Monthly Archives: July 2007

How to Improve Communication Skills by Letting Go of Approval Needs

Would you like some great tips on how to improve communication skills? By improving your Communication skills, we mean that you will become more assertive at communicating your thoughts and opinions. Can this be done? Yes, it can. And it boils down to one general rule: stop seeking other people’s approval. When you do this, you will find yourself more confident at expressing your own particular thoughts and opinions.

What are the effects of not seeking other people’s approval?

1) You become perceived as a more charismatic individual by other people.

2) You learn to say “no” when needed rather than always saying “yes” to other people.

3) You regain your peace of mind because you no longer feel the need to place yourself in a position of weakness when interacting with other people.

4) You begin to get in touch with your own point of view instead of absorbing other people’s point of view in the absence of your own.

But you may be wondering how you go about getting rid of the habit of seeking other people’s approval. Here are some tips that should help you with that. With daily practice, you will find that you will eventually be rid of the old habit.

1) Try to be aware of the times that you try to seek other people’s approval by saying things just to please them.

2) Change what you are saying to reflect the truth rather than using content that you hope will make the other person more accommodating to you. The truth may hurt, but in the long run, it is more beneficial to both you and the other person. For example, your spouse may ask you “Do I look alright to you?” as you are preparing to go out for dinner. The old habit would make you say “Oh yes, you look terrific!” when the truth is your spouse has some lipstick smeared on her cheek. Change to the new habit of being truthful and tell your spouse “You’ve got some lipstick smudged on your cheek.” The truth is oftentimes simpler to say.

3) Keep monitoring yourself for a period of at least three weeks so that switching to the new habit becomes a matter of daily practice. In time, the new habit becomes easier to use and you won’t find it so difficult anymore.

4) It helps to maintain a point system of your own. You might opt to reward yourself for learning the new habit of speaking your mind. For example, if your friend wants to borrow your car for the day, the old you would have automatically said “Oh sure, take the keys. Have fun.” even though you would have preferred not to lend the car to him because he doesn’t look after the car properly. Switch to the new habit and tell him “I’d rather not lend the car to you.” The friend might be quite persistent and keep asking day after day – the trick is to be equally persistent at saying “no, you can’t borrow it.”

The point system helps you to bolster your own confidence level because you can see how well you stand up to peer pressure. And if you reach a certain number of points, you could opt to reward yourself – maybe you could splurge on a triple-layer ice cream cone, or a new pair of jeans. The point is that it is something you would really enjoy.

As you can see, it takes time to become more assertive but it is possible. Hopefully, this article has been able to teach you how to improve communication skills.
free communication skills report

6 Powerful Ways to Solve Communication Problems at Work

Is your organization suffering from severe communication problems? Someone once said that “communication is the lifeblood of an organization” – and it truly is. An organization that is experiencing a breakdown in communication will not live for very long because many problems will crop up and eventually cause the organization to die a natural death.

If your organization is experiencing communication problems, you must do what you can to resolve these as soon as possible. The life of your organization is at stake.

How do you know if your organization is experiencing communication problems? There are 12 possible signs that you should look out for:

1) You find it hard to get some people to cooperate.

2) Some people are being left out of the communication

3) Replies to messages are being delayed or completely

4) Groups in the organization are failing to reach their goals.

5) Mistakes are cropping up more and more often.

6) People are resorting more to criticism and placing the blame on other people.

7) Morale of teams is going down.

8) Productivity is dull or at zero level.

9) You receive many complaints.

10) Moments of conflict result in expressions of anger.

11) There is significant employee turnover.

12) Business is going to your competitors instead of
to you.

If you find that there are some or many (if not all) of these warning signs present in your organization, it is advisable for you to take steps to address such problems before they kill your organization.

How does one correct or resolve such problems? There are different steps to take to counter the prevalence of communication problems in organizations.

1) First, listen to the people involved or who have caused the communication problem in the first place. Doing so allows you to uncover the depth, nature and roots of the communication problem for that particular group of people.

