How To Get Better Communication

I’m sure you will have heard the saying ‘I say what I mean and I mean what I say.’

If only communication was that simple, we wouldn’t spend our lives in a perpetual state of conflict and misunderstanding. Take the simple phrase ‘that wasn’t what I wanted.’ You couldn’t be clearer. Could you?

Well let’s consider that. If I say ‘that wasn’t what I wanted’, what I really mean is, ‘I wanted something else’. Possibly something I’m certain I’d explained quite clearly to you, or potentially something I hadn’t explained at all but assumed you would know.

But as we all know communication is second nature to us all. After all, don’t we communicate every minute of every day?

Communication though is not nearly as easy as we let ourselves believe. But there are some clearly defined approaches that can help.

1. Know your own and other peoples ‘default’ communication styles

This is most certainly the starting point. Without knowing your own and other peoples starting points there is little likelihood of understanding and effective communication.

So, how do we do this so we can understand and be more easily understood by other people (at least most of the time)?

In his book The Emotions of Normal People, published in 1928, Dr William Marston took a very different tack from other psychologists of the day who tended to focus on illness or deviance. Dr Marston wanted to understand how we can better understand each other in normal situations, and indeed how our behaviour changed from situation to situation. Marston found there to be four main personality traits base on our perceptions of our environment and of ourselves within that environment. The four personality traits, or ‘default’ traits, are Dominant, Influencer, Steadiness and Conscientious.

Marston’s research became known as the DISC behavioural model. If you know your own and other’s ‘default’ traits you will be in a position to communicate more effectively, cut off potential conflict situations at the pass, and influence your own or your team’s potential for success.

So what are these ‘default’ styles?

• Dominant styles want to ‘tell’ it as it is. They tend to be direct and to the point. When communicating with a D the best approach is to be direct, don’t waffle, be brief and keep it solutions orientated.
• Influencer styles want to ‘sell’ it through persuasion, positivity and fun. They tend to sell the big picture idea rather than sweat the detail. When communicating with an I the best approach again is to keep it brief, but light and upbeat, with not too much detail.
• Steadiness styles want to ‘listen and consult’. They tend to want a friendly, conflict free and unhurried approach. When communicating with an S give lots of time for them to reflect so they can decide at a steady pace and don’t come across as too challenging.
• Conscientious styles want it ‘written down’ with lots of attention to detail and clearly defined explanations. The tend to want a more distant, professional approach. When communicating with a C give lots of data, quality responses and show you have considered the risks involved.

2. Truly listen

There is an old saying ‘we have two ears and one mouth and should use them in that proportion’. I rarely come across this in practice. Too often we are desperate to get our two-pennies worth in so spend most of our time thinking what we will be saying next and looking for the gap that will allow us to interject.

Let’s be honest. Listening is hard.

Listening is about being willing to focus on the other person rather than the self. This is energy intensive (so can be tiring) and can make us feel vulnerable (because we might not know what we are supposed to say next). But in fact active and focused listening allows us to hear what is truly being said and opens up opportunities for higher quality questions.

On the one hand this illustrates to the other person that they are truly being listened to and builds rapport and their self-esteem. And on the other hand enables you to get the core root of what is really being communicated.

3. Clarity in our speech

If we refer back to our opening illustration, we can better see what clarity on your speech might mean.

Let’s consider that simple phrase ‘that wasn’t what I wanted.’

When I say ‘that wasn’t what I wanted’, did I really mean, ‘I wanted something else’. Possibly something I’m certain I’d explained quite clearly to you, or potentially something I hadn’t explained at all but assumed you would know.

Or did I really mean;
• ‘Let’s fight about this because you are challenging my power base’.
• Or possibly ‘I don’t like you anymore’.
• Or what about ‘I don’t appreciate what you have done and all the extra work you put in’.
• But it could just as easily have been ‘you’ve done this all wrong, your incompetent’.

The best approach I know to deal with this is through what Bev James, Author of DO IT! OR DITCH IT, called the ‘DISC walk’. When we need to communicate something of importance try looking at your phrase from the perspective of each of the DISC personality styles.

4. Non-verbal

The non-verbal aspects of communication are often overlooked for the more obvious (whether verbal or written). Yet non-verbal cues such as body language, including facial expression, tone and pace of voice have a powerful impact on how we understand the message being communicated.

Indeed, the non-verbal aspects are all the ‘first impressions’ that will enable our message to get through or cause it to get blocked. There needs to be congruence between the ‘image’ we convey and the other persons ‘default’ style, as well as congruence between the image and the message. A difficult balancing act.

