Posts Tagged ‘effectivecommunication’

10 PROLIFIC COMMUNICATE TIPS

It’s difficult for a lot of people to communicate with each other effectively. Unless you’re a recluse, communication is something we all do every day. Perhaps because I’m a motivational speaker, author, and radio host, I can talk ad infinitum. I actually find it enjoyable and relatively easy. Yet there is a significant difference between talking and communicating: talking requires only one person, communication includes at least one additional person. Although everyone may be speaking the same language, it’s not uncommon to become frustrated and angry with each other while dialoguing.
Communication is a skill most of us were not taught as children. Granted, we’ve all learned to assemble words in a coherent manner to convey a thought or make a statement. I politely instruct my husband to put the empty ice cream container in the garbage rather than in the sink yet somehow the package consistently needs my assistance in the morning. Either he doesn’t hear me (I don’t think so) or doesn’t understand my request (I seriously doubt that) or he’s not interested in granting my request (more likely).

Misunderstandings and miscommunication can easily lead to frustration and anger. However, being able to converse effectively involves not only a series of well constructed verbal expressions but equally as important are proficient listening skills. Without both, our levels of tolerance decrease significantly while frustration (a root cause of anger) begins to rise, lending itself to angry outbursts. Here are ten skills that will make communication significantly easier and more rewarding.

1. Customize your style. Readjust your level and style of speaking in such a way that the other party can relate to it. I speak differently to my grandchildren than I do to my children. Likewise, my style of conversing is altered when addressing the CEO of AT&T to discuss an upcoming training I’m about to conduct. Know the other party and adjust your style so that they can more easily relate to you and comprehend your message. Use common terms easily recognizable by the majority.

2. Be crystal clear and detail-specific. Carefully choose words and phrases that are easily understood. Itemize and list every detail to every component of the conversation in a clear, organized, and concise manner. There’s a news commentator that tries to be clever and poetic. I am always at a loss for what he is saying. I feel confused and frustrated when listening to him. When discussing a contract with a new client, I am extremely attentive while explaining my services in great detail so there is no question as to what I will and will not provide. Miscommunication leads to a host of problems including improperly completed tasks, hurt feelings, frustration and anger, lawsuits, missed opportunities and much more.

3. Be brief. When I’m with my best friends, Arlene or Michelle, we can talk for hours. With my husband his attention span is significantly shorter. Each individual has a point at which they lose interest or are unable to process any more information. Be mindful and keep your discussions brief when necessary. This is particularly true during conflict resolution sessions.

4. Non verbal communication speaks volumes. In fact, 85% worth. Make certain your body and mouth are working in harmony with one another. Pay close attention to the other party’s non verbal messages as well. Know when they are engaging with you or not. Pay attention to any indication that they are becoming agitated or disconnecting mentally and make the necessary readjustments.

5. Repeat back to the other person what you think you heard them say. We each hear things through the filters of our life experiences and beliefs. “So, what I heard you say is that you will take the garbage out after you’ve completed your homework?” In that way, I am allowing the other person the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding immediately. Ask questions to gain greater clarity if necessary.

6. Listen with the intent to understand. Too often, while the other person is speaking we are already formulating our response. Carefully digest each word they are saying. Ask questions if necessary to gain further clarity on what they are saying. Pause. Then thoughtfully respond.

7. Be a good listener. Too often, communication results in one person talking at the other rather than with. Listening is an art. Communication is a sharing of thoughts, feelings, and needs between all persons involved. Active listening sends a message to the other party that they matter to you; that what they have to say is important; that you value them and the message they want to convey. Be an engaged listener; don’t interrupt or disconnect. Pay attention and give them ample time to speak.

8. Always speak with kindness and respect. No one needs to earn respect. It is a God-given birth right bestowed upon each of us. Use both kindness and respect generously. They will serve you well. Practice my exclusive Heart/Brain Communication technique: hear with your ears, think with your brain, and feel with your heart (compassion) before responding.

9. Practice polite honesty. Most people prefer that you be honest with them. However, one can be crude and hurtful with their words or thoughtful and sensitive. Consider how your words may impact the other person. Remember, there are multiple ways of saying the same thing. Carefully consider all options and chose the one that is most respectful.

10. Disagree with dignity. Very often when individuals discuss issues it is clear that they each hold different opinions. Remember that your role is not to convince the other party to agree with you nor to prove them wrong. Respect them enough to appreciate their different point of view even though you don’t share it. Acknowledge their position as equally as valid to them as yours is to you. Then move on.

