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September 2010

10 ways to communicate effectively

effective communication()   



While reading SmartCEO.com (I'm no CEO, but, hey, you never know what someday will bring!), I came across a great article on communication featuring excellent tips on how to communicate better with others. Personally, communication is something I sometimes struggle with and, therefore, it's one of my favorite topics to learn more about. I'm always striving to develop myself personally and if I know I can work on my communication, that's something I'm going to focus on. I believe communication is key to living a positive life and, for that reason, it's essential that we all work on communicating as effectively as we can. In order to help myself (and you!) communicate more effectively, I'm going to share the tips I read with you today and add a little bit of my own insight to them. Since I'm always looking for new and improved ways to do things, I'd love it if you could share in the comments section any tricks or tips for communicating effectively that you've come across. Also feel free to weigh in on the communication ideas I'll be discussing below!


10 Ways to Communicate Effectively

  1. Pause before responding. I don't know about you, but I'm often in a rush for something and whenever I'm trying to communicate, I'm usually trying to do so quickly. As hard as it is for me to just pause sometimes, I've actually found that it works wonders when it comes to communicating more effectively with others. Sometimes just that tiny break, giving you time to think, is just what you need to really understand what someone else has said or to formulate the thoughts you really want to convey.

  2. Be trustworthy and honest. When you're trustworthy and honest, communication becomes a lot less complicated. You don't have to think about what you're going to say wrong and you don't have to worry about uncovering a secret or a dishonest statement. If you remain open, honest, and worth of trust, you'll have a much easier time communicating with others and others will be a lot more willing to communicate with you. Words like "trustworthy" and "honest" are thrown around a lot, but they really are valuable and they are particularly important when it comes to communication.

  3. Don't rush communication. This goes back to the point that came up in #1. When you're rushing and trying to get through your communication quickly that's when things can go wrong. Often when we're in a rush, we forget things or misplace things and the same goes for when we're rushing through any type of communication. So next time you find yourself communicating with someone else, slow down and really pay attention. Taking just a little extra time could end up making a huge difference.

  4. Adapt your ideas to others. When we come up with an idea, we often have a set image of it in our minds and that image isn't always easily conveyed to others. If you really want your ideas to be heard, you have to work with the person you're speaking to and find a way to communicate that idea in a way s/he will understand. This means you have to take the time to get to know your audience if you really, truly want to be able to communicate with them effectively.

  5. Stay in the moment. You know I love this one! When you devote your full attention to the person or people you are communicating with, you're more likely to have much better results. I know for a fact that's very, very true. Whenever I've gotten distracted and stopped paying attention to the person I'm communicating with, the communication as quickly gone south. If you want to communicate your thoughts effectively, you have to stay in the present moment and really be there when you're speaking and listening.

  6. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. This is essential when it comes to effective communication. So much of what we say is actually not said, and if you want to understand what others are really thinking or saying you have to do more than just listen. You have to look and experience too. It's very easy to say something and not really feel it so it's very important that, when communicating, you look both at your own non-verbal cues and those others are sending you. There's a lot to be said for what's not really being said.

  7. Intend to understand. This idea comes from Stephen Covey and focuses on the concept of listening to actually understand what is being said, rather than listening just to respond with what you want to say. This can be a tricky thing to do if you're anything like me, always ready to respond with your own opinion. Too often we're not really trying to understand what others are saying but instead are trying to find a way to jump from their points to our own. Next time you're communicating, do what you can to really work on understanding what others are saying.

  8. Be patient and open-minded. Communication, even the easiest of communication, can be tough at times, which is why it's so very important to be both patient and open-minded in your interactions with others. Recognize that you might not necessarily be communicating as effectively as you'd like and remember to also be patient with yourself. No matter what the situation, there is a way to communicate -- sometimes it just takes time. Be patient and keep your mind open for new ways of sharing and understanding.

  9. Follow up after communicating. To often we assume that whatever we've attempted to communicate was received just the way we sent it and, unfortunately, more often than not that's just not the case. If you're communicating with someone (especially if it's important!), make sure that you follow up after you've communicated. Assuming that your message was heard and understand is a big no-no in the effective communication world. No matter how obvious your message might seem, it never hurts to follow up!

  10.  

  11. Ask for feedback from others. When it's all said and done, one of the best ways you can learn to communicate more effectively (particularly with specific individuals) is to ask for feedback. Take some time to speak to those who you communicate with frequently to find out how you can improve on your communication with them. Sometimes all it takes is a few suggestions and you'll be on the road to creating a better understanding with someone else. It's not always easy to ask for feedback, but it's worth it!