To deal with this we need to consider closely those things which can help or could hinder effective communication:
• Stance – is it open or closed? Are your hands open and exposed or closed and bunched? Are your legs firmly planted and balanced or crossed?
• Eye contact – is there contact or are they diverted? (be aware though that different cultures have different expectations around eye contact).
• Tone of voice – is it reasoned, aggressive, excited or bored?
• Pace – is the voice quick, even or slow? Clipped or rhythmic?

5. Written

If we refer back to our four DISC personality traits, each has a preferred written style.

• Dominant styles are likely to use bullet points that will be short and concise. In fact, in emails the whole message might be typed in the subject line.
• Influencer styles are the great talkers, but in written format they will also tend to use bullet points but with a friendlier range of words. In emails they will likely start and end on much more pleasantries.
• Steadiness styles are the great listeners. In the written format they can expect more detail, especially in relation to ‘why’ and ‘how this is likely to impact on the team’. In emails you need to be careful there is no ambiguity.
• Conscientious styles want everything written down. There emails will be very long due to their need to include lots of attention to detail. As a consequence, these are unlikely to be read by either a D or an I who will only read the headline.

6. Story telling

Stories are how we learn.

There are great advancements taking place in the fields of neuroscience that are showing us what the story tellers of old, in the oral tradition, have always known: our biology drives our emotions, such as the release of oxytocin (the feel good chemical) when we hear good aspects in a story, or the release of dopamine from our limbic (reward center) that triggers feelings of hope and optimism when we hear happy endings.

The old notion of having a beginning, middle and end to your story (message being communicated) relates specifically to our expected pattern that makes things easily memorable. This is related to what is called ‘episodic’ memory; the brain’s own need for direction and pattern, for cause and effect.

Bringing it all together

Communication has no quick fix, but does have predictable approaches that can minimize confusion and conflict, and ensure we get across as near to the message we are trying to convey as is possible. In a world which is becoming more complex, ambiguous and uncertain there is even more of a need for communication through well-crafted stories.

Reason You Need Low Maintenance Friendship

Friendship is a kind of relationship that affects you a person as it will become a valuable part of your being. But, some kind of friendships is better than others like those low maintenance that will not drain you with so much drama.

A low maintenance friendship does not mean settling down in a crappy relationship. Instead, this kind of relationship allows you to grow as an individual because the quality of the relationship comes out easily. They are the friends who do not demand constant communication nor hanging out. But, you know that they will always be there for you.

I am friends with four amazing ladies for ten years now, and we are nothing but low maintenance. And, these are the things I have learned from a decade of valuable friendship.

1 No drama

You are so busy with important things in your life that you don’t waste your time together with unwanted and unneeded drama. You would rather spend the limited days together having the fun you deserve to enjoy these rare moments.

With this kind of friendship, you have a wide understanding of each other that you are willing to forego whatever small misunderstanding you have. There is nothing much to fight about because your friendship is grounded on the simple foundation of realness

2 Fun in doing the simplest things

While watching the infamous TV series Gossip Girl, I realized why my low-maintenance friendships last. We don’t need the scheming, backstabbing and complicated action to have fun. We are perfectly fine with hanging out and talking over takeouts at home. All we need to be happy is the presence of each other, nothing fancy whatsoever.

3 They are real

They are as real as they come. There is no need to be someone you are not because your friends don’t really care about what others say about them. They always believe in the principle “what you see is what you get.” But, of course, there are many things exciting about you and your friends, you just chose to be real and upfront about it. The thing is, they don’t have to act or do something uncomfortable because they are fine with who they are.

4 They only have genuine support for you

You could not find envy and pretentiousness in a low maintenance friendship. As real as they are, they will be genuinely happy for your success and will support your dreams. You may not have the same dreams, but you definitely dream of the same magnitude. So you are never afraid because despite not talking every day, you know that they will always be there for you and vice versa.

5 Friendship and love come seamlessly

You generously give each other love and friendship that each one needs. The love you share is true and does unconditionally. A frenemy has never been in your vocabulary because really why invest in hate when it can be so exhausting.

I know that you have friends in mind while reading. So, cherish and value these kinds of friendship because they are rare jewels in the world full of hate and fakeness.

Why You Still Need Conflict In Your Life

Have you ever stopped to think why you respond to conflict like you do? This is not only interesting information, but very valuable information for anyone who finds conflict in their life… oh yes, that is ALL of us! I do not remember where I read this information, or I would give proper recognition, however, this is so good – I just have to share it.

