Mastering the Juggling Act

mastering the juggling actAsk ten people you know what’s going on in their lives and at least 9 of them will tell you how busy they are. In fact, according to the Washington Post, being “too busy” was the #1 reason that Americans didn’t vote. That sounds a bit crazy to me but there’s no doubt most of us have so much going on that life often feels like a juggling routine. Every new task we get is a shiny red ball thrown into the air to join our juggling act.

I don’t have time is the grown-up version of the dog ate my homework. -Howdoigetfit.com

For years I’ve been reminding myself and others that we all have the same 24 hours to get things done. We have the same number of hours in our days that Einstein, Gates, and Bell (among others) had. It all comes down to how we use the time that we have.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? –Mary Oliver

Proof of the busy epidemic can easily be found with a quick search on the internet. There are thousands of books, sites, blogs, and posts designed to help us be more productive, stay organized, and make better use of our time and I have tried – and discarded – hundreds of them. While I still have to work every day to keep all the balls in the air without dropping one, tripping over it, and sending them all crashing to the ground, I have come up with a system that (mostly) works for me. And, while we are all different, you might find some that work for you, too.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. -John C. Maxwell

  1. Years ago I found a version of this “morning brain dump” and thought the concept was exactly what I needed. And it was – sort of. The problem for me is that my brain is void in the morning and there is nothing to dump. It’s at night, when I should be sleeping, that my mind runs on a continuous loop of all the things I need to do. I needed a bedtime brain dump like this one. Of course, taking the time to print it eventually became an issue for me and I wound up with a notebook and pen that I leave on the side of my bed for the nightly brain dump and all the genius ideas that come to me in the middle of the night.
  2. Recorder apps. When it comes to saving time and being organized technology can be our best friend and biggest enemy but recorders are definitely in the friend category. Ideas and grocery lists inevitably fill my head when I’m driving and I love being able to record it and know I won’t forget it. There are tons of these available but I love Instarecorder because every time you record something it automatically sends you an email of the recording.
  3. To Do Apps. Another must have for me is the “to do” list on my phone. My top picks are Wunderlist (because it syncs with iCal) and DOOO (because you add to your list with your voice while in the car).
  4. Last but not least – if you can’t take your phone in the shower with you, a whiteboard in the shower is a wonderful thing. Seriously, who doesn’t have their best ideas in the shower???

Reframe your thinking: Don’t try for “balance” – it is a JUGGLE. – Aliza Sherman

If we can help you build better relationships, grow your business, or take some stress off your hands, we’d love to help! We’re professional jugglers.

Marie Mallory, Ph.D.

Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

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The Work/Life Struggle: 6 Ways to Find Your Balance

 

6 ways to find your balanceDo you struggle with finding a good work-life balance? Do you often feel overwhelmed or guilty? You know – the ‘doesn’t matter what you do’ guilt? If you stay home with sick kids you feel guilty for not producing at work. If you go to work you feel guilty for not being home with your sick kid. Same thing for going to / missing the ball game, dance recital, fill in the blank. And what follows the guilt? Resentment… a path that leads nowhere good.

Achieving a happy, guilt-free balance can seem like an impossible feat. For me, balancing family, work, school, church, and the other hundred things that come up is one the biggest challenges in life.

Finding balance has become harder as work friendships and the awesomeness of technology have allowed us to blur the work/life lines to the point that they are now practically inseparable. We check work email at home and home email at work. We use our cell phones for personal and business use.

Google’s research reveals that only 31% of us are able to break free of the “blurring” and draw a line between work and the rest of our lives. (Google, gDNA).

However, many people like having their personal and professional lives all rolled into one and if you’re happy with the balance you’ve found by working this way, you’re ahead of the masses.

69% of us have work in the back of our minds throughout our waking hours. (Google, gDNA).

However, of that 69%, half of us wish we could segment more. So, for those who need a little more separation, here’s six steps towards a happy balance.

