Category: Communication

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Filed under: Attitude, Communication, Good Habits, Professional Development

Many of the smartest people I have known have listened more than they spoke. And many of the strongest people I have known, freely enlist the help of many around them rather than going their difficulties on their own.

Any organization that requests status from team members will regularly notice how reluctant many are to voice their need for help. Ingrained in the American culture and others is a sense of self-reliance dating back as far as the Puritanism that permeated colonial times. There’s a sense that “I am stronger if I don’t need help and weak if I do.”

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Can You Hear Me?

Filed under: Communication, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Skills

I was speechless. Untypically so.

Laryngitis left me with no voice. And the timing was horrible as I was in the middle of an important week of meetings with key customers and influencers. Try as I did, my feeble voice couldn’t break through.

With no choice but to shut up, it was time to be schooled in active listening. With no time spent worrying about what to say next, what clever quip to interject, I was able to soak up the conversation of others—to luxuriate in listening.

Too often in business, conversation becomes a race to get all of our points in before someone else can. Trampling over others to make sure our voice is loudest, our words last to be lasting.

Unfortunately, and too often, the art of listening gets lost when you need it most – when faced with bad news or too many distractions. My pet peeve is the lost opportunity of a sales call, mine included!) Maybe you’ve been here too: “We want to understand all about you, but first, a brief introduction about ourselves.” Fifty minutes later they’re still waxing on about their offerings. And then with ten minutes left, they turn to you saying, “But we need to hear from you.” You try to beat the clock, speaking faster than any human can comprehend. Connection lost, opportunities missed.

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Focus On How You Connect

Filed under: Communication, Focus, Good Habits, Social Impact

We’re not going to eliminate technology from our lives anytime soon. Nor should we. Smart phones and social media expand our universe. We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever. But they also expand our spectrum of attention. In this instance, too much of a good thing can become a distraction, even a false reality – sometimes at the detriment of our relationships.

Spreading ourselves too thin across an ever-growing number of platforms of interaction can weaken our personal bonds. We shouldn’t confuse all of our social media connections with the rich personal world of real-time relationships. Granted, our hyper-connected world – even with people we rarely see or speak with regularly – can offer very valuable sources of information. They expand what you can know: you may find out about a job opening, or get introduced to someone you might date.

But getting lost in a world of too many digital connections can be very unfulfilling and isolating. That’s why when it comes to close personal connections, try to prioritize your communication methods. When possible, make the interaction face to face – especially if you need to discuss something important.

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Make Your Communication Irresistible

Filed under: Communication, Your Career

That’s a rather audacious claim, right? But it’s true. You can make your communications compelling. How? By understanding the difference between “features” and “benefits.”

A simple way to understand the difference is: features are about you and benefits are about the other person. When you communicate with anyone through any medium—face to face, email, phone message, whatever—it’s critical that what you say is focused on the benefits the other person will receive from taking in your message.

Almost every message is an offer of some kind. Here’s a simple example: Imagine that someone is trying to schedule a meeting with you via email. Which is the more compelling offer: that they send you one possibility for the meeting time or several options?

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12 Body Language Tips For Career Success

Filed under: Communication, Your Career

When properly used, body language can be your key to greater success. It can help you develop positive business relationships, influence and motivate the people who report to you, improve productivity, bond with members of your team, and present your ideas with more impact. Here are a dozen tips for using body language to project confidence, credibility, and your personal brand of charisma:

1. Stand tall and take up space. Power, status, and confidence are nonverbally displayed through the use of height and space. Keeping your posture erect, your shoulders back, and your head held high makes you look sure of yourself.

If you stand you will look more powerful and assured to those who are seated. If you move around, the additional space you take up adds to that impression. If you are sitting, you can look more confident by putting both feet flat on the floor, widening your arms away from your body (or hooking one elbow on the back of your chair), and spreading out your belongings on the conference table to claim more territory.

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The Difference Between Passive, Aggressive, and Assertive Communication

Filed under: Communication

Communication breakdowns are a common cause for conflict, and poor communication strategies can lead to rapid escalation. Likewise, effective communication strategies can help you correct these miscommunications to move conflicts quickly towards resolution.

One idea that can help you choose the best communication strategy for the situation comes from what Guy Harris calls the communication continuum.

The continuum runs from passive strategies on the left to aggressive strategies on the right. In passive strategies, you communicate in a way that protects the other person’s interests at the expense of yours. Aggressive strategies represent the other extreme where you communicate in a way that protects your interests at the expense of the other person’s.

Assertive communication strategies lie in the middle. These strategies depend on approaches that protect the interests of both parties in the communication – yours and the other person’s.

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