Monthly Archives: July 2008

Easy Conversation Starters Anyone Can Use At Work

Starting a conversation can be difficult at times, especially if you are a new employee at work. For many of us, the first day on the job, we are nervous and anxious to get settled into our new environment as quickly as possible, which does include meeting the people around us and begin establishing bonds with them.

As a new employee we often don’t know anyone and aren’t sure how we might break the ice or start a conversation so that we can get know our co-workers. No-one likes feeling like the outsider and as a new employee we want to feel that we are a part of the team as soon as we can. One way to that is to take the first step in initiating a conversation with those around us. The following are some easy conversation starters that anyone can use at work.

Practically any subject can be used as a conversation starter with people you know. However, with people you don’t know you want to be careful about what subject you choose to start a conversation with.

After introducing yourself a neutral question like, “How long have you been working here?” or “What’s it like working here?” might help get the conversational ball rolling.
Notice that these questions are open-ended question that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. If you are really interested in having a conversation with someone, ask open-ended questions. But be careful not to ask a barrage of questions without becoming involved in the conversation.

Pet peeves can make excellent conversation starters in the workplace because everyone has them. You might be able to open a conversation by telling a story regarding a pet peeve of yours. Make your story interesting, maybe even funny to lighten the moment and help the other feel more comfortable with you.

Many people can relate to other people’s pet peeves and this can then possibly inspire the other. After you have told your story you may find the other person telling you about one of their pet peeves.

Funny quotes or stories are excellent conversation starters, especially when trying to start a conversation with someone you have just met. Humor has a way of lightening up tense situations like meeting someone new.

Moreover, using funny stories to start a conversation shows the other person that you have a sense of humor. Humor is an easy conversation starter and is especially effective in the work place.

If there are several people around, like in the break room, use conversation starters that most people can relate to. For example, if there are several men in the room you might be able to use last night’s football game as a conversation starter.

If there are both men and women in the break room find something in the area to use as a conversation starter.

If you attend meetings as part of your work this can be a source for conversation starters. An example might be, “I saw you in the meeting last week. What did you think of Jane’s presentation?”

As the other person talks to you pay attention to what they are saying. When we show we are interested in what the other has to say this often times opens the door to further conversation.

Big news stories are also easy conversation starters that anyone can use at work. There is almost always something big and spectacular going on in the news and many people like talking about those events. News topics frequently make good conversation starters with just about anyone.

How To Use Better Communication To Ensure Success In Business

In today’s world of competitive business it has become very important for companies, and their employees, to communicate effectively and quickly in order to stay in business.

The faster and more thoroughly a business can communicate with the consumers that buy their goods and within itself the more profit a company can generate in a shorter period of time and gain the edge over their competitors. And profit generation is why a business is in business.

There are many communication tools available to businesses, from the telephone to the computer to even classes on effective communications. For example, there are many training companies that can come to your company and actually teach your employees how communicate more effectively with management and with each other.

Communications between managers and employees, and from employee to employee, is important because it helps reduce misunderstandings and mistakes that can sometimes cost a company large amounts of money. Breakdown in communication may be one of the leading causes of lost profits.

Present day technology has provided companies with the ability to communicate more efficiently and with down to the minute speed. Take for example the computer and the internet.

The internet has become a powerful tool for most companies to use to distribute their products. With the internet a company can advertise its products to the consumer. The consumer can then place an order for a company’s product from their own computer. Within moments that order arrives at the shipping desk to be filled and then shipped to the consumer.

The turn-around time between placing an order for a product and receiving that product has been reduced dramatically, in comparison to pre-computer times, because of the internet.  This in turn saves companies money, as well as helps them increase their profits.

The computer not only can be used as a means of product distribution or keeping track of inventory, but also as a means to communicate with in-house employees and those that may be located elsewhere in the world. Email for example, now provides managers with the ability to give instructions to their employees no matter where they may be located.