What is conflict?

1. a serious disagreement or argument

2. incompatibility or at a variance; clash

What do we feel when we have conflict? We feel a range of emotions from anger, to fear, to hurt and so on.

The definition of emotion is: energy in motion

To add to that definition, emotional energy follows the path of least resistance. Where it has gone before it will go again!

Picture every emotion you have ever had. It was, indeed, energy in motion. And, we have all experienced the same emotions when we are in the midst of a conflict similar to others we have previously experienced.

Here is the part I find both fascinating and frustrating. Each time we find ourselves in a similar conflict – not only does our emotional energy follow the path of least resistance – but, each time that path is traveled the path becomes 10 times stronger! Picture a path through the grass that one person has walked down. Their may be very little evidence that the grass has even been walked on. But picture the same grass after ten people have walked on it and it is becoming quite compacted down. Picture once more that grass after one hundred people have walked on it. There is an undeniable path worn.

If we compare the grass to each time we have a particular emotional response… after just three times it has already had the equivalent of 100 people walking down that path.

It isn’t hard to see why, in the midst of conflict, we find ourselves having the same behavior, saying the same words and experiencing the same outcome.

I often respond poorly to conflict, but it is also possible to respond to conflict in better ways. Personally, I desire to turn the cycle around so that each time I experience the same, or similar conflict, the path I follow to ending (or diffusing) conflict becomes ten times easier.

Path #1

Conflict occurs

Negative emotional arousal/response

Poor result

Emotional unrest

Path #2

Conflict occurs

Positive (good/neutral) emotional arousal/response

Better result

Emotional rest

As a Christ follower, I am very aware that I am weak in my good intentions. That is why I count on God working in me to do this. I desire to change and He does the changing.

Types Of Your Friends

“People are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

I don’t remember if I read this on a greeting card, a meme or what but it has really stuck with me and helped me understand so much. For most of my younger life I wandered around wondering why friends I thought would be friends for life were no longer there for me. I had this idea in my head that if someone was truly a friend they would be there for life.

The fact is there are many different levels of friendships and relationships and if people were more accepting of this fact they would ultimately be much happier. If people would be more honest with one another and more clearly define what their relationship was it would save a lot of misunderstanding and heartache. If people would learn to move on from a relationship that was over they would be better off; learn what there was to learn from it but move on.

All the people that come into your life just are not going to be friends for your whole life and that is OK. Those kind of friendships are rare. If you have one person in your life that is friends with you for life you are truly blessed. Those types of friendships are usually between a married couple who stay together for life.

Know the value of just being a friend. Why is it that every opposite sex relationship thinks they have to be boyfriend/girlfriend? Why can’t we just have guys that are good friends and girls that are good friends? Even a marriage relationship needs to have a strong foundation of friendship. What is a friend anyway? Well, it is a person you know and with whom you have a bond of mutual affection. Friendship is exclusive of sexual or family relations. Although your spouse should be your best friend, still your friendship should have nothing to do with sexual relations. And as far as family, yes, you may have a friend who is also related to you but even then your friendship should not have anything to do with being related to them. These two explanations are what I mean by ‘Friendship is exclusive of sexual or family relations’. Don’t undervalue friendship, both having friends and being a good friend.

Let’s look at the different kinds of friendships:

• THE SOCIAL FRIEND: This is the kind of friend that most people have most of. This kind of friend is not someone who you hang out with all the time or live with but you know them and associate with them at a bar, church, store or some other public place. Friends you have that have moved far way fall under this category. They are nice to talk to when you see them and are usually good for a laugh. They are not good for sharing a problem with. Sometimes you leave wishing you hung around together more but that just isn’t this kind of friend. Just accept your relationship for what it is.

• THE COUNSELOR: This is a friend you go to when you need advice or just someone to listen. You value their wisdom or at least the fact that they are good listeners and empathize with you. You can tell this kind of friend almost anything without fear of gossip or condemnation. They are the kind of friend you can trust but you just don’t hang out together, unless you want to talk about something important.

• FUN BOY/GIRL: This kind of friend can usually be counted on to go somewhere with you at a moment’s notice. They like hanging out with you whether it is going to the store or a bar or whatever. They are good tension relievers because you know you are just going to have a good time, let your hair down, maybe even be a little crazy. This kind of friend is not the kind of friend you go to for advice; in fact you should not put a damper on your relationship by getting serious with them about something. They are trustworthy and you know they aren’t going to gossip about what you do together. Don’t expect anything else from this kind of friend; just have a good time.

