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What Every Introvert Should Do to Live a Great Life

What Every Introvert Should Do to Live a Great Life

An introvert by definition is a person who is predominantly concerned with his own thoughts and feelings rather than external things. Introverts possess characteristics seen as shy, reticent, and are often assumed to be self-centered.

Introverts are people holding a treasure that is worth discovering. They are not people who hate people, but they prefer to be alone rather than to be in the crowd surrounded. There are positive aspects to both introverts and extroverts, and this article will explore the positive aspects of life as an introvert, and how you can embrace the different parts to live a happy life.

1. Confronting part (internal)

As some people prefer to be around others–introverts– some people like to be left alone with their own thoughts–the introverts. Confronting with oneself is the most important part of being introvert. If you tend to enjoy more time alone then be more alone. If you force yourself to go in the crowd just to pretend to be someone you are not, you are going to experience mood failure.

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Before making someone else happy, we need to have positive energy to share that happiness. If we go against our happiness, it’s bad for our health, happiness, and the environment.

Energy is flow–every atom vibrate at any given frequency, which proves that we have waves of positivity or negativity to share, depending on our mood status. Do not go against your own self because that’s the destructive part and trouble maker.

2. Cope with public (external)

Okay, let’s not confuse some things. Being an introvert is not a person who hates people and would rather be swaying in the corner, sitting alone in the dark room, than to be present in a bright room full of people.

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Coping with the public is cheerful for everyone. Introverts need less time with people, but they vitally need that part. Sharing our thoughts and having someone to understand us is always a must. Introverts have fewer people they can open up to. That means introverts external part is a must, but the number of people they open up is few. They prefer smaller entourage, rather than bigger one.

Some imagine introverts as Will Smith from I Am Legend, which is a common misconception. They are happy having a small, close circle of friends rather than a crowd.

3. Accepting part (internal and external)

The part where the flow of the chemistry with oneself combines is the part where we accept ourselves as the person we are.

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After confronting, we need to accept and live by that rule our whole life. It’s something like having a code. Introverts live by the code expressed by the quote “I’m rarely bored alone; I’m often bored in groups and crowds.”

Having fun and enjoying with oneself is a gift that needs to be embraced. Lot people I personally know, and many of my close friends, can’t be left alone. They seek someone to hangout and must be around the crowd. That states them as extroverts and they accept that.

Extroverts have one funny quote which describes them perfect “When people assume something’s wrong because you don’t feel like talking.” Usually, if we don’t assume that is wrong, there is quite big possibility that they are introverts because the mind speaks all the time, either we share that voice with people or we keep it to ourselves. Even when we sleep, we often dream. “That thing” up there never sleeps.

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We have to confront ourselves, combine with our feelings, see what makes us happy, and accept that we are the way we are.

Featured photo credit: Happy Girl Hopscotch in Strawberry Free Creative Commons/Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.com

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What Every Introvert Should Do To Live A Great Life

What Every Introvert Should Do To Live A Great Life

As an introvert, I understand how life seems quite overwhelming. Constant anxiety and nervousness when engaging with people, especially those who are out of our comfort zone, feels inhibiting. Moreover, one gets misunderstood on many levels by extroverts, and this adds to our frustrations when trying to communicate. The below tips help in alleviating some of our woes, so that we introverts can live great and fulfilling lives.

1. Fit in.

Fitting into a social gathering or a party may seem exhausting for introverts. Bring in a friend or a colleague with whom you are comfortable. Alternatively, come early to the party when the crowd is thin to identify and meet people who share your interests. This way when the party gets loud and the room gets crowded, you are already in your comfort zone.

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2. Over-communicate.

Man is a social animal, and seeks constant communication and feedback with anyone he encounters. For introverts, this is not something that is easy to internalize. To compensate for this lack of understanding, always over-communicate. Acknowledge anyone you meet. The acknowledgement need not be verbal; a smile on the face or a pat on the back works well too. Similarly, when communicating your feelings and emotions with others, don’t be shy about your feedback. Be assertive, and, if necessary, repetitive in getting the message across.

3. Focus the conversation.

As introverts, we do not like meandering around endless conversations. Such conversations seem pointless and a waste of energy. Rather than getting frustrated in the cacophony of noise, one should focus the conversation with objective, reflective, interpretive and decisional questions. This helps to maintain our mental equilibrium, to add meaning to the conversation, and, if lucky, to bring the conversation to a logical end.

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4. Prepare.

Prepare in advance before you attend a social gathering, or a meeting. Have some topics of conversation ready. Be ready with what you want to share. If possible play out in your head how you would like to steer the conversation. Think of all the diversions and how would you tackle them. This may seem cumbersome at the start, but once you have a standard script ready, it is easy to customize for just about any occasion.

5. Know your limits.

Understand your limits, and do not push them without reason. It is OK to say “no” if you are not comfortable attending a social event. Even at the workplace, although it may not be possible to say “no” all the time, one should give subtle hints if one is not comfortable engaging in certain activities. Moreover, instead of getting intimidated or overwhelmed by people around you, try to adapt. For example, if you have a chatterbox as a colleague around you, then it would be wise to invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

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6. Invest your energy wisely.

As Introverts, we have a fixed amount of patience and energy to deal with social engagements, be it personal or professional. It is important to invest our energies wisely. For example, if I have a big marketing event to attend in the evening, then I will try to have a peaceful and quiet morning. In addition, I rarely schedule exhausting social interactions on consecutive days. Try to pick and choose your social events, instead of attending every event that comes your way.

7. Breathe in; meditate.

There are days, when life gets overwhelming. We tend to freeze up. Taking the next step seems like a chore. Sometimes we get worked up over trivial issues, and small issues snowball into huge panic attacks . In those times, understand that it is all in your mind. Take a deep breath, and meditate on what is bothering you. Once you identify it, try to do a mental pro-con list and objectively analyze if makes sense to spend any more energy on the issue. If yes, make a note of it and decide to come back to it at a later time. If no, take another deep breath and move on.

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8. Write.

Journaling day-to-day activities is a great way to understand your emotions and feelings. It allows you to come back to issues or conflicts that are bothersome. Having a dialogue with oneself, through journal writing, helps to arrive at surprising conclusions, ones that could never be reached while ruminating the same thoughts in your mind again and again. This extends to writing on blogs or writing books. If blogging helps you to establish a presence in the online world, and then extend those relationships in the real world, then all power be to you.

9. Schedule some “me time.”

As Introverts, we need our time and space to recharge ourselves. It is fine to stay at home to clean your apartment or room of all the unwanted clutter. In this way, we make sure that our environment is safe and nurturing for us. Similarly, one can go out for a walk or a run. This provides the needed solitude required to recharge, along with the added benefit of releasing endorphins that make you feel great. Do whatever works for you, and make sure that others do not encroach on your “me time.”

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10. Be yourself.

We introverts have feelings and emotions to hide away from everything and everyone around us. Part of the reason might be that we do not like to explain ourselves or our actions to others. However, these are not healthy feelings. At best, they work contribute to ostracizing ourselves from the world. And for most of us, this is not our final aim. Instead, one needs to understand and celebrate the traits that make you an introvert. Sooner rather than later, you should realize that the traits that made you seem out of place earlier are the ones that help you to be successful in life.

Featured photo credit: Mark J Sebastian via flickr.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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