Posts tagged communication
Posts tagged communication
Being good at making small talk is a crucial life skill, and is key for making a positive impression. Some tips to help you with this include:
1. Go prepared when you’re meeting new people, or when you have to attend a social event. Think about some topics you can talk about with others (and that will depend on the people you are meeting). Prepare some general questions to get others talking (For example, what are they doing for the holidays; or what good movies have they seen recently?) Also, if you’ve met some of the people at a previous event, try to remember a few things about them (such as what are their main interests, or where do they work?)
2. Most people feel uncomfortable when meeting someone new so be the first person to say “hello.” If you’re not sure if the person will remember you, help put them at their ease by saying who you are.
3. Don’t rush introductions. Focus hard on remembering the names of those you meet, and use them often to fix them in your mind.
4. Help the other person talk by opening up the conversation with open-ended questions that asks for more details. For example, “Isn’t this a great party! How do you know (the host)?”
5. Pay careful attention to what the person’s saying; don’t allow your mind to drift or to start to wander off. Eye contact should be steady – so don’t glance to the side.
6. Make sure you listen more than you talk to someone new.
7. Work on having something relevant and interesting to say. Know what’s going on and making headlines in the news. These can help to open up a conversation. (For example, you can lead with a comment like “What do you think about…?” Have you heard…?” What is your take on…?”
8. Avoid controversial and negative topics; also, refrain from boring stories that have too many details. It’s meant to be a casual, light and easy conversation.
9. Pay attention to your body language. If you act as if you’re comfortable and confident, that will put the people around you at ease, too. However, if you look shy, awkward and uncomfortable, that will rub off on the people you are socialising with.
10. Before you join a conversation that’s already in progress, first stand on the sidelines and listen carefully. Don’t squeeze your way in with a badly-timed remark.
Starting a conversation to get to know someone or breaking an awkward silence can be very stressful. To start a conversation when you have nothing to talk about, use these guidelines.
1. Introduce yourself if necessary. If you don’t know the person, breaking the ice is very simple: look approachable, tell the new person your name, offer your hand to shake, and smile.
2. Comment on the location or occasion. Look around and see if there is anything worth pointing out. Examples of location or occasion comments include: “This is a gorgeous room!”, or “Great dog!”
3. Ask an open-ended question. Most people love to talk about themselves, and open questions can help with this. These require an explanation for an answer rather than just a simple yes or no. Open questions tend to begin with who, when, what, why, where, and how.
4. Keep the conversation going with small talk. This keeps the conversation light and simple, and helps to establish similarities.
5. Synchronize. Once the other person has started talking, follow his or her cues to keep the conversation going smoothly. Use active listening to reflect what they’re saying and, perhaps, feeling.
6. Helpful techniques and cues to convey your interest include: Say the other person’s name from time to time; give encouraging feedback (by nodding, saying “ah-ha”, “wow’, “oh” “That’s amazing!”, etc.); keep your body language open and welcoming; and make comfortable, genuine eye contact with the person.
7. Be aware of your internal monologue. When you suddenly feel that you’re not able to engage in conversation with someone else, it’s likely that you’re saying negative things to yourself. For example, you may be worrying that you’re boring, not good enough, too unimportant, intruding, wasting their time, and so on. Try to keep in mind that everyone has these self-doubts from time to time.
8. Respond thoughtfully to someone who remains awkward or uncomfortable. If he or she appears withdrawn and uninterested, don’t persist for too long. Try a bit more, and then make the decision to move on and talk to somebody else. Also, be careful not to ask too many questions as they may feel shy discussing themselves.
1. Listen carefully when others are speaking. Keep your mouth shut – and focus totally on them.
2. Never, ever talk over other people. This is disrespectful – and a real turn off.
3. Even if the person leaves an hour between each word, resist the temptation to complete their sentence for them.
4. Don’t interrupt - let the other person finish. Then, acknowledge what they’ve shared before adding your own thoughts.
5. Paraphrase or summarise what’s just been shared. It shows that you have listened – and are keen to understand.
6. Maintain good eye contact as this says you’re interested, and the speaker and their story are important to you.
Below are some suggestions for helping couples to effectively resolve disagreements and conflicts:
1. Ensure the relationship remains your top priority. Don’t prioritise your desire “to be right”, or to be the person who has the last word.
2. It is draining and disheartening to argue all the time. Thus, instead of arguing over every little thing, be highly selective and “choose your battles”.
3. Accept that disagreements are a part of life – but limit how much time you invest in them. Set aside a day and time to discuss emotive issues - and then agree to “get on with the rest of life”.
4. When addressing a conflict, ensure each individual has the chance to speak without interruption. Their partner listens carefully and then reflects back what they heard the other saying - without commenting on this, or adding their opinion or own point of view. The roles are then reversed and the other gets to speak.
