Monthly Archives: June 2015

Improve Your Communication Skills

Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist between two emotional human beings who bring their own past experiences, history and expectations into it. Two different people also have different levels of skill when it comes to communication. But better communication, because it is a skill, can also be learned. Communication either makes or breaks most relationships. You can improve your relationship today, right now, by putting into practice some of these tips for improving the communication in your relationship.

1. Be open and honest with your partner

Some people have never been very open to others in their life. Heck, some people might not even know themselves, or know much about their own real needs and desires. But to be in a relationship is to take a step towards opening up your life and opening up yourself.

Being open means talking about things you may have never talked about with another human being before in your life. It means being vulnerable and honest with your partner, completely and unabashedly. It means opening yourself up to possible hurt and disappointment. But it also means opening yourself up to the full potential of all a relationship can be.

2. Stop and listen

How many times have you heard someone say this or read this in an article about communication skills? How hard is it to actually do when you’re “in the moment?” Harder than it sounds. When we’re knee deep within a serious discussion or argument with our significant other, it’s hard to put aside our point for the moment and just listen. We’re often so afraid of not being heard, we rush to keep talking. Ironically, such behavior makes it all the more likely we won’t be heard.

3. Stay focused on the here and now

Sometimes discussions turn into arguments, that can then morph into a discussion about everything and the kitchen sink. To be respectful of one another and the relationship, you should try and keep the discussion (or argument) focused on the topic at hand. While it’s easy to get in the cheap shots or bring up everything that an argument seems to call for, just don’t. If the argument is ostensibly about who’s making dinner tonight, keep it on that topic. Don’t veer off down the country road of who does what in the house, who’s responsible for child rearing, and by the way, who cleans the kitchen sink.

Truths About Body Language

Thanks to TV shows like Lie to Me and so-called body language experts commenting on the candidates during the American election season, a number of misunderstandings about body language have become part of modern culture. It’s time to clear the decks.

1. The face is a poor place to start reading body language

By the time most of us are adult, we’ve learned to mask our true feelings – at least as they show up in our face – because we have to get along at work, at home and in social settings. So we pretend to be interested, smile, we assume a bland expression when we’re actually peeved and so on.

2. But the face does sometimes give away our strongest feelings

You can learn to read what are called micro-expressions – sudden leakages of true emotion through the mask of the face – with some training. These micro-expressions are fleeting – less than a second in duration – and it takes work to learn how to spot them. And they typically only show up when we’re trying to hide a very strong feeling that is at odds with what we’re admitting to.

3. Body language signals intent, not specific meaning

What body language does convey, with pretty good accuracy, is our emotional intent. In fact, brain research shows that whatever we’re feeling first shows up in our body, and only later (nanoseconds later) in our conscious minds. So, if we’re hungry, or impatient, or angry, or happy, our bodies know first and they will pretty reliably signal those feelings.

4. To read body language accurately, don’t think about it

As humans, we’re hard-wired to read other people’s emotions and intents. We have mirror neurons in our brains that fire when our unconscious minds register an emotion in someone else. We mirror that other person’s emotion so that we can share it and understand it. This expertise developed on an evolutionary time scale and is an important part of our ability to survive as a species.

How To Make A Good First Impression

When you’re preparing yourself for an interview, you should remember that “there is no second chance to make a good first impression.” That’s why people constantly need to work on their self-esteem because those few seconds may very well change your life.

• Be on time

Nothing shoots you down faster than being late for a job interview. Your potential employee will mark you as an irresponsible person and you won’t get the job. So if you want to make a good first impression, the first step is to be on time (you can even be there 15 minutes early).

• Body language

You may have the perfect presentation of yourself prepared, but your body language will reveal things you’d rather hide. Body language is something everyone will notice, and people even pay more attention to what you’re doing with your hands than about what you’re talking.

• Begin the conversation

There are so many things that can be said about the first impression, and little space is available. But, one more thing is worth mentioning – the conversation. Initiate the conversation, and you’ll instantly get a big plus. Learn something about the company and start the conversation with that – it is always the perfect way to break the ice, especially when you don’t know the person who’s going to interview you. Also, don’t forget to smile!