Fine Tuning: Communicating with Others

Fine Tuning_ Communicating with Others
Effective communication is essential for every aspect of our lives – from work to family to daily encounters with others. People with strong communication skills are in demand for many jobs and often enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

Whether communicating with others is one of your strengths or an area in which you need improvement, here are some strategies that will help you become better at it.

1. Stay in the moment

Most of us are guilty of sometimes thinking about our response before the other person has finished talking. Effectively communicating your thoughts means staying in the present moment. Don’t get distracted when speaking or listening.

2. Use simple words

Whether it’s your workplace or home, chances are that not everyone is on the same level when it comes to vocabulary. That’s why it’s important to use words that are easily understood by everyone. Using complicated or ambiguous words increases the chances of a misunderstanding.

3. Be a good listener

One of the most effective ways of being a skillful communicator is by developing strong listening skills. Few people enjoy communicating with someone who’s only interested in giving their opinion while not taking the time to listen to the other person.

4. Be clear and concise

A good practice is to communicate your message with just enough words and in a clear manner. That’s true whether you’re speaking to a large group, on the phone, or even via email. If you ramble on and aren’t clear, you risk losing the attention of your listener.

5. Be a strong non-verbal communicator

You can help get your message across in a variety of non-verbal ways – such as body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice. It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of eye contact in keeping the other person’s attention and clearly communicating your message.

6. Empathise

Empathy means seeing things from the other person’s point of view. It’s important not to be judgmental or biased by your pre-conceived beliefs or ideas if you want to be an effective communicator. It’s also important to remain patient and open-minded in your interactions with others.

7. Don’t rush it

Your message is easily lost if you’re in a rush and communicating too quickly. It’s easy to forget essential points and ideas when hurrying through any type of communication.

8. Go face-to-face when necessary

Your concept or message may not come across clearly if you’re speaking in front of a group of people, such as in a workplace environment. It’s easier for some people to understand you if you take them aside on a one-on-one basis.

9. Avoid repetition

No one likes to listen to someone who sounds like a broken record or makes the same point over and over again. Only repeat what you’ve said if it’s not clear to everyone or when someone asks you to repeat it.

10. Be trustworthy and honest

People respond better to people who come off as trustworthy and honest. In turn, they’ll be more willing to communicate with you.

Fine Tuning: How to Identify Strengths

Fine Tuning_ How to Identify Strengths
Most, if not all of us, have heard about the importance of addressing our weaknesses. Improve the areas where you lack needed expertise or skill and excellence will soon follow.

But what about your strengths?

While it’s never a bad idea to get better in your areas of weakness, identifying and leveraging your strengths will make you stronger personally and professionally.

The first step, however, is figuring out your strengths.

1. Ask for feedback

Asking for honest feedback from friends you trust and whose opinions you value is an ideal way to understand where your strengths lie. You might ask your friend to name 3 of your strengths. Or, you may solicit the opinions of many and then look for common themes among their responses.

2. What excites you the most?

One way to recognize your core strengths is to identify activities that truly excite you. In most cases, these are the things which you’re good at and those that keep you energized and motivated.

3. Take an assessment or personality test

If you’re having trouble identifying your unique abilities, you may want to take an evaluation like the Reflected Best Exercise or Gallup’s StrengthFinder. Or, you may opt to take a personality test,  like the DISC Personality Testing, which is a useful resource to help identify your strengths and weaknesses.

4. What are your values?

Knowing your core values makes it easier to identify your strengths. Your values, after all, shape how you think about yourself, others, and the world. Think about people you respect and the traits that you admire about them. Or, think about your community and the one thing you’d change about it if you had the opportunity. Moreover, consider if the life you’re leading now agrees with your values.

5. Do your own evaluation

It’s great to receive feedback from others when recognizing your strengths but it’s important to do your own honest assessment, as well. Think about the aspects of your personality that you’d call strengths, including kindness, generosity, open-mindedness, etc. Consider the innate talents or abilities that fit with your sense of self and your vision for the future.

6. What do you do differently?

If you’re truly using your strengths, chances are you’ll stand out from the crowd. What are you doing that’s unique and separates you from others during those moments?

7. Try new things

What you think may be a weakness is actually something that you’ve never tried or you lack of experience. A great way to grow – and uncover new strengths – is by pushing yourself to do things you’ve never tried before. For instance, you could take a painting or dancing class, launch your website, or try a new athletic experience, such a yoga or rock climbing.

8. Journaling

Numerous studies have shown how useful journaling is for becoming more self-aware and reflective about your strengths and desires. Whether it’s listing the memorable moments of your day, diary-style, or including more detail about your thoughts and desires, you’ll learn more about yourself and your strengths.