your Business — That Has Nothing to do With Money
    12. Enrich Your Life By Making it a Story to Tell
    13. How to Get Your Husband (or Wife) to Help Out More
    14. 7 Morning Hacks to Jumpstart Your Day
    15. 10 Wise Lessons: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger

    Management

    1. Virtual Assistants: Worth It?
    2. Today’s Career Challenge: Start Networking Like a Pro
    3. 4 Famous Workaholics (And The Secrets of Their Success)
    4. Improve Your Professional Credibility – Write a Book
    5. How to Make a Plan That Will Help Your Business Thrive
    6. How Logging Your Day Can Lead To Higher Effectiveness
    7. 7 Simple Steps to Resolve Any Problem
    8. The Art of Stress-Free Work
    9. How to Get a Do-It-Yourself MBA
    10. Beating the Meeting Monster
    11. Sensors and Intuitives: How to Bridge the Communication Gap
    12. 35 Reasons You Should Work With a Coach
    13. Living With Your Deadlines
    14. Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Your Own Business
    15. The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

    Money

    1. 7 Tips for Reducing Your Overhead Costs
    2. Real Ways to Make Money Working from Home
    3. 26 Personal Finance Tips from Famous People
    4. Why I’ll NEVER Cut Up My Credit Cards
    5. Take Control of Meal Times With A Meal Planner
    6. 6 Luxurious Timesaving Services That Are Cheaper Than You Think
    7. Unexpected Ways The Library Can Save You Money
    8. Five Cost-Cutting Features of the Future Small Business You Can Embrace Today
    9. How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt
    10. 8 Tips for Raising Moneysmart Kids
    11. 100 Questions to Help You Write, Publish, and Sell Your Ebook
    12. The Black Friday Bucket List: 25 Things to Do on Black Friday (Shopping Not Included)
    13. Helping Japan: How to Make Sure Your Money Goes to the Right Place
    14. How to Negotiate with Car Salesmen and Get the Best Deal
    15. 3 Things You Can Do Now to Improve Your Finances in the New Year

    Productivity

    1. The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right For You?
    2. Productivity with Tablets: Paradox or Reality?
    3. How to Stay Productive When You’re Sick
    4. 7 Ways You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Calendar
    5. The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home
    6. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gen Y
    7. How Steve Jobs Changed My Productivity
    8. Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time
    9. Get the Most Out of Your Week by Starting it on Sunday
    10. How I Learned 5 Habits in 30 Days
    11. How to Slow Down
    12. How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals
    13. 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent
    14. Simplify Your Productivity Tools To Get More Done
    15. What Yoga Can Teach Us About Productivity

    Technology

    1. 5 Tips for Effective Digital Note Taking
    2. 10 Android Apps to Help Save You Time & Money
    3. 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Habits and Goals
    4. Kindle, Nook or iPad? How to Choose the Right eBook Reader for You
    5. Stop Wasting Time – How to Search Like a Pro
    6. Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords
    7. 5 Things You May Learn From Google+ Launch
    8. 7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone
    9. Focus on Art, Not on Features: Simple Online Tools for Writers
    10. To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System
    11. How to Stop Fiddling With Productivity Tools To Get More Done
    12. Goodbye Google Reader! (Or the Best RSS Reader Alternatives)
    13. Get Over Your Smartphone Addiction
    14. Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide
    15. The Perfect Productivity Tool

    Thanks to all of the Lifehack contributors, without whom this list would not have been possible. And thanks to you, our Lifehack readers. We hope that the articles that we offered up in 2011 — both those that made this list and those that did not — have helped you make waves in 2011. We’ve got more in store for you in the coming year, and we hope you’ll stick with us for the ride.

    (Photo credit: 2011 on the beach of sunrise via Shutterstock)

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    More by this author

    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    1 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success 2 How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success 3 How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out 4 What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important? 5 Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

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    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

    Create a Positive Experience

    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

    Help Leadership Skills

    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

    Build Better Teams

    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

    1. Listen

    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

    2. Know Your Audience

    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

    Here is a good way to think about it:

    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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    3. Minimize

    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

    4. Over Communicate

    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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    5. Body Language

    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

    Conclusion

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    Now go communicate your way to success.

    More Resources About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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