2) If the problems are quite vast and have deeply-rooted causes, you may want to secure the help of a neutral negotiator. This third party may be able to get inside the problem more thoroughly than an insider because when communication problems crop up, the group involved may choose to clam up or point fingers rather than admit to their role in creating the problem.

3) To maintain confidentiality, it is possible to use a
tool such as a survey. People who might be scared to tell the truth because of reprisals would then have another safer option compared to coming out of the crowd.

4) After you have uncovered the problem and its roots, you may choose to initiate group counseling or training. The point of this is to address the problem of the group, rather than focusing on just one person. Finger-pointing is avoided. The saying “united we stand, divided we fall” should become the motto of the group.

5) It is important for the leader to have great communication skills so that communication problems can be resolved. Communication skills are required to diagnose communication problems, and naturally, provide the necessary solutions. Leaders who lack adequate communication skills might benefit from more training in communication.

6) Do your research – perhaps the communication problem you are experiencing now has occurred before in the history of the organization. And perhaps someone knows the solution that could work now. So look inwards into the heart of the organization, ask around, and you may find the way to properly address your organization’s communication problems.

Remember, if your organization is already suffering communication problems, don’t wait for these symptoms to get worse. Good communication is necessary for an organization to function properly and stay viable amidst the influx of a multitude of challenges from the environment. Act immediately on communication problems and stem the bleeding of your organization.

free communication skills report

Talking to People Made Easy

Have you ever noticed how personalities with ‘people skills’ just seem to naturally radiate a positive energy which makes talking to people absolutely easy for them? In parties or in bars, you will see ‘people magnets’, or those who make a crowd gather around them because their personality or what they have to say proves to be irresistible to a lot of people.

The skill of having the affinity of talking to people does not need to be an innate quality, it can also be an acquired or developed skill. If the thought of approaching a total stranger or talking in front of a group of people is enough to make you sweat, then you need to take steps into honing your skills so that it will be easier for you to talk to people. Here are some tips on how you can develop your conversational and your ‘people’ skills:

1. Make sure to address any self-confidence issues that you have.

If you are feeling insecure about your appearance, or your personality as a whole, then you will never gain enough confidence to stand up and talk before a group of people. By gaining enough self-confidence, you will learn how to stand up and believe in yourself and be secure enough to voice out your opinions without fear of being ridiculed.

More often than not, it is your own insecurities which restrict you from engaging in a spontaneous conversation with other people – which is not a very good thing, because if you limit yourself to interacting with a limited number of friends, then you may never fully realize your potential as a person – or even as a leader.

2. When talking to other people, a little smile and a lot of honesty goes a long way.

You may be surprised at the number of friends that you will gain once you smile more often and be more open with the conversations that you have with other people. By being more open and friendly, you are actually trying to reach out to them and from there, the conversation will flow more freely, making it easier for them to talk to you.

Also, people respond positively to sincerity and honesty. By giving a little more of yourself to others, you will find not only feel better about yourself, but you can also start building better relationships with the people around you – be it a long-time neighbor, a new acquaintance or a prospective relationship.

3. Look for a common ground in the course of your conversation.

If you have exhausted the weather as the topic of your conversation, there are a lot of other things that you can talk about. Tourist attractions in nearby areas, family background, film, music and books are examples of subjects that you can discuss when talking with other people. There are some who gets uncomfortable speaking about their family or private lives so it is good to keep the conversation around light or mundane topics.

The important thing is that during the course of your conversation, look for ‘clues’ about what makes the other person respond positively. If they look alert and interested when you are talking about film, then you can turn this into your common ground and the conversation should flow freely and spontaneously from there.

Finally, being polite, responsive and learning how to gauge other people’s reactions are all essential when it comes to talking to people. A good conversation keeps your juices flowing, and what better way is there to pass the time and make friends than by engaging in a
friendly tete-a-tete?

free communication skills report