Communication can be tricky at times (especially if you're in a situation where you need to communicate difficult topics or discuss hard-to-grasp ideas). There are many ways communication can be made ineffective and it's all too easy to let effective communication skills slip through the cracks. However, if you really want to make the most of your life and you want to continually strive to improve your relationships with others (and with yourself!), you must stay on top of your communicating game. Pay attention to how you communicate with others and also pay attention to how others communicate with you. You may have learned a thing or two from this post, but you can always learn more and one of the best ways to learn is by observing and then taking action. So pay attention to what's going on around you and what choices you're making when it comes to communicating with others; being more aware will help you be more proactive in your effective communication efforts. Now go on -- get out there and communicate!


How to you strive to communicate effectively with others?
What aspects of communication do you struggle with?
How do you work on those aspects? 


stay-positive-book


Wondering how you can stay positive and present on a daily basis? Check out my book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, filled with daily tips, advice, and inspiration for making the most of every day. Stay Positive is available in Paperback and PDF. Learn more about the book (and watch the video!) at StayPositive365.com


words to live by: sound of sunshine

 

sound of sunshine
 (   )

 

Some days you lose, some you win

And the water's as high as the tides roll in

So I jump back in where I learned to swim

Try to keep my head above it the best I can

That's why....Here I am

Just waitin' for the storm to pass me by

And that's the sound of sunshine comin' down

And that's the sound of sunshine comin' down 

 

 



Michael Franti & Spearhead
"The Sound of Sunshine"

 


 



"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter


want to achieve personal excellence? read this!


   personal excellence

( )


On Positively Present, I'm often recommending books and e-books to check out because, as an avid reader, I'm always looking for new things to read and I hope to help others find great new material with these posts. I almost always give the books I review on the site a positive recommendation because, if I read a book I don't like, I'm not going to waste your time writing about it so you can read about why not to read it. Recently, I was given a copy of Celestine Chua's The Personal Excellence Book: Your Handbook to Live Your Best Life and I am in awe of all the great contact Celes has been able to gather for the 700+ page book. I've been reading Celes' blog, The Personal Excellence Blog, for some time now (in fact, it was one of the first blogs I ever read!) and I've always been thrilled to find great, inspiring content there. Therefore, it was no big surprise when I read her book and realized that it too was filled with wonderful wisdom and inspiring advice -- but I had no idea just how much great content could be fit into one e-book! 

The e-book features 120 articles grouped into nine key categories of personal growth: 
 

  • Purpose & Meaning, 
  • Awareness & Growth, 
  • Passion & Dreams, 
  • Goals & Success, 
  • Cultivating Life Transforming Habits, 
  • Emotional Mastery, 
  • People Skills/Relationships, 
  • Maximizing Productivity and 
  • Inspirational Quotes. 


Clearly, a lot of very important topics are covered in these sections. It might seem like a lot of heavy stuff to cover in one book, but you won't be disappointed with the quality of information Celes provides here. (Not to mention, the extensive collection of quotes, which I found incredibly inspiring.) No matter who are you are or what you're looking for in terms of personal development, I guarantee you'll find a something in this e-book that helps to make your world a better place. As Celes writes in her introduction (and I completely agree with!), "You'll find this book a critical tool in your journey of growth." If you're interested in growing your self personally and achieving the personal excellence you know you deserve, this is absolutely the e-book for you. It's a nearly 800 page volume of work that Celes has spent countless hours writing and creating and it's an amazing resource for anyone interested in cultivating personal excellence in his/her own life. 

Though I can honestly say that each section of Celes' book provides valuable content, there is one article in particular that stuck with me. "Dealing with Energy Vampires," found in the People & Relationships section of the book, addresses how to deal with negative people in our lives, the people that suck the positive energy from us (sometimes on a daily basis!). Celes writes, "Negative people tend to leave others around them drained, tired and lethargic. No matter what you try to say, they always seem to find a way to counter with a negative opinion of sorts. When they face a problem, they soak themselves in the issue rather than deal with it constructively. They adopt a self-victimizing mindset, complaining about whatever happens." No matter how positive you are or how many positive people you surround yourself with, it can be difficult to complete avoid the energy vampires (a.k.a. negative people). It's something everyone is faced with and the information and suggestions Celes provides on how to deal with negative people are both timeless and extremely helpful. Her advice on this topic really stayed with me and helped me to overcome some difficult situations with the energy vampires in my own life. 