5. The dividing issue must be clearly defined in concrete, specific and reasonable language. For example, avoid general phrases that are likely to enrage, like “You always …” or “you never …”
6. Only address one issue at a time, and don’t refer back to previous arguments, buried resentments or old grievances.
7. Do not attack your partner, or “tag all the blame” on one individual, and them alone. Instead, each should be open to accept they have a role in both the problem and, also, the solution.
8. Feelings should be expressed verbally; they should not be acted out.
9. Whenever possible, aim to arrive at a win-win solution so both feel they’ve benefited in some way from being willing to negotiate their differences.
10. Accept that there are times when it is simply best to agree to disagree – and then move on with the rest of life.
The 5 key components of Emotional Intelligence are:
1. Self-Awareness – People who score highly on emotional intelligence are described as being high in self-awareness. They know what they are feeling and why; they know what triggers their emotions and what their instinctive response is likely to be. This self-understanding puts them in control, so they choose their responses – and aren’t ruled by their passions. People who are high in self-awareness can take an honest and objective look at themselves. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they use this knowledge to get the most out of life.
2. Self-Regulation – This is the ability to manage your emotions and to take control of your impulses. People who are strong in this area rarely demonstrate poor judgment, make impulsive decisions, or are gripped by out of control emotions (such as being overwhelmingly jealous, or experiencing fits of rage). Instead, they are able to think before they speak or act. They also have the ability to say no to themselves and others.
3. Motivation – Self motivation is another trait associated with high emotional intelligence. It means loving a challenge, and being able to push through obstacles and difficulties to achieve a goal that is important to you. Highly motivated individuals are able to sacrifice immediate satisfaction for the purpose of achieving long-term success. They’re highly productive and are generally effective at whatever they do.
4. Empathy – This is being able to walk in another person’s shoes and to see the world from their perspective. Empathic individuals have excellent people skills. They are good at recognising and being sensitive to the feelings and viewpoints of others. They are good listeners; they don’t box and stereotype people; and are good at managing relationships. They are experienced as being honest, open and real.
5. Social Skills – People with good social skills are easy to talk to. You feel good around them as they listen well, give you their full and undivided attention, and are interested in you and your opinions. They are excellent team players as they help others shine, and their focus is on other people’s talents and strengths. In addition to this, they tend to be good communicators and negotiators.
1. Recognise that, generally speaking, men and women have different communication styles: This is partly due to different wiring in their brains. Hence, women are wired to remember details and bring up everything when discussing an issue. However, men find this completely overwhelming and prefer to stick to the topic being discussed. They’re usually drained by moaning sessions – which other female friends will almost always enjoy.
2: Don’t bury everything – be real about your feelings: Most relationships are better if you’re honest and real. That is, you don’t become resentful if you say what’s on your mind. Also, you keep things in proportion as they’re dealt with early on. This builds a sense of trust because you feel you can be you – and not just pretend that everything’s always OK.
3. Communicate in a way that’s not accusatory or blaming: This requires
(i) Listening well to the other person (reflect back the content of what they’ve just shared, and the emotions attached to it).
(ii) Speaking in terms of facts. For example, “I feel bad when you arrange something with your friends (fact) without telling me (fact).
(iii) Remembering to include something you appreciate about your partner. As a general rule, any negative comment should be sandwiched between two positive ones.
(iv) Reframe complaints as requests. For example, you could say something like “If I pick up the cinema tickets will you sort out the meal?”
(v) Shift from attack to wonder. Rather than jumping to conclusions and attacking your partner (eg, “You always/ you never …”), say something like (“I wonder if there’s a better way to deal with this … What do you think would help?”)
4. Remember that both partners need to feel as if they’re getting what they want (at least to some degree) for the relationship to work: One well-known writer on relationships summarises the skills for this as follows:
(i) Ask for what you want. It’s a fact that most people don’t directly ask for what they want as they don’t expect to get it. But that leaves the other person assuming and guessing.
(ii) Give your partner what you want from them (model it). For example, if you want them to be interested in your day, ask about their day.
(iii) Learn to negotiate. All good relationships involve both give and take.
(iv) Learn to be flexible and adaptable – It’s not only and always about you. (But nor is it always and only about them).
1. Work on remembering peoples’ names.
2. Make an effort to stay in touch with people – even if it’s only “liking” an occasional photo on facebook, sending a 2 line email, or sending a Christmas card.
3. Develop and improve your listening skills. This includes not interrupting when others are speaking, not trying to control the conversation, and showing a respectful, genuine interest in the speaker.
4. Hold the door for others, and let others out first (in elevators, on trains and buses etc.)
5. When you’re writing an email, keep it brief and to the point. Nobody wants to read a long, boring essay.
6. Keep your voice down when you’re talking on your phone. No-one wants to hear your private conversations (and especially when you’re travelling on public transport).