  1. STOP LOOKING FOR IT. The word “balance” indicates that your time and energy will be spent evenly between work and life and that’s not realistic. Instead, make your goal Work-Life EFFECTIVENESS. This is what we really want after all… to be EFFECTIVE in all areas of our lives.
  2. Set effectiveness goals each week for each area of your life. This week I will have been effective in life/work/school if I _______.
  3. Let go of perfectionism. It isn’t going to happen. You aren’t going to be perfect, no matter how badly you’d like to be. Neither is your spouse, boss, friend, or child. Just let it go.
  4. Unplug. Don’t text during the soccer game, surf Facebook during the movie, or send emails while you’re out with the family. Shut it off and enjoy the moments.
  5. Exercise & meditate. It reduces stress, increases endorphins, and lifts your mood. Just taking the stairs and doing 5 minutes of breathing exercises at your desk is a step in the right direction. You’ll feel better able to deal with the rest of what life throws at you.
  6. Reduce time-wasting people and activities. If you are struggling to find time for the really important people and things in your life, you definitely do not have time for the unimportant ones. Choose wisely.

One important note about all this: Don’t try to overhaul your whole life at once. Remember, we’re trying to SIMPLIFY life so just pick one or two things to tackle at a time.

Have fun and let us know how it goes!

Please share this blog with your friends and find us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

If we can help reduce your work stress by helping you communicate with your audience or grow your business – we’d love to help!

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

5 Ways to Handle Arrogant People

The Know-It-All

We all have that person in our lives who knows more than everyone else about every possible topic. They’re arrogant, infuriating, and irritating. They can make us angry, drive us crazy, and sometimes even reach their true goal of making us feel like idiots so that they feel smarter.

The arrogance of some people makes even their virtues appear vices. – Bouhours

They’re easy to pick out in a crowd.

  • Their conversations are about themselves.
  • They don’t like for anyone else to be the center of attention.
  • They brag, boast, and dismiss other people’s stories and ideas.
  • They know more about any topic than anyone else.
  • They frequently interrupt.
  • They put other people down, make fun, and joke at the expense of others.
  • They try to be around people of high status.
  • They find it ridiculously hard to admit to being wrong.
  • They don’t understand complexity and prefer black and white situations.

Generally speaking, these people have much less experience than they pretend to and assume a lot but know very little.

The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. – Albert Einstein

The interesting thing that I’ve learned about these people is that they are often quite insecure. It may seem hard to believe but it’s true.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.

The truth is that they talk about themselves and brag (endlessly) because they feel the need to show how important they are. They fear being insignificant or unimportant.

Of course, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. There are those people who truly are simply so full of themselves that they can’t see, or hear, anything else. They are, however, in the minority.

Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair. – Thomas Faranda

Sadly, regardless of the reason they act so arrogantly, we still have to deal with them. Here are tips for handling them… and having a little fun along the way.

  1. Change the topic. Arrogant people try to keep conversations on topics that they are comfortable with. Each time they start dominating the conversation, change the topic and throw them off balance.
  2. Avoid interaction. The arrogant person’s tactics work best with an active audience. Don’t give them one.
    • Smile a lot. Say little. Do not get drawn in.
    • Laugh loudly at an inappropriate moment then change the subject while they’re confused.
  3. Feed the Fire. Pretend you don’t understand something simple and watch them swoop in and prove their superiority. They’re too self-centered to catch on but everyone else will.
  4. Call Them Out. The next time they interrupt you or take over, take a page from your teenager’s playbook. Look them in the eye and say, “Really?” in a tone of disbelief. Practice in the mirror if you need to. The look on their face will be worth it.
  5. When all else fails, take mental notes so you can laugh about it with your friends later.

Whatever you do, don’t lose it. Remain calm. Smile. Use your manners. You don’t want to look like the bad person but you do want it to be clear that you don’t tolerate fools. Give yourself a high-five for not getting sucked in to their spirit-robbing ways and your intelligence in out-witting them. And remember:

An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person. – Leo Tolstoy

Have a tip to add or a funny story to share? We could use a good laugh… share it in the comments! Find this interesting or know someone who needs to read it? Please share it! And – find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If we can help you communicate with your audience or grow your business, we’d love to help. We promise not to brag.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

10 Tips for Dealing with Annoying People

HOW TO DEAL WITH PEOLE

Do you have a person in your life that is driving you insane? Someone who constantly works on your nerves? Does the sound of their voice make you cringe? Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, dealing with annoying people is inevitable. While some of us accept them for who they are and move on with our lives, others remain irritated with how much and why we dislike them. That’s where I am. We can’t always just walk away so it’s important to learn how to deal with these people and situations. Here are some tips.