In addition to gaining priceless advice from Celes' words, after reading this e-book, I found myself inspired to work on some of the things I'd been putting off. I was actually more productive than I'd been in a long time and I'd picked up quite a few tips on how to make that productive energy work even more efficiently for me. Celes' articles provide readers with such great content and it's hard to imagine anyone who would read this and not learn a great deal about how to create a truly excellent life. If you're looking for a great personal development resource (or just some inspiration!), check out Cele's The Personal Excellence Book: Your Handbook to Live Your Best Life


27 lessons from my 27th year

27th bithrday

 ( )

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.
 We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly.
 We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.
 The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present.
 We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

Anais Nin  



Happy birthday to me! Today I turn a ripe old age of 27 and, as much as I'm not thrilled to be inching toward thirty, I'm pretty excited to look back on the past year and reflect on what an amazing, positive experience it was. There were, as there always will be, some tough times, but over all, I'd have to say that my 27th year was pretty darn awesome. One of the reasons it was so awesome is because I learned so much about life. Every year I learn more and more and, in my opinion, that's one of the best highs life has to offer -- looking back and realizing just how far you've come because of all that you've learned. I could spend hours and hours writing about this year and all of the ups and downs it's brought, but today I've narrowed the post down to 27 lessons I learned during my 27th year. With each of these lessons listed, I've linked to a post that will show you exactly when I was learning that lesson.



This Year, I've Learned... 
 


... when love is real, when the person is right, you really do just know. 

... change, scary as it is, can be just what you need to free yourself. 

... sometimes you have to let go of what you know and face the unknown

... letting people in and opening up to them can be surprisingly rewarding. 

... if you really, really want something, you have to take action

... you are usually quite a bit braver than you think you are

... if you screw up, you have the power to proactively make the present better

... you always know, deep down in your heart, what you really want.

... the people you want in your life aren't always the ones you need in your life. 

... it is never, ever too late to reclaim your muchness

... whatever you focus on in your life, that's what you'll get more of. 

... being positive is really hard sometimes, but it's always worth it in the end. 

... you have to know what you want and go after it because no one else will. 

... the support of other people is amazingly, astoundingly invaluable. 

... moments you fear the most are often the least likely to be worthy of fear. 

... sometimes you just have to be your own hero

... when you love, you must not forget to love yourself

... no matter how hard it seems, you can let go of your past

... the future can have some huge surprises in store for you. 

... living your life your way is important (even if other people don't understand it). 

... you can continue to love others without liking their choices.  

... everyone -- even you! -- deserves to experience happiness

... you will learn more from other people than you ever thought possible. 

... the person you were can become only a fraction of what you are

... if you are unhappy with something in your life, you can change it.

... inspiration is everywhere, but you will only find it if you're looking. 

... the present moment really is all you have; experience it wisely. 


 

As I clicked through the posts I wrote over the past year, I reflected on how far I've come since my 26th birthday. So much has happened over the past twelve months. So much has changed, but, in many ways, so much of the good in my life has remained. The past year has taught me a great deal about myself and about the world around me. Every day I'm learning more and more about the person I am and the person I want to be. Every day I'm striving to live a life that is both positive and present. It isn't always easy, but every effort I make ends of being worth it. Thank you all for continuing to read the posts I write and for following me as I embark on another year of my life. I'm not sure how or why, but I somehow already know that this year will be an amazing one...

 



This post will be featured in a segment on fellow blogger Abubakar Jamil's "
Life Lessons Series". This year, as you can tell from this post, I've learned a great deal about life, and I'm hoping that, by participating in Abubakar's awesome series of posts featuring life lessons from other bloggers, I'll be able to spread the word of what I've learned even further. If you have a few minutes today, stop by Abubakar's site and check out all of the great life lessons in the series. 


words to live by: the best thing that's ever been mine


mine
(   )

 

 I say, "Can you believe it?"

As we're lyin' on the couch

The moment, I can see it

Yes, yes, I can see it now


Do you remember, we were sittin' there, by the water?

You put your arm around me for the first time

You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter

You are the best thing that's ever been mine


Flash forward, and we're takin' on the world together

And there's a drawer of my things at your place

You learn my secrets and you figure out why I'm guarded

You say we'll never make my parents' mistakes


But we got bills to pay

We got nothin' figured out

When it was hard to take

This is what I thought about:


Do you remember, we were sittin' there, by the water?

You put your arm around me for the fist time

You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter

You are the best thing that's ever been mine


Do you remember all the city lights on the water?

You saw me start to believe for the first time

You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter

You are the best thing that's ever been mine


Taylor Swift
"Mine"

 


 



"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter