Three Pillars of Great Communication

Three Pillars of Great Communication

We have some good news for you and some bad news. What you accomplish in your career and in your personal life is determined by how well you get your message across.  If you don’t consider yourself a good communicator that  might be bad news. The good news is, you can learn strong communication skills.

A communication breakdown is the reason behind the majority of problems people face both personally and professionally. People do not say what they mean clearly enough. Or other people don’t understand the communication as intended. There are three elements to any direct fact-to-fact communication, words, tone, body language. If all three don’t match, the communication becomes muddied. Once you learn to take all three into account you’ll be able to dramatically increase your communication skills.

The Element of Words



Words only account for 7% of any message. That means, to communicate effectively you need to back up words with the proper tone and appropriate body language. People run into problems when all three don’t match. When that happens, the listener will invariably focus on the tone or the body language more heavily than the words.

Emphasis and Tone

Your emphasis and tone can completely change how a message is perceived. Sometimes you say something and it goes over way better than expected. Other times the person you’re talking to becomes offended without hearing an offensive word.  The reason for both reactions is probably tone of voice and emphasis. Throughout your communication, remember to pay close attention to your delivery. Notice how your words are being perceived throughout the interaction and revise your tone if necessary.

Body Language

Never forget the importance of non-verbal communications. You can dramatically increase the effect of your communication by leaning toward the speaker. Shift forward onto the balls of your feet. Face the person you’re speaking to directly, with strong eye contact. By ensuring your body is in line with your words you will dramatically increase the impact of what you’re saying.

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Jobs You’d Rather Forget

Jobs You'd Rather Forget

A resume is a constantly evolving thing. Always being added to and subtracted from as you switch jobs, take courses, attend conferences. In general, we add the newest jobs and experiences we’ve had to our resumes and when there’s no more room, condense or remove the less significant ones altogether.

Swept under the carpet

But sometimes you come to a job you really hated and the feeling is on the mutual side. Your first instinct might be to simply try to forget that job ever happened and put it behind you. However, if you do that, there may be a significant gap on your resume. One way or another you will probably need to talk about it in your next interview.

Relevant or not relevant?

Sometimes the decision is made easy by the degree to which the job was relevant to your career. For instance, if the job you hated was in the service industry, but you plan on making a career in sales, you can just leave it off and simply say why at the interview (without ever saying anything negative about your previous employer).

However, if the job is directly related to what you’re applying for now, you have to choose. Either leave it off and hope the gap isn’t a big deal or leave it on and hope no one contacts them. In the article, Can You Leave a Really Bad Employer off Your Resume from Chron they suggest the best course of action is to actually include the job, but not use the employer as a reference.

Find positives in the experience

Did you learn any new skills during your time there? Did you have any new responsibilities? Find something positive to say about it during your interview and finish off by saying it was no longer a good fit. Don’t give in to the temptation to say something negative about a former employer. It will only serve to put you in a negative light with your prospective new one.  Focus on your achievements and your potential and that’s what the interviewer will focus on too!

Save And Spend

Save And Spend

 

Maybe you’ve got college debts to pay off. Maybe you’re debt free but are a forward looking individual preparing for financial freedom well before you hit the half century mark.

 

Wherever you fall on the personal finances continuum, if you want to save and get ahead, the first thing you need to do is create a budget.

 

Why budget?

Without a budget you really can’t accurately judge where your money is going, how much you can afford to spend on a Saturday night out, if bringing your lunch everyday is enough to get you closer to your financial goals.

 

There are lots of ways to go about creating a budget. Here are a couple of straightforward ones you could try.

 

Pre-budgeting homework

Before you can create that budget you need to have an idea of how much money you actually spend. Make a list of all your expenses, groceries, gas, monthly bills, gym membership, pet costs – everything you can think of.

 

Some of those expenses are fixed. Like your gas bill and your phone bills. There is no wiggle room. Some of your expenses are flexible, like groceries and clothes. Divide all your expenses into two columns, fixed and flexible. Now you have a concrete idea of exactly what you’re working with.

 

Subtraction budgeting

With this extremely straightforward method, all you do is add up all your monthly bills. Subtract that from your take home monthly income and see what’s left for savings. If there is nothing left or not as much as you were hoping to put away then where you can skim from that flexible column. Maybe cut back on groceries and movie nights.

 

50/20/30 budgeting

50% goes to your fixed costs. Rent, utilities, bills you see month after month go here

 

20% is allotted to financial goals. This is money that goes towards savings or towards paying back debt or towards creating an emergency fund.

 

30% is for your flexible spending. This is where the grocery money comes from, hobbies, clothes, entertainment.

 

By doing a thorough examination of how much you have coming in and where it’s currently going out it’s much easier to create a budget you feel comfortable sticking to as you work towards achieving your financial goals.

Make Your Words As Strong As Your Intentions

Make Your Words As Strong As Your Intentions

 

So often we hear It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Generally that’s taken in the context of tone of voice and body language, but oftentimes the specific words you use to express yourself are just as important.

Someone asks you if you’ll be able to get a project done on time. Yes you can – so you answer: Yes I think I can or Yes I can.

There may not seem like a huge difference between those two sentences, but one is an absolute affirmative, while the other still has question marks attached to it. Which one would you rather hear?

The words you choose speak volumes about you and at the same time influence how others perceive you.

Indefinite statements vs. definite statements

When you say things like I think or I guess, whatever follows is automatically on weaker ground than a simple direct answer. I guess I’ll go to that seminar implies and underlying unwillingness to do it and makes you seem wishy-washy. I think I’ll go to that seminar implies a lack of commitment. I should be able to go. I’m supposed to go. The listener all of those statements will still not have any idea of whether or not you actually have any intention of going.

Yes I’m going is clear and decisive.

No I don’t believe this will be of benefit to me removes any ambiguity and provides a reason.

If you actually don’t know, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer. I have to check with X, I will let you know by the end of the day.

 Avoid negative statements

If you want someone to listen with an open receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones.

Rather than Don’t always hit reply all, turn the statement around to Only hit reply all when necessary.

Instead of I don’t like negative people go with, I prefer positive people.

by removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.

Eliminate can’t

You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however can’t is often people’s go-to word for won’t.

If you actually mean won’t then say so. It’s always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution. That’s not something I’m familiar with, I will call Sarah she can help. Or I have not done that before, I will find out how.

Your words are a reflection of who you are. People will be more inclined to listen to and follow someone who is direct, straightforward and positive. They will trust a person who is unambiguous in what they say.

Why You Need To Disconnect For A While Everyday

Why You Need To Disconnect For A While Everyday

 

Technology is great for so many things, from helping you get a job, to keeping you informed about news and current events, to getting you to that restaurant for your first date with that new person you met online.

What you may not realize is, technology can also lead to depression, stress and sleep disorders. That’s why it’s so important to enter the technology free zone for a while every single day.

Technology gives us the illusion of doing things faster

Having the ability to find everything you need with the click of a few buttons make us feel like we should be doing things faster.

With customer service calls or data entry, the next thing is always waiting for you to be ready.

People are expected to move in lockstep with the technology around them. It can be stressful trying to keep up with programs and technology that’s always changing.

Happy faces everywhere are depressing

When you’re always plugged in everyone else seems to be having a better time than you are. We see their happy faces on Instagram or Facebook and wonder why we aren’t living lives as fun filled and spectacular as the people around us. Even if we realize most of what we see is being posted for show, it’s still hard not to feel inadequate.

Too much light makes for too little sleep

The light from TV and computer screens messes with our sleep rhythms. If you’ve been looking at one screen or another all day you’re going to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Do you really need to be plugged in?

Is being plugged in all day essential for your job or is it also an excuse to see what’s going on over on Facebook or Twitter. If you really want to be productive, you will get a lot more done if you disconnect. Don’t even give yourself the opportunity to stroll over to the too much light side. Without the chatter and instant gratification of the world’s silly antics distracting you, you can concentrate and think in the quiet space of your own mind.

You sometimes need to unplug to realize how relaxing it is. There is no reason to go and live on an island with no access to the daily buzz, but there are very good ones to leave all your connections unplugged for a while everyday. To give your eyes and mind a break. If you want to really do yourself a favor, take yourself outside for a walk or a run. Technology free, it’s a way to recharge mind and body.