7. Show a genuine interest in the passions of others. Ask lots of open questions, and find out what you can about their hobbies and interests.
8. When someone joins a conversation you’re involved it, include them right away, and try to bring them up to speed.
9. Don’t be a whiner or find fault with everything. Instead, being affirming, optimistic, and try and find the positives.
10. Be tolerant and patient with other people, and do what you can to accept them as they are.
11. Don’t go on and on – so other people fall asleep, begin to feel annoyed or want to run and hide from you.
12. Don’t argue back aggressively, or try to pick a fight, if you disagree with someone – even if you know they’re wrong.
1. When you smile at others you send the message that you are at ease with yourself and at ease with other people.
2. In a work situation, a smile says you’re flexible, competent, intelligent and able to cope with challenges.
3. People who smile are also believed to be honest, trustworthy and reliable.
4. A large smile says that you are an open and accepting individual.
5. A genuine smile is one where the skin around your eyes bunches up. This is one of the best ways of winning friends (as it says that you are warm, non-judgmental and approachable.)
6. However, a fake smile (where you smile with your mouth but not your eyes) is a sign that you are suppressing your emotions. A fake smile is usually regarded with suspicion, and causes people to back off and conceal their true self from you.
Circular Conversations are arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns, with no real resolution. Usually both parties take opposing positions over an issue, dig in and reiterate the merits of their position until one (or both) of them becomes exhausted and stops communicating. Circular conversations can last hours, days, weeks, months, years, even a lifetime.
Often, the argument begins over something superficial. For example, it may be about who should say “I’m sorry”. The reason these become circular arguments is that the issue expressed often represents an underlying feeling, such as “I feel disrespected”, “I feel hurt” or “I feel afraid”. When we argue, we are often trying to communicate feelings but, because of the tension in the air and, because the other person is not validating our position, we often feel too vulnerable to express our feelings. Instead, we tend to represent our feelings in the form of a position, an issue or an event such as “You lied to me”, or “You’re being insensitive”.
Coping With Circular Conversations - What NOT to do:
· Don’t repeat anything you have already said once.
· Don’t explain or respond to a question that you have already answered.
· Don’t engage in aggressive acts such as slamming doors or storming out.
· Don’t try to get the last word.
· Don’t wait for your feelings to be validated.
· Don’t try to change the other person’s mind. Their thoughts and beliefs and feelings are their own property.
· Don’t try to manipulate the other person’s feelings. Don’t try to make them feel guilt, remorse, sympathy etc.
· Don’t spend time describing the other person’s behavior, feelings or actions. Focus on describing your own needs and feelings.
· Don’t insist on agreement or consensus before the conversation can end. It’s normal and healthy for two people to arrive at disagreement, different conclusions and different interpretations of the same events.
What TO Do:
· Recognize the pattern. Acknowledge that you are in a conversation that is just going around and around.
· Accept that feelings aren’t inherently good or bad - they just are. You can’t control the way you feel, neither can the other person. The way you feel is just a natural reaction to what you are experiencing.
· Switch from stating facts to stating feelings. Describe your own feelings not the other person’s. Don’t say “I feel like you are lying”. That is not a feeling. That is an opinion. Say “I feel scared” or “I feel hurt”. You don’t have to say why, just say it. The wonderful thing about stating your feelings is that nobody can contradict you, although people might try. Nobody knows or owns your feelings except you.
· End the conversation, calmly and with your dignity intact. If you like, you can say, “I need a break” or “Let’s discuss this later” and end it there.
· Get out of the way.
· If you can do that, you can break the cycle.
1. Project an impression of openness: The number one key to appearing warm and friendly is projecting an aura of openness. This is usually achieved by using open body language - which basically involves the following:
· Don’t cross your arms; allow them to hang naturally at your sides.
· Similarly, if you’re sitting down, keep your legs stretched out and uncrossed.
· Lean forward to show an interest in the other person.
· Stand up straight; don’t slouch.
· Smile (that helps to put both you and the other person at ease).
2. Pay attention to eye contact: Making good eye contact is essential as well. It indicates you’re happy to be talking to that person, are comfortable and confident, with nothing much to hide. However, if someone won’t meet our eye, it makes them seem a bit more shady (or it can simply send the message that you lack confidence.) Also, try to be natural and don’t stare at the person, as they’ll feel uncomfortable and want to escape.
3. Adjust your signals to the other person’s signals: An astute individual is also aware of, and can read the body language, of other people too. For example, if their non-verbal language seems quite closed and defensive, you may need to back off and give the person space.
4. Engage in Conversation: To create a great impression, you really want the other person to pick up the message that you think they’re wonderful! The best way to do that is to ask them open questions – so you find out all about them, and the things that interest them. For example, what kinds of things are they passionate about? What are their hopes and their dreams for the future? Then respond to their answers with other open questions - to build a fuller picture of what that person’s like.
Playful communication is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships exciting, fresh, and vital. Laughter and play enrich your interactions and give your relationships that extra zing that keeps them interesting, light, and enjoyable. This shared pleasure creates a sense of intimacy and connection—qualities that define solid, lasting relationships.
People are attracted to happy, funny individuals. Laughter draws others to you and keeps them by your side. When you laugh with one another, a positive bond is created. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain to smile and join in on the fun.
Playful communication helps you:
· Connect to others. Your health and happiness depend, to a large degree, on the quality of your relationships—and laughter binds people together.
· Smooth over differences. Using gentle humor often helps you broach sensitive subjects, resolve disagreements, and reframe problems.
· Feel relaxed and energized at the same time. Laughter relieves fatigue and relaxes your body, while also recharging your batteries and helping you accomplish more.
· Overcome problems and setbacks. A sense of humor is the key to resilience. It helps you take hardships in stride, weather disappointment, and bounce back from adversity and loss.
· Put things into perspective. Most situations are not as bleak as they appear to be when looked at from a playful and humorous point of view.
· Be more creative. Humor and playfulness loosen you up, energizing thinking and inspiring creative problem solving.
Blue: Makes the people around you feel at ease. Dark blues are great for interviews and lighter blues for parties and social events.
Red: The colour we associate with passion. Research conducted by the University of Rochester found that men were more attracted to, and turned on by, women who wearing ruby red clothing. Again, this is great for parties – but not always at work.
Purple: This brings out our creativity, and is associated with self confidence, independent thinking and class. Purple is appropriate on almost any occasion.
Black: Conveys authority, so that people see you as being powerful, confident and competent. It is the colour of choice of authority figures (like the police), or for stylists, trend setters and icons.
Orange: This luscious, exuberant colour sends the message that the wearer is friendly, sociable, relaxed, and approachable. It’s great for social events – but not for important business meetings.
Green: This is the colour of happiness and contentment. It can be an instant mood changer, putting others around you at their ease. It is great for all occasions, and can be worn in both the daytime and the evening.
No matter how much you want to get along with others, and regardless of how patient and relaxed you are, you are going to meet people who will want to wreck your day. That may not be a problem if it’s just a chance encounter, but what if they’re a colleague, or they’re in your family?
If that’s the case for you, then the following suggestions might help you keep your cool, so you retain the upper hand:
1. Avoid touchy topics that can stir strong emotions such as politics, money or past hurts and grievances. Be alert to any hooks designed to draw you in – and quickly change the subject to one that is more neutral.
2. Recognise that you’re never going to change that person. They’re happy as they are – and like their personality. So if you try to change their mind or to argue your case, they’ll just become defensive, and fight back even more. You’re the stronger person if you can stay detached and don’t need to argue, or to prove that you are right.
3. You have the power to change your own response to that person, if you’re being bullied, criticised or pushed around. You can learn to be assertive and establish healthy boundaries that require you be treated with respect and dignity.
4. Try and look for their positive, attractive attributes. If you can focus on them, it will help you gain perspective.
5. Be realistic, too, and don’t ignore the negatives. Don’t expect a mean person to be nice to you, or look for warmth and friendship from a jealous individual.
6. We all need acceptance, affirmation and support. Make sure you have some friends who are kind and understanding, make you laugh and smile, and are reliable and loyal. Those will help you stay detached, so you are less affected by the games and tactics of dysfunctional people.
7. Sometimes a bit of distance or sparse contact is the answer. Know when you’ve had enough - and it is time to walk away.
If you have a true friend then you are blessed indeed. A trusted friend is a priceless gift –and something that’s not easy to find or keep. The marks of true friend are summarised below.
1. They tackle problems with you. A true friend is someone who can see through your smile and can tell when you’re in pain by the look in your eyes. They totally accept you and will always be there.
2. They give, and don’t just take, from the relationship. A good relationship is a negotiated one. It’s based on give and take – and thinking of each other.
3. They make time for each other. True friends always value the time they spend together; and though their lives are busy, they make time to stay in touch.
4. They communicate well. This is at the heart of any good relationship. It means that both the people are open and real so problems don’t get buried - but are dealt with right away.
5. They accept each other unconditionally. True friends accept each other as they are – warts and all. They are free to be themselves, and are free to change and grow. They don’t control each other, or judge and criticise.
6. They believe in each other. A true friend feels your passion and can visualise your dream. They believe that you can do it, and will cheer you the whole way.
7. They listen carefully, and aren’t quick to give advice. We don’t need advice; we simply want a listening ear. That is, someone we can vent to, and then move on with life.
8. They are loyal and dependable. Your word is your bond when you’re a trusted, faithful friend. You never share a secret or breach that sense of trust.