Additionally, employees can more effectively and efficiently keep managers informed of business progress. It is much faster to write and send an email than to go looking for someone within the building or making a phone call.

Let’s not forget the convenience of email. In the past, without email, managers and employees would often have to seek each other out to pass information, sometimes interrupting the production of the other. Today, managers and employees alike can review instructive email when it is convenient for them to do so, without interrupting the progress of an important project.

For those emails requiring immediate attention alerts can be attached to them to let the recipient know about the importance of a particular email.

Nonetheless, knowing how to effectively communicate is still as important to a company as it ever was. Just as in personal, face-to-face communication, writing emails requires some understanding of how to effectively communicate.

For example, language and tone can still have an impact upon the overall message of an email. Yes, tone does exist in the written word and is virtually unavoidable in any type of interactive communication.

If you own a company and want to ensure your businesses success within the competitive world of business then first examine the methods of communications your company uses. If applicable start using computers and the internet. And if interpersonal communications within your company can use a boost, consider developing a plan to achieve it.

How To Build Lasting Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is having the belief in our ability to do or accomplish something, or to succeed. It largely involves our past learning experiences, successes, and achievements.

For many of us self-confidence can fluctuate up and down, depending on the daily challenges we face in comparison with our ability to deal with those challenges. However, building a sustainable and balanced self-confidence is achievable.  What follows are some ways to do just that.

First and foremost, building a lasting self-confidence requires a degree of focus and the determination to follow through toward real and solid achievements. There is no quick way to acquire self-confidence. It requires work because that’s what success requires, and it is success in our endeavors that breeds self-confidence. Thus, the more successes you have the more lasting your self-confidence will be.

Secondly, to build upon the self-confidence that you already have take an inventory and recall your past successes. Bring to mind the feeling you had at the moment of each of those successes. Experience those successes in your mind again and then apply that experience to the current challenge you might be facing.

Many athletes perform this very mental exercise prior to every competition they participate in. Some call it “psyching the self up”. But it’s that recalled feeling that help these competitors build the lasting self-confidence to be successful in each and every competition.

Goal setting is also important to establishing lasting self-confidence. Often we successfully accomplish a task and reap the rewarding feeling of self-confidence, only to have our self-confidence dissipate over time. This is because we didn’t set other goals after completing the previous one.

If you want to have lasting self-confidence then you need to continuously set goals before yourself and accomplish them each and every time, one after the other. Moreover, by setting goals and accomplishing them you put structure into your life. Structure can help in establishing a lasting self-confidence.

Confident self talk is another way to build lasting self-confidence. Let yourself know you are capable of accomplishing your goals. Tell yourself that you will effectively execute the strategies necessary to reach your goal.

If necessary think the strategies through, envisioning yourself in the execution of each and every step. This is called visualization and it will influence your self-confidence.

Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all inter-related. Whenever you act confidently it will help increase your self-confidence. This is especially important to do when your self-confidence begins to diminish, which at times happens to even the best.

To act confidently keep your head up, put a bounce in your step, and focus on those things you can control. Even when things don’t seem so good, this behavior can activate thoughts of self-confidence.

To maintain a lasting self-confidence it is very important to have and focus on achievable goals. If your goals are realistically beyond your immediate reach you may be setting yourself up for a failure and failure, although it is part of the learning process, may not help you to establish lasting self-confidence.

Instead, set goals for yourself that are challenging, but ones that you know you can reach and successfully accomplish with a bit of hard work and determination.

Self-confidence comes not just from the accomplishment of our goals, but more from the knowledge of the hard work we invested into accomplishing them. Almost every true soldier knows that it’s not just the winning of the battle that makes a soldier, but more importantly it’s the battle itself that makes a soldier a soldier.

Yes, soldiers do reflect upon the glory of victory, but they reflect more upon the sweat, blood, and tears that made the victory possible. Lasting self-confidence is developed through the same principle.