• SPIRITUAL BROTHER/SISTER: This kind of friend is most often found in churches but not always. This kind of friend is someone that is fun to be around but not like Fun Boy/Girl. It is a more laid back relationship that you can sit around with them at home and talk about God, family or spiritual matters. This kind of friend will pray for you and even help you out on a project or a loan or something. You can’t really cut loose like you can with Fun Boy/Girl but it is good to have this kind of friend when you just don’t want to be too wild but want to have a good time. This is the kind of friend that you just leave with a ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’. This friend leaves you with a fulfilled feeling. They make you feel good about yourself. They are sometimes good for sharing things with like The Counselor but usually they just are a pleasure to know.

• WORK FRIEND: This is the friends that you have at work. You interact at work only. This may include going to break together, maybe even shopping with them or running an errand during lunch or after work. They are usually not good to get advice from but on some occasions things might be discussed and you give each other advice. Mostly though you talk about the job, family and other friends.

• LIFETIME FRIEND: This friendship is very rare and as I said usually is found in marriage relationships they stay together for life. This friend is all the above all rolled up in one.

The Bible has this to say about friendship: “A good friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”(Proverbs 17:17). These are the type of human relations we should desire on all levels whether friend or spouse. Look at what the Word has to say about the value of friendship: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6) “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17). 1 Samuel 18:1 describes the friendship of Jonathan and David being so strong that their ‘souls were knit together’.

How To Remember Long Lost Friends

I don’t remember when they first popped up in my life, but I suspect I was about four years old. My memories before kindergarten are few. The family living room was the first room you entered as you came in the front door. We lived in a two family house on the first floor, with my grandparents on the second floor. They actually owned the home which was located on a busy avenue in a small New Jersey city.

My imaginary friends lived in the wall behind the front door. I would knock on the wall and press my face up against it trying to look through the painted sheet rock to catch a glimpse of their world. I guess I created Cooney, Chetty and Susan because I wanted someone to play with. I was so ahead of my time creating a virtual play date.

Usually when asked if they wanted to play, Susan was most times the only one who could, because Chetty and Susan were always going to Florida and leaving Susan home. I felt bad for her. We would dance for hours in the living room, doing fabulous stunts off of the hassock looking at ourselves in the wall of mirrors my parents had installed at the time. That was the style in the 70’s. We had an entire wall of mirror tiles with a crackle film overlay. So hip! Oh, don’t dare get your fingerprints on them though as you would hear the wrath of my mother. It was one of the many things that ticked her off.

I remember running over to the half wall in between the dining room and the kitchen as my father and mother were seated finishing dinner, telling them tales of my friends and just sitting there chewing and nodding their heads as if this was normal and just fine with them. I was friggin’ crazy and they let me go with it. If I’m being truthful, I always had the feeling they thought I was a bit off.

Can’t recall when my friends disappeared and we stopped playing together, but I have yet to doubt their existence. I wonder why I named them these crazy names. I mean Susan is mainstream, but Cooney and Chetty? Their names are as familiar as the friends I had in elementary school. I have no recollection of their appearance. That will forever remain a mystery.

Experts would say children develop imaginary friends to help deal with change or times of transition. Maybe subconsciously I knew that my life would change soon, sort of a sixth sense, because up until this point I think we were happy as a family. Again my memories at this age and younger are sparse. All I do know is my imaginary friends were comforting to me, like a blankie or stuffed animal.

Guide To Get Personal Connections

Building social connections is both a skill and an asset. The wider connections of friends we have, the happier and fuller we become as individuals. Regardless of age, sex, race, and financial disposition, we all need to create and grow a network of friends and acquaintance to make our lives more worthwhile.

Aside from family, money, and life insurance among many other things, one other important ingredient to lead a worry-free life is having a solid set of friends. It is our friends that we need when we are down and depressed. It is our friends who turn to when we just want someone to talk to, or someone to listen to our woes. It is also our friends and acquaintances that we need by our side when all that we want is hang loose and chill. There is nothing but truth in the adage, “no man is an island.” It is a fact that we need friends, and we cannot live this life happy, healthy, and worthwhile without them.

But friendship doesn’t mean that you need to be with them every minute of every day. That’s the beauty of genuine and pure friendship- you don’t have to be with each other’s company to feel loved. The connection is what makes friendships special. Common interests, passions, and hobbies connect people and help them to create friendships. These connections grow once you know your friends more. The connection then turns to love, care, and loyalty. With all these ingredients, you have a friendship that will last forever.

