Posts tagged communication skills
Posts tagged communication skills
1. Try and understand the other person’s perspective. They may just be feeling down, or be having a bad day, or there may be some truth in what they have to say. Don’t write them off, and dismiss them right away - but listen and process what they have to say.
2. Don’t jump to being defensive. Try and learn what you can. But also weigh what they are saying – as they could have got it wrong!
3. Don’t accept criticism from those you don’t respect. They’re view’s not trustworthy – don’t take them seriously.
4. Work on delaying your immediate reaction. Don’t respond right away – work on feeling more detached. That will lessen the emotion so your mind stays in control!
5. Where appropriate … admit that you were wrong as we all make mistakes. It makes you seem more secure as well as more self-confident. Also, it removes the emotions and will calm the person down.
6. Be proud of yourself if you’ve taken a risk. Even if it went badly, it is good that you have tried!
The following top ten tips for nonverbal communication can help you learn to read the nonverbal signals of other people and enhance your own ability to communicate effectively.
1. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Signals
People can communicate information in numerous ways; so pay attention to things like eye contact, gestures, posture, body movements, and tone of voice. All of these signals can convey important information that isn’t put into words. By paying closer attention to other people’s unspoken behaviors, you will improve your own ability to communicate nonverbally.
2. Look for Incongruent Behaviors
If someone’s words do not match their nonverbal behaviors, you should pay careful attention. For example, someone might tell you they are happy while frowning and staring at the ground. Research has shown that when words fail to match up with nonverbal signals, people tend to ignore what has been said and focus instead on unspoken expressions of moods, thoughts, and emotions.
3. Concentrate on Your Tone of Voice When Speaking
Your tone of voice can convey a wealth of information, ranging from enthusiasm to disinterest to anger. Start noticing how your tone of voice affects how others respond to you and try using tone of voice to emphasize ideas that you want to communicate. For example, if you want to show genuine interest in something, express your enthusiasm by using an animated tone of voice.
4. Use Good Eye Contact
When people fail to look others in the eye, it can seem as if they are evading or trying to hide something. On the other hand, too much eye contact can seem confrontational or intimidating. While eye contact is an important part of communication, it’s important to remember that good eye contact does not mean staring fixedly into someone’s eyes. How can you tell how much eye contact is correct? Some communication experts recommend intervals of eye contact lasting four to five seconds.
5. Ask Questions About Nonverbal Signals
If you are confused about another person’s nonverbal signals, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good idea is to repeat back your interpretation of what has been said and ask for clarification. An example of this might be, “So what you are saying is that…”
6. Use Signals to Make Communication More Effective and Meaningful
Remember that verbal and nonverbal communication work together to convey a message. You can improve your spoken communication by using body language that reinforces and supports what you are saying. This can be especially useful when making presentations or when speaking to a large group of people.
7. Look at Signals as a Group
A single gesture can mean any number of things, or maybe even nothing at all. The key to accurately reading nonverbal behavior is to look for groups of signals that reinforce a common point. If you place too much emphasis on just one signal out of many, you might come to an inaccurate conclusion about what a person is trying to communicate.
8. Consider Context
When you are communicating with others, always consider the situation and the context in which the communication occurs. Some situations require more formal behaviors that might be interpreted very differently in any other setting. Consider whether or not nonverbal behaviors are appropriate for the context. If you are trying to improve your own nonverbal communication, concentrate on ways to make your signals match the level of formality necessitated by the situation.
9. Be Aware That Signals Can be Misread
According to some, a firm handshake indicates a strong personality while a weak handshake is taken as a lack of fortitude. This example illustrates an important point about the possibility of misreading nonverbal signals. A limp handshake might actually indicate something else entirely, such as arthritis. Always remember to look for groups of behavior. A person’s overall demeanor is far more telling than a single gesture viewed in isolation.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
Some people just seem to have a knack for using nonverbal communication effectively and correctly interpreting signals from others. These people are often described as being able to “read people.” In reality, you can build this skill by paying careful attention to nonverbal behavior and practicing different types of nonverbal communication with others. By noticing nonverbal behavior and practicing your own skills, you can dramatically improve your communication abilities.
1. Resist the urge to be defensive. Understand very clearly that you cannot beat these kinds of people; they’re called “impossible” for a reason.