Most really annoying people have no idea that they are annoying. They will not understand your rudeness or anger in response to them.

  1. Get to know them. Try to spend some time getting to know them so you can understand exactly WHAT it is that gets on your nerves and maybe even WHY they do it.
  2. Avoid them and make necessary interactions brief. If you are going to them, have something you have to do next and let them know you can’t hang around. If they are coming to you, keep a spreadsheet or return call slip nearby and tell them you’ve got to get to it. Pick up the phone and pretend to be having a conversation. Or, if it’s an option for you, studies show that people are far less likely to stop and talk with someone wearing headphones.
  3. Block it out. When someone is really getting under our skin, we have a tendency to think about how annoying they are and wait for them to do the next annoying thing that will throw us over the edge. Just stop. Make a plan for how to deal with them and move on.
  4. Blame yourself. If you know that the next time they try to show you a stupid YouTube video it’s likely that something evil is going to rise from the fiery pits of hell and explode all over them, stop them in their tracks. Try saying, “I’m sorry but I’m really tired… crabby… stressed… can we do this later?”
  5. Don’t expect something different. You KNOW how they’re going to act, what they’re going to do / say. Be prepared for it.
  6. Stop following. If someone is driving you crazy on social media, stop letting them.
  7. Zone out. If you can’t remove yourself from the situation, try thinking about something else while they talk. Make a to-do list for when the meeting is over or, like me, imagine yourself spitting spitballs at them.
  8. Just tell them. Sometimes honesty is the best policy although obviously this is not ALWAYS an appropriate response. But, if you can, try: You’re really working my nerves. You’re overreacting. Why are you so angry all the time? Why do you have to talk so much during meetings? Why do you talk when other people are talking?
  9. Mirror mirror. If you can pull it off, this one can be really fun. Whatever the irritating behavior is, beat them to the punch. Go to their desk with stupid videos 10 times a day. Stand in their office and talk non-stop about how much your neighbor gets on your nerves. If it happens to be a sound, laugh, or facial expression that’s driving you crazy, copy it or come up with one of your own. Every time they do it, you do it.
  10. Let them win. Basically the opposite of #10, this works wonders on the one-upper. When they tell you they ran 10 miles this morning, lost 20 pounds over the weekend, shot a 400 pound, 20 point deer, say, “oh, cool” and walk away. They’ll stop.

Have a great “annoying” story? Have a tip to add to the list? Tell us in the comments! If you give one of these tips a shot, we’d love to hear about it!

As always, if we can help you communicate with your audience, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help strengthen your relationships. Yep, we’ll even deal with the annoying ones.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

How to Read Body Language Like a Pro

body-language

Ever wonder what’s going on in someone else’s mind? Think someone’s not being completely honest with you? Despite their words, do you often get a vibe from someone that you can’t quite put your finger on? Understanding body language and non-verbal communication can often tell you the meanings and information that people’s words aren’t saying.

Some studies suggest that speech makes up only 25% of communication.

Many times, non-verbal cues are more important than the words being said. Why? Because people have much less conscious control over their non-verbal messages than their verbal ones. As a result, non-verbal cues almost always give away true feelings and intentions. Just remember that like ALL communication, it goes both ways! So, while we all want to figure what other people “aren’t” saying – it’s important to be aware of what messages YOUR BODY is sending as well.

DISCLAIMER: This article only skims the surface of all that has been studied on non-verbal communication and is not intended to be an all-encompassing list… just some tips to give you an edge over the other guy!

TIP #1: A LACK of non-verbal messages is a signal too – it suggests an attempt to carefully control body language so as not to give something away (which often means hiding something).

TIP #2: When verbal messages and non-verbal messages conflict, trust the non-verbal.

Ready?