Communication is a skill we all need to master and when accomplished can make our interactions with others much less stressful and far more rewarding. A few simple techniques can make all the difference in the world. We all have enough stress in our lives. Let’s make our conversations with one another a joyful and effortless experience. And throw in a smile for good measure. It regulates your attitude.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

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GOOD L~U~C DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Last week, I spoke before a group of business professionals about dealing with difficult people. It seems that no matter where we are in life, whether at home with our families, in social settings, at work, or just out and about, we encounter challenging and obnoxious people. The first issue we must identify, however, is who the insufferable person is. Look in the mirror. Is the reflection one that others would label demanding, obstinate, stubborn, unmanageable or irritable? While it is not always easy to recognize our own imperfections, it is absolutely critical that we do so first. For if in fact, we are the one who is creating the difficulty, then a simple adjustment on our part can alleviate the problem and enable greater ease and cooperation with others. Remember Ghandi’s words: “I must first be the change I want to see in others.” If you are uncertain as to whether or not the issue is you, ask others for their assessment and input. Then listen open-mindedly to their response.

Having established that you are indeed the thoughtful and cooperative person, you realize that you seem to be a magnet for problematic people. Argumentative, stubborn, demanding, arrogant – whatever the nature of their behaviors – sometimes we are obliged to interact with them and do not have the option of disengaging. In such cases, is there a way we can collaborate with them that will make matters easier for all parties? Absolutely. It just takes a bit of Good L~U~C.

1. Listen. Very often, those who test our limits do so because they feel unimportant and are seeking recognition. Every human being desires to be heard, to have someone willing to listen to what they have to say. Whether it’s an opinion, feelings, sharing a dream or goal, discussing a regret from the past, or any other matter, genuine, undivided, from-the-heart listening sends a powerful message to the other party that they matter.

Time is one of our greatest commodities; it is one of the ways we measure what matters most to us. We make time for the people and activities that hold the greatest importance to us. Taking precious time away from a task, another person or even ourselves in order to hear what someone has to say lets them know that in that instant nothing matters more to us than they do. Being heard validates their worth. (Time is money; time is valuable. Therefore, if I give you my time it’s because you are important to me.) This simple act has unlimited benefits to all parties. It can boost a person’s self-esteem, bond both parties long after the experience is complete, offer an opportunity to practice selfless giving and concern, fosters mutual respect, alleviates stress, depression, anger, frustration, loneliness, feelings of isolation, and more. It hones our communication skills, promotes compassion and empathy, builds healthy relationships, and overall makes both parties feel good.
Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.

2. Understand. In addition to being heard, all humans crave being understood. Listening to learn the facts about a person or issues is a far cry from fully understanding the nature of the matter or how it impacts the other party. Too often, we only listen half-heartedly. Our minds are divided between the person speaking and another interest. We hear their words and may understand intellectually what they are saying. But true understanding goes far beyond that – it also involves empathy, the ability to feel what the other person is experiencing.

In my “15 Minute Conflict Resolution Solution” training that I provide to corporations, I spend a significant amount of time on communication strategies. One of the most profound is something I call “Heart/Brain Communication”. It goes beyond the intellectual understanding of facts and figures and introduces the element of compassion, the ability to feel the feelings of the speaker along with a strong desire to alleviate any suffering they may be experiencing. This brings communication and understanding to a much deeper more personal level. This is what all of us seek.

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying: understanding facts is critically important as well. So often, when people discuss an issue there is clearly a lack of knowing the specifics of what is being said. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, being vague or ambiguous leads to frustration, increased levels of stress, arguing, possible accusations and false judgments, aggravation, yelling, hurt feelings, and ultimately a breakdown in the relationship. Each of these elements leads to a distrust based not on a person’s deceitfulness but on a lack of clear communication masquerading as dishonesty or lies. Listen to understand on a factual level as well as an emotional one.

3. Cooperate and Compromise. When a lack of trust is not forthcoming in a relationship, whether warranted or imagined, people oftentimes become stubborn, arrogant, or difficult as a means of self-protection. Whether protecting their integrity, their feelings, needs, desires or wishes, their opinions or actions, people do so when they don’t feel safe in the other person’s company. By that I mean, they must know unequivocally and believe fully that they will not be ridiculed or criticized, that their well-being is of great importance to the other one, and that they will not be cheated or betrayed but rather treated fairly and with respect. Once a trust is established, they will naturally become more relaxed and cooperative.

One of the easiest and quickest ways of building trust is by being accommodating from the get go. Search for ways of working with them in a supportive role. Offer to be helpful whenever possible. Be willing to peacefully and respectfully negotiate whatever issue is before you agreeing to make whatever adjustments are possible in order to accommodate their needs and desires. Express your concern for their happiness and well-being verbally and follow through in your actions. Remember, too, that trust is built on integrity and promises kept. One indiscretion or broken promise can completely destroy that trust and it can take a long time to rebuild.

Compromise is another important component of cooperation. Again, people can be difficult due to latent fears they harbor that dictate they will not be treated fairly, that somehow their needs will be considered less important than others or hold no value at all. Making sure that their needs are addressed and fulfilled early on alleviates their concerns and the need to resist or to be defensive. “It is in giving that you shall receive.” Give a little upfront and you will receive their respect, trust, and support in return.

Depending on the nature of the relationship and the issues at hand, on some occasions it is perfectly acceptable to simply walk away from the difficult party and let things work themselves out. In other circumstances one must address the individual and find a way of getting along as best as possible. Don’t necessarily take the easy way out but know when it’s best to stay and when it’s best to walk away.