2. Accept the situation. Impossible people exist; there’s nothing you can do about it. You just need to find a way to deal with them.
3. Do not call out an impossible person. Bluntly stating the problem will not improve your relationship with them. Instead of reaching a place of reconciliation, he or she is likely become even more difficult.
4. Understand that it’s not you, it’s them. This can be surprisingly difficult, considering that impossible people specialise in shifting the blame.
5. "Detach, disassociate and diffuse." Staying calm in the heat of the moment is paramount to your personal preservation. Remove yourself from the situation and treat it with indifference.
6. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of getting angry. Chances are that anything you do or say while angry will be used against you in the future. So, do what you can to stay cool and in control.
7. Don’t get cornered. Avoid one-on-ones with this type of person. If possible, try and only deal with them in when others are around.
Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Impossible-People (Abridged)
1. “I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.” This lets the person know your plate is full at the moment.
2. “Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at X time?” This lets the person know it’s not a good time. However, you also convey your desire to help by suggesting another time (at your convenience). This way, the person doesn’t feel blown off.
3. “I’d love to do this, but …” This is a gentle way of saying no. It’s encouraging as it lets the person know you like the idea but I can’t take part due to other reasons, such as prior commitments.
4. “Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.”
This is more like a “Maybe” than a straight out “No”. If you are interested but you don’t want to say ‘yes’ just yet, use this.
5. “This doesn’t fit with what I’m looking for now - but I’ll keep you in mind.” Sometimes it is just best to turn the person/ offer down. Otherwise, the discussion can drag on and on.
6. “I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?” Again, sometimes it is best to say you’re the wrong person to help etc. If possible, refer them to a lead they can follow-up on instead.
7. “No, I can’t.” The simplest and most direct way to say no.
Source: http://zenhabits.net/say-no/ (Abridged)
Tip #1: Don’t engage in the negativity: The first time you talk with a negative individual, provide a listening ear and offer help if needed. However, be sure to draw a line somewhere. If he/she goes into a negative swirl, let him/her continue, but don’t engage in the negativity.
Tip #2: Hang out in groups: Speaking to a negative person can be extremely draining so try have someone else around as well. Another plus point of having someone else around is that people bring out a different side to an individual. Thus, it may bring out a more positive side in the negative person.
Tip #3: Objectify the comments made: Negative people can be quite critical. They tend to drop insensitive comments that are hurtful, especially if they are directed at you. Rather than take his/her words personally, recognize that he/she is just offering a point of view. Sieve out the underlying message and see if there is anything you can learn from what he/she said.
Tip #4: Go with lighter topics: Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. If that happens, bring in a new topic to lighten the mood. Also, keep it to areas the person feels positive towards.
Tip #5: Watch the amount of time you spend with them: As Jim Rohn puts it – “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. What this quote means is that who you spend your time with has an impact on the person you eventually become.
Tip #6: Identify areas you can make a positive change: Often negative people are negative because they lack love, positivity and warmth. Think about what’s bothering the person at the moment, and think about how you can help him/her in your own way. The key here is to be sincere in your desire to help, and to show him/her the upsides in life.
Tip #7: Drop them from your life: If all else fails, reduce contact with them or drop them from your life. Rather than spend your time with negative people, focus on the positive people instead. Remember that your life is yours to lead, and it’s up to you how you want it to be.
Source: http://zenhabits.net/negative/ (Abridged)
1. Pay attention to the way you react to others. Are you quick to form judgments before hearing all the facts? Do you tend to stereotype people? Try and stand back and analyse your interactions with other people. Is there anything you should change, or do differently? Try putting yourself in their place, and thinking about their outlooks, opinions and needs.
2. What are you like at work or school? Do you try to get attention and be noticed for your successes? It is possible to be humble and self-confident at the same time. When you are humble, you focus on the successes of others. However, you’re also aware of your gifts and strengths, and are quietly confident about your abilities to work well, do a good job, and achieve success.
3. Be open to admitting you may have some weaknesses! All of us have areas we could work on, and improve. Admitting you’re not perfect is not the same as feeling as if you’re a failure. Do an honest self-evaluation and try to turn your weaknesses into strengths?