Aside from companionship, love, and care, there are also many perks to having a wide circle of friends. You gain benefits more connections, more information, and assistance as you build solid friendships with the people around you.

If you feel unsatisfied with your social life and would like to make it more worthwhile, here are some tips to boost your social connections.

1. Sign up for social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You probably have all of these already. But if you still don’t have that many friends, try to browse through their friend suggestions. Join an online group that features your interests and hobbies. Start a conversation with acquaintances, and let these conversations lead you to knowing more people sharing the same interests as you!

2. Join local community groups you are most passionate about. If you are an animal lover, we are pretty sure there are animal advocacy group within your community. Great friendships often start between people who share the same passion and life advocacies.

3. Go to church. The church is a great venue for earning friends and building strong social connections. This is especially true if you want to further strengthen your faith as well as values in life.

4. Talk to your colleagues. To make the workplace bearable, start striking up conversations with your work mates. Having them around should not be stressful, but should be fun and interesting too.

5. Say hello to your neighbors. Don’t be the snobbish, grumpy neighbor. Connect with your neighbors as they make excellent friends especially when you simply want to chill and talk about home and family life.

How To Eliminate Conflict With Your Partner

It’s just another day, I hate it, just another day! I get up, do my every morning thing, carry in my right hand, my coffee cup and drag myself to the car and drive to my work.

I don’t tolerate my wife to say too much because she is a “zero” and nothing else than trash can food. The moment she tries to communicate with me, I simply cut her off and finally she get the message not to bother me with all that crap and nonsense!

She is a failure anyway, so why should I listen! Live moves on day after day, after month, after year and nothing is changing. A couple of years and hopefully I’m dead, great, nobody will miss me! Whining, Whining, Whining…

No kidding, that sound like not a good relationship if you ask me, why the approach to the opposite party? A relationship is not to criticize instead help each other, lift each other, make each other feel darn good and important, as well be mindful with our thoughts.

Being on the same page with our partner is the number one requirement in order to live that united life together. We could say: “thinking and caring about each other at all time is a serious responsibility.”

Being negative towards the opposite party can create as much as being positive and will affect both our life experience. Attract the beliefs and desires from each other will create harmony in any relationship.

So, is this just another moody day and who is the moody person here, both parties might ask themselves that question. Does life exist of working, criticizing, offending, down playing, I’m much better than you, yelping? NO! With capital letters.

Our success and failures are not caused by “the world out there” but by the love, care we carry inside our heart. This is not a brain surgery neither high technology and we don’t need to spend years of psychoanalysis to find the way to respect.

A negative mindset drains your energy and create a self-perpetuating cycle of disappointments, worry, fear to fail and fear to make a mistake. The other site of the coin is that positive thinking creates hope and self believe. With a little bit of mental pushing power we should be able to control our mindset.

Let’s sit down here for a short moment and ask our self about the person who is working and working and does not believe in quality of life, so that person spend a big time of the day in a stress full environment, get ruled by the clock, the upper level authorities, appointments, customers, fighting for its own little space in the company, and much more.

Coming home late in the evening, rest for some hours and take off the next morning again is sure not enough to unwind all the stress. So let’s assume that both parties are moody the moment they are in each others neighborhood.

Here are the 15 ways to eliminate the moody moments:

You remember what I said in the beginning of this story; “The moment she tries to communicate with me, I simply cut her off and finally she get the message not to bother me with all that crap and nonsense!” Here is the answer to the problem of not being able to listen to a family member, instead simply cut off the person and depreciate that party.

Let’s wrap this up and nail some solid points down that might clear the air for both individuals:

1. Don’t try to do many things at once!

2. Prioritize, let them know, and do the essential things first!

3. Don’t take on everything yourself!

4. Learn to say politely “No”

5. Meetings should be to the point and not dragging on!

6. Going home, close the door of your job. Coming home, take your rest for some minutes, sit down, relax, rewind, think about the daily blessings and have a little talk with your partner!

7. Be an open book for your partner and don’t live a secret life created by” the life of fear to fail”

8. Don’t let the job take over your life!

9. Take your days off, take a chair and sit down somewhere you can relax and dream away without any noise around you and being bothered!

10. Force yourself to exercise on a daily base and definitely on the days off!

11. Create a hobby that grabs your attention!

12. Create a mile post of accomplishment with that hobby!

13. Learn to count your blessings in life and do NOT take everything for granted!

14. Do not answer the cell phone on your days off!

15. Fight for your own space in life and do not allow others to influence you and make a different “You” out of “You”

Here you have it, I didn’t leave any ingredient out!