Remember, “The only way to defeat your adversary is by making him your ally. And you can do so with a little Good L~U~C: Listen, Understand, Cooperate and Compromise.” So Good L~U~C to all of you!

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A W-I-S-E APPROACH TO RESOLVING CONFLICTS

In college, one of my philosophy professors would frequently have the class debate a hot topic. He’d randomly divide the class in half and have each side present their best argument in support of their assigned position. Regardless of how you felt personally, you were expected to gather as many facts as possible to present the strongest argument. It was actually quite stimulating as it challenged us to be willing to see the issue from every possible perspective. This lesson has served me well in life as I have always tried to view a subject matter from all sides.
In relationships, disagreement are normal and healthy. They allow us to open our minds to new ways of thinking. In business, brainstorming is a common practice whereby team members contribute every possible idea relating to the project they are collaborating on. Even those suggestions that are deemed unworkable still have value as they oftentimes spark a fresh idea that actually proves to be helpful. In politics, when applied correctly, the opposing sides can actually use their differences to find common ground that will serve the good of the entire country. It’s only when egos get in the way causing people to become fearful, selfish, and closed minded do disagreements cause tempers to flare and a breakdown in the negotiating process to occur.

However, there is a very W~I~S~E approach to resolving conflicts and disagreements with a high degree of success and minimal disappointment to all parties:

W – Wait: wait before you respond. A moment of pause can prevent a lifetime of regret. When the other party presents their position, if it differs from ours or what we were expecting, we can easily become upset or angry. An immediate response can cause an innocent situation to rapidly escalate into an argument.

In my book, The Secret Side of Anger, I teach people to practice the SWaT Strategy: Stop, Walk, Talk. When you find yourself become upset, Stop what you are doing/saying. In that way you can prevent yourself from saying/doing something regrettable. Secondly, Walk away. Out of sight, out of mind. Give yourself some space between you and the other party. Thirdly, Talk yourself calm. What you say to yourself will either cause your emotions to intensify or to subside. Once calm, return to the conversation ready to listen and respond rationally and fairly.

I – Intellect: use your rational brain to think about what is transpiring: the importance of the issue, what each party wants, how each person feels, and what it is that you each want to accomplish with the discussion. Oftentimes, we allow our irrational emotions to control our actions and comments. But emotions cloud rational judgment. It is critical that we remain calm so that our intellectual brain can gather all relevant data, process it, and determine the best possible course of action. Just as emergency responders need to put their feelings on hold in order to deal effectively with the crisis at hand, so must we be willing to do the same. And in doing so, we will make smarter more solution-oriented and all-inclusive choices that benefit all parties.

S – See and Smile: Always try to see things from the perspective of the other party. In this way, you are better able to understand their position and proceed in a more compassionate manner. It is imperative that we truly try to understand where the other person is coming from even if we don’t agree with their way of thinking. All people need and want to be understood and validated. This simple gesture begins laying a foundation of trust that enables both parties to move forward in a fair and timely manner towards a mutually agreed upon solution.

Smile: Did you know that the simple act of smiling releases endorphins in the brain, those feel-good chemicals that enable us to keep a positive attitude? A smile keeps your face friendly and your voice cheerful as well. While this may not sound like a significant gesture, it is in fact a powerful one. Would you not prefer to converse with someone who had a friendly face as opposed to one sporting a scowl?
Smiles are contagious and make us appear more attractive to others. They can lift our mood as well as the moods of those around us and have been shown to lengthen our lives as well. A smile wards off stress which in turn enables us to remain calm and focused. Our bodies relax making us less threatening and more welcoming from a physical perspective. All things considered, a smile is one of the most powerful tools we have in maintaining healthy inviting relationships and getting those differences resolved peacefully.

E – Express: Throughout the entire process, be certain to always express with respect – speak to one another with dignity and reverence at all times. Even those we don’t care for, who can be obstinate or rude, deserve respect. Ironically, many believe that respect must be earned or given to us before we are willing to reciprocate. However, Divine Law dictates otherwise. “Let all that you do be done in love.” “Love one another.” By our very nature, we are perfect beings deserving of respect. The very word respect means “to value”. Our Creator imparted equal worth to each of His sacred children.
One can be passionate, upset, angry, disappointed, or disagree with the other person while still expressing themselves in a respectful manner. I cannot expect others to treat me with regard if I am not first willing to do so for them. Ghandi’s inspiring words remind us to first be the change we want to see in the world. I must be the example of reverence that others may aspire to emulate.

I’ve always admired those who possess the gift of wisdom. Now each of us can be W~I~S~E in how we resolve our differences. If each of us followed these four simple steps, by example we could have a dramatic impact on reducing the amount of anger, fighting, and negativity that occurs in our immediate circles. Gradually, this would impact us on global level as well. Put some good vibrations into the universe by keeping conflict resolution peaceful and productive. Be W~I~S~E and be triumphant.

Q “Speak from the heart. Let all your words be tempered with kindness and in doing so you will garner respect and cooperation from all.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
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