4. Look at the way your deal with stress, and how you react to stressful situations. Do you get annoyed and upset every time there’s a delay or your plans get frustrated? Do you take the role of victim and start blaming others? Being able to regulate your emotions and stay calm and composed in tough situations is a mark of high emotional intelligence. This is key for succeeding in relationships, at school and in the business world.
5. Be willing to accept responsibility for your actions. If you’ve hurt or upset someone, then admit it to yourself and apologise. Don’t just ignore or avoid the situation. Most people will respect you if you apologise – but you’ll lose respect if you act like nothing`s wrong.
6. Finally, always think about how your actions and words will affect other people. Is it going to make life easy or difficult for them? How would you feel if you were in their place? Then adapt and compromise so that everybody wins.
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. Don’t interrupt. Let the speaker finish what they are saying – and at a speed that is comfortable for them – before formulating your own response.
2. Give the speaker your full and undivided attention. Ignore what is happening around you and block out distracting noises.
3. Pay attention to your own internal dialogue, and don’t allow your mind to wander. This is not the time for you to be judging or mentally criticising the speaker, or to be thinking about all the items on your to-do list for the day. Focus on what is being said, the tone of voice, and the body language of the speaker.
4. Pay attention to your own body language. Ask yourself: what kind of vibes am I giving off? What kind of message am I sending? The emphasis should be on looking and sounding concerned, interested, focused, accepting and genuine.
5. Be comfortable with silence. Often silence encourages the person to say more. Also, we don’t need to have an answer to every question, or a solution to every problem. Most of the time it’s presence and empathy that count the most.
6. Don’t get drawn into playing the game of “I have it so much worse than you; or my problem is bigger than yours.” In this situation, you are there for them. They are the focus and priority right now.
1. Be sensitive to body space. Don’t stand too far away from the person, or fold your arms across your chest. That sends the message “I don’t want to get close”. At the same time, don’t invade the person’s space – as standing too close is highly threatening.
2. Maintain steady but soft eye contact. If you avert your gaze that says you’re insecure; but staring for too long is intimidating. Eye contact should be confident and comfortable.
3. Invite the other person into your thought processes. Share your ideas, and think aloud. Also, welcome their comments – and don’t just brush them off.
4. Watch out for quick and stilted body movements as those create discomfort in relationships. Instead, run your hand through your hair, or use your hands when you talk as that creates a more dynamic interaction.
5. Related to this, minimise distracting movements like biting your nails as those usually turn the other person off.
6. Speak slowly and clearly in a varied and interesting voice.
7. Express emotions through your face as that makes you seem much more genuine.
8. Match your pace to the other person’s pace. If they are slow and hesitant then slow your pace down; if they are quick and lively then try and match that pace.
1. Exhibit integrity – A person is said to have integrity if what they say and what they do are rooted in the same set of core values.
2. Don’t speak badly of others – If you speak badly about others to a friend, the chances are you’ll also speak badly about them. Hence, they are likely to be hesitant in what they share with you.
3. Be an optimist – This doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand. It means choosing not to dwell on the negatives, and actively looking for the positives.
4. Make the effort to be helpful – Life is so much sweeter if you’re thoughtful and kind – and we rarely forget someone who’s caring and warm.
5. Set some goals and have some ambition - This is an extremely contagious quality. Not only will you achieve higher goals for yourself, you’ll give hope to others, and inspire them to try.
6. Seek to be compassionate and understanding – All of us face battles and experience hard times. Empathising with others when life is tough helps to ease their burden and renew their inner spark.
7. Believe in, love and respect yourself - If you don’t accept, respect and love yourself, then you’ll send out vibes that you’re inadequate. However, it you love, believe in and treat yourself well then it’s likely that others will treat you that way, too.
8. Persist until you succeed – Although ambition is important, it is not enough. You have to persevere if you’re going to succeed. So when you stumble or fall down just get up and start again. Then keep on going till you finally succeed.
9. Be open minded and willing to learn - If you’re closed in your thinking and set in your ways then you’ll never discover a different, better way .. and you’ll close yourself off to other possibilities.
10. Take responsibility for your life - Blaming others for your problems, or acting like a victim won’t help you to move forwards, and have the life you want. Take control of your destiny. Success is up to you.
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.