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Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Music is one of the great gifts of life. There is nothing like music to reach into our souls and pull out the emotion we have squashed down and wedged into a tiny corner. Sometimes it is so wedged that we don’t even know it is there. Sometimes it takes a really great song to bring it out and let it go. Music can also fill us with hope and give us solace when nothing else seems to be able to.

Below, I share with you my top favorite songs which give me strength, hope and make me feel that there are people out there who do understand what we are thinking and feeling on a daily basis, even if we are too afraid to tell anyone. Please listen to and love these songs knowing that there are great people out there who are really working to make life better for you and everyone around you.

What a Wonderful World: Bob Thiele and George David Weiss

Eva Cassidy
    “And I think to myself, What a Wonderful World.”

    Originally made famous by Louie Armstrong, this song carries such a  beautiful message and there is no one better to sing it than the immortal Eva Cassidy. No matter how down you are, you have to admit that there is some hope left in the world when you hear this song.

    Sonata Pathetique: Ludwig Van Beethoven

    Beethoven Sonata Pathetique
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      Ludwig Van Beethoven was one of the most interesting artists in history.Beethoven was raised by an alcoholic father who he kicked out of the house when he was 18 to raise his brothers and sisters. He suffered all his life from disabling stomach ailments and ultimately lost his hearing, which caused him such anguish that he shunned people and lived in solitude for fear his secret deafness would be discovered.

      After he died, in his belongings was found a document now called the Heilingenstad Testament , in which he details his thoughts and feelings at a crucial time in his life. In the document, he alludes to taking his own life but casts the idea aside knowing that he had too much music left in him to stop living. The document reveals a brilliant man tortured by the loss of the one sense that he needed the most and his efforts to hide it. This piece, part of a full Sonata (a piece of music written to be played rather than sung and following a specific form) is the Adagio Cantibile section, the part that is played slowly and in a singing manner. To my mind, it is the single most stunning piece of artistic mastery there is. Here it is played perfectly my Daniel Berenboim.

      Take On Me: Aha

      Aha
        But I’ll be stumbling, slowly learning that life is ok.”

        I don’t know why, but this song  had me from the very first time I heard it. There is something about the sweeping pitch changes in the chorus that never fail to tweak my heartstrings and somehow make me feel like things are all going to work out right. It is just a great song.

        Lyle Workman, Brent Bourgeois: I Don’t Mind at All

        I Don't Mind at All
          “Misery loves company but she will never foot the bill.”

          Back in the 80’s, I was fortunate enough to be part of the San Francisco Bay Area original music scene. At that time, I was privileged to hang out with one of the members of Bourgeois-Tagg, who wrote the music for this song. Lyle was always a brilliant genius and went on to score major films such as “Superbad“, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and numerous others. I will always remember this song. One great evening, my band opened for Bourgeois-Tagg and I was watching from the wings when they played it. I will never forget that evening. This is one of the most perfect songs I have ever heard, and to this day people still love it.

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          Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

          Hallelujah
            “Love is not a victory march, its a cold and its a broken Hallelujah.”

            I am sure you remember this song from “Shrek.” It is the perfect heartbreak song. This recording is done by Jon Bon Jovi. I love this version because it is simple and a song so perfect should be represented simply. Too much ornamentation distracts. It takes a great artist to recognize this fact. Jon Bon Jovi is a great artist.

            Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Ashford and Simpson

            Ain't no mountain high enough
              “No wind, no rain, will stop me baby.”

              You remember this song sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell and later by Diana Ross and the Supremes. What greater declaration of strength and loyalty than this beautiful song?

              I Will Always Love You: Dolly Parton

              Whitney
                “I will always love you.”

                Yes, this is the song made famous by the beautiful Whitney Houston, but it was written by Dolly Parton. Not only is this song perfectly written lyrically, the simple chorus allowed Ms. Houston to really flex her considerable vocal talents, which she did with impeccable taste. This video always brings tears to my eyes. We will always love you Whitney.

                Nessun Dorma: Giacomo Puccini

                Nessun Dorma
                  “On your mouth I will tell it when the sun shines.”

                  From the opera Turandot. This is the aria from the final act of this opera. The aria is sung by the character Calaf, who has fallen in love with the beautiful but, let’s face it, completely nuts Princess Turandot. The Princess, being Herman Goering in a body suit apparently, has set up three riddles for her perspective suitors to answer. If they cannot, they are beheaded; if one can, he can marry her.

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                  Calaf has answered all three but gives the Princess one more chance by telling her that if she can discover his name by morning, she can execute him. She then decrees that no one in the kingdom shall sleep and must find the answer by morning otherwise they will all be executed. This I find a little harsh, even for opera; however, the aria itself is amazingly beautiful and tenors all over the world have chosen to take a stab at it. It is fraught with danger just like the path of Calaf, in that there are some superb high notes at the end that are sustained. One flashbulb popping or cell phone going off while singing this and you are toast as a tenor.

                  Caruso: Lucio Dalla

                  Caruso
                    “When he saw the moon coming out from the cloud, even death seemed sweet to him.”

                    Ok, I know I am getting all verklempt and gushy about these songs but I am not even kidding, This one, written by Lucio Dalla in 1986, was not made famous until after his death at which point it jumped the charts to number 2.

                    The song is dedicated to Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and is said to describe what the composer pictured as the final scene of his life. It is achingly beautiful and when sung in Italian by Lara Fabian, it will definitely make your eyes wet.

                    Amazing Grace: John Newton

                    911
                      “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.”

                      This is a song of redemption and hope. The best version I have ever seen and heard is Renee Fleming singing it at the ceremony at the anniversary of Ground Zero in New York. Standing in front of all the people who had lost loved ones and confronting their grief was so difficult that she had to look up in an effort to hold it together. A performance like that takes so much strength and resolve. Filling an area, the scene of such horrific events, with beauty and compassion is the mark of a great artist and she will be remembered for her beauty and her grace far into future generations.

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                      Laudate Dominum: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

                      Laudate Dominum
                        “For his love is powerful, his faith, eternal.”

                        Also known as Psalm 117. This beautiful version is sung to perfection by the lovely Ceclilia Bartoli. Mozart was so gifted in writing stunningly beautiful melodies with perfect harmony to accompany them. His works are a gift to us centuries after he created them.

                        Mary: Sarah McLauchlan

                        Mary
                          “With trembling hands she reaches out, a stranger’s flesh is offered.”

                          This is a song about sacrifice and compassion despite being treated unkindly. The lyrics are so universal. It makes you stop and look at life and the people in it.

                          Then They Do: Trace Atkins

                          Trace Atkins
                            “You want all the dreams that they dreamed to come true, then they do.”

                            If you are a parent, this will hit you where you live. Sniff!

                            Vincent: Don McClean

                            Vincent
                              “They did not listen. they did not know how. Perhaps they’ll listen now.”

                              A beautifully crafted song by a consummate songwriter. I only wish Vincent could be here to hear how well he was understood, if not in his own time, in times that would be his future. I think it would have given him solace. He never knew what he meant to all of us.

                              Deja Vu: The Shrews

                              Shrews
                                “I remember all the things I should have said, But I always say the opposite instead.”

                                Ok, this may not make you cry but you will love it! The Shrews are a new group of fabulous musicians. What can I say? The songs are just catchy as hell! After all those tears, you have to get up and dance!

                                There are so many wonderfully inspirational songs out there. Enjoy these and then send me your picks! I might do another post!

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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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