Body Movements

  • Saying no while nodding yes: hiding something (usually the truth)
  • Scratching, adjusting glasses, and biting fingernails: nervousness, anxiety or hostility
  • Clenched fist: anger, solidarity
  • Touching nose while speaking: lying, exaggerating
  • Neck scratching: doubt, disbelief
  • Pursed lips: distaste, disapproval, distrust
  • Lip biting: worry, anxiety, stress
  • Head titled to one side: thoughtfulness
  • Head tilted downward: criticism
  • Handshake with both hands: seeking control
  • Handshake with arm clasp: seeking control, paternalism

Posture

  • Closed (arms folded or crossed, legs crossed, body positioned at a slight angle from the person they are communicating with): discomfort, disinterest
  • Open (directly facing the other person, hands apart or on the arms of a chair): openness, interest, readiness to listen
  • Crossed arms: defensive, self-protective
  • Gripping own upper arms: insecurity (self-hugging)
  • Arms behind body with clasped hands: confidence, authority, anger
  • Holding anything across chest or in front of body: nervousness
  • Hands in pockets: boredom
  • Figure 4 leg cross: stubborn, independent
  • Open leg sitting: arrogance, combative
  • Ankle lock sitting: defensiveness
  • Splayed legs standing: aggression, ready for action
  • Standing at attention: respectful
  • Feet or foot direction: indicates direction of interest
  • Hands on hips, standing: ready, in control, angry

Eyes

  • Consistent eye contact: listening, engaged

Pupil dilation is an involuntary reaction to the sight of someone attractive.

  • Lack of eye contact: disinterest, dislike

Pupil size is often reduced when we encounter someone we dislike.

  • Constant eye contact: trying too hard – may well be lying
  • Looking left: recalling, remembering (left brain)
  • Looking right: imagining, creating (right brain)
  • Looking right & up: fabricating, lying
  • Rapid blinking: distress, uncomfortable
  • Infrequent blinking: hiding something, trying to control blinking

Pitch, Tone & Speed:

  • Higher pitch to voice: nervousness (caused by a tightening of the larynx)
  • Fast speech: nervousness

Remember, this is not an exact science and none of these cues, standing alone, are accurate indicators 100% of the time. In other words, if you’re talking to your boss tomorrow and his eyes dart left, I’d hold off on calling him a stinking liar or reporting him to the board.

Alright – you’re ready to go out and conquer the world! If you love this article and you’re really into this type of thing – or if you want to improve your knowledge & skills… check out Lie To Me on Netflix and follow Joe Navarro on Twitter at @navarrotells. Let me know what you think in the comments!

As always, if we can help you communicate with your audience, no matter who or where they are, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help you grow.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

How to Deal with Ticked Off People

the-trick-to-dealing-with

We’ve all been there – a client calls and they are really, really ticked; your boss calls you into his office and you can literally see the steam coming out of his ears; your partner is spitting nails… it doesn’t really matter if it is a spouse, business partner, friend, or a co-worker in a perpetually grumpy, negative mood. These folks and situations can easily ruin your day, spike your blood pressure, and even make your job (or home) a place you no longer want to be. Life gets a whole lot better when we learn to deal with them on our own terms.

Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control. – Tom Landry

So what do you do when you see Ms. Smith coming through the door, sparks in her eyes, ready to chew you out with her complaint of the week? We all have a “default” response to these type events and people and they usually fall into two categories.

What’s YOUR response?

1) Prepare for battle – get ready to return anger for anger.

2) Check out all the EXIT signs and prepare to run or sputter apologies.

3) None of the above.

The correct answer is #3. While it is easy to respond to anger with anger we all know that’s not the solution. Finding the best escape route or stammering out how sorry you are isn’t any better in the long run (although you may keep your job longer than those who chose option #1). You need to stay in control, respond calmly and with empathy. Just think of yourself as a CSI Negotiator talking someone off the ledge. Easy, right? Well, no, but if you handle it right, you can build a positive relationship and reduce everyone’s stress in the process. And yes, you can train yourself to respond this way.

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Hans Selye

How to handle those people?

  • Involve Others. Whenever possible, do not have a one-on-one conversation with someone who’s seriously angry. Bring people in on the conversations without being obvious. Invite someone over for their input, advice, or expertise. cc or bcc other people on emails.
  • Don’t Respond With Anger. We went into this in detail last week (you can read it here) but here are the basics:
    • Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements.
    • Keep words like “always,” “never” or “everyone” out of conversations.
    • Use a calm and authoritative voice.
    • Stand straight and look the other person in the eye.
    • Be aware of your facial expressions (this one is a real struggle for some folks!).
    • Avoid wringing your hands, making fists, crossing your arms or picking your nails (hitting people or furniture is also not)
  • Don’t Take it Personally. 9/10 times, it has nothing to do with you as a person.
  • Identify the Cause. When possible, just ask them to explain why they are angry. Don’t interrupt. Ask questions. Listen. Use a calm voice.
  • Distract Them. If possible and appropriate, give them a reason to laugh. Shared laughter does, in fact, make everything better.

HERE’S THE BIG SECRET:

  • Seek a Solution. Once you know why they are angry, avoid making excuses or defending your actions. Simply ask what you can do to resolve the situation and make it right. There are few words more powerful than “what would you like for me to do?”

Almost ALL of us have a need to explain our actions and have people see our side of things. THIS IS NOT THE TIME. Right now you need a resolution, not a discussion. Fight the urge. Simply ask – as calmly as possible – what they would like for you to do. This works across the board – from the living room to the conference room. Just try it.

Want to find out more? Check here.

Have a tip to add to this list? I’d love to see it in the comments!

As always, if we can help you communicate to your audience, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help you grow.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

 

Taming Your Temper

taming-temperStress, anger and low self-esteem are all issues that get in the way of effective communication and none of them are easy to deal with. Last week we talked about dealing with stress and self-esteem when we communicate. This week we’re tackling the temper monster.

ANGER is a battle that most of us have to fight from time to time. I have to admit that learning to control my quick temper has not been an easy battle for me. Nor have I won it. It’s ridiculously easy to pop off quickly and say things we’ll regret later. It’s also easy to misinterpret what others are saying when we’re ticked off. You know what I mean… when you’re really good and angry and anything that anybody says puts them in the line of fire.

The good news is that like stress, anger reactions are emotional responses and we CAN learn to control them. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques are easy solutions that calm emotions, relax muscles, and slow our heartbeat. The challenge is making the time to calm down when you’re smack dab in the middle of a situation that has your temper rising.

Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Whenever possible, find a way to give yourself a few minutes. Walk away, go to the bathroom, get a drink, reschedule… whatever you need to do. Give yourself time to think logically about the situation, consider how it affects you and how best to handle it BEFORE you respond and ensure that you come across like the mature, responsible, professional you are.

Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret. – Laurence J. Peter

Of course, that’s not always possible. Sometimes we just have to deal with the issue while we’re angry. Like most things, mastering our responses requires practice and intention… and, I think, is a lifelong work in progress for most of us. However, a lot of it does become second nature as we work at it. It also makes you feel good and you’ll find that others respect you more for your ability to respond well under pressure. Here are some tips to work with:

  • Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements. When a co-worker comes to you on Friday at 4:00 – again – needing help with a report that’s due Monday morning, instead of saying, “you should have had that done last week!” try saying, “I’m really sorry this is just getting done. Please explain to The Boss that the deadline will have to be pushed back.”
  • Avoid over-generalizations. Keep words like “always,” “never” or “everyone” out of conversations. Instead of saying “you always do this” try “I can’t help you with this right now. I have too much on my plate today.” Keep the discussion on the issue at hand.
  • Make the most of your non-verbal behavior. Use a calm and authoritative voice. Stand straight and look the other person in the eye. Keep a neutral expression on your face. Be aware of your hands and don’t wring them, make fists, cross your arms or pick your nails. (Also – don’t throw things.)

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain

Taming our tempers isn’t easy. It takes work to master this element of communication. However, the rewards are huge. Don’t try to do it all at once. Choose one tip at a time to work on and put into practice.

Don’t have temper issues to deal with personally but get stuck dealing with angry people? Tune in next week…

Have a tip to add to this list? I’d love to see it in the comments!

As always, if we can help you communicate to your audience, online or in person, we’d love the opportunity to help you grow.

Marie Mallory, Communication and PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

Stress & Self-Esteem

 

stress-self-esteemYou know how it is… some days you bring your A-game and everything is smooth sailing. The next, nothing seems to come out quite right and people are constantly getting on your nerves. The truth is – it’s mostly in your head – literally. Our mental state has a lot to do with how effectively we communicate; both in how messages are sent and in how they are received. These ‘psychological barriers’ usually come in the form of stress, anger, or low self-esteem.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James

We’ll deal with anger next week… for now, let’s take a look at stress and self-esteem and how they can derail our communication efforts.

STRESS is a part of everyone’s daily life. Whether you’re overwhelmed at work or at home, have too many decisions to make, or are stuck in a traffic jam with somewhere you need to be. Stress comes from demands placed on our physical or mental energy that are outside of our range of easy management.

It’s no wonder that we communicate differently when we are stressed… headaches, indigestion, insomnia, tiredness and twitching eyes can do that to a person. Maybe the right words don’t seem to come to mind easily, your voice sounds thin, or words that aren’t usually a part of your vocabulary seem to come out of nowhere.

According to Dr. Harry Barry, this happens because our emotional brain is reacting ahead of our logical brain. The trick is to strengthen the logical brain to take over even under high stress. You can find his video on how to do that here. Breathing exercises have also been proven to do wonders for managing stress and you can find some tips on that here.

Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think. – William J. Clinton

SELF-ESTEEM may not seem like an obvious barrier to effective communication. However, people with low self-esteem are generally less assertive and often feel uncomfortable communicating how they feel. They typically avoid any type of conflict. Additionally, they often hear negative implications in other people’s words that really aren’t there and magnify any negative comments.

Being assertive is a core communication skill. It simply means that you are able to express yourself and your opinions effectively, while respecting the values and opinions of others. While some people have no problem being assertive, there are many who struggle with this – especially in terms of being able to say “no” when approached with taking on one more obligation or responsibility.

If you are struggling to deal with someone on your team that suffers from low self-esteem, you may need to change your approach. Realize that they aren’t telling you how they feel and they may be harboring a great deal of resentment underneath their passive attitude.  When possible, play to their strengths. Give them assignments in areas in which they excel. Have them shadow you in areas in which they need improvement and ask them to help you in their area of expertise. Avoid negative comments.

In reality, being assertive boosts self-esteem, earns respect from our peers, and reduces both stress and anger – qualities that all of us can benefit from. The trick is not to confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. Assertiveness is direct but always respectful. If you need to work on improving your self-esteem or being more assertive, check out some of the helpful sites available on the web including this one and this one.

As always, if we can help you communicate your message more effectively with each other or with your audience, we’d love to help. Have a tip we didn’t mention? We’d love to see it in the comments!

Marie Mallory, Communication / PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

 

Special thanks to the Mayo Clinic and Trinity College Dublin for their assistance!

 

 

Roadblocks on the Communication Highway

communication-roadblocks-2There are all kinds of roadblocks that can get in the way of effective communication. Part of being a skilled communicator is understanding what stands in your way and how to avoid or overcome it. Just because you’ve been reading this blog for months and are on your way to being a communications master doesn’t mean that communication can’t fail. After all, (unfortunately) everyone else may not be working on their communication skills.

The art of communication is the language of leadership. James Humes

Ineffective communication leads to wasted time and money, confusion and misunderstanding – basically, a wreck on the communication highway. Here are a few roadblocks that you need to be aware of and prepared to avoid or overcome.  

  • Jargon. We all know people who insist on using long, complicated words or acronyms that are unfamiliar to almost everyone else. If your point is to understand each other, just don’t.
  •  Taboo. Some topics are simply off-limits. If their body language tells you the topic is taboo, switch gears.

 You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue. Joel Osteen

  •  Lack of Attention / Distracted. If you can tell they aren’t focused when you need them to be, give them a minute. Go to bathroom or get something to drink. Still distracted? Change the subject and gain their interest then move back to your topic. If necessary, reschedule. Remember, you have no idea what’s going in their life. This may just be a bad time for the conversation.
  • Perception & Viewpoint. You should be able to express an opinion that isn’t shared by your audience… and so should they. Speak carefully and listen carefully.

Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you, you will be neither successful nor happy. Napoleon Hill

  • Physical disabilities. Sometimes someone can’t hear you because they can’t hear you. Be aware of your surroundings and your audience and watch for non-verbal clues such as turning one ear toward you, leaning forward, or watching your mouth (lip reading).
  • Lack of non-verbal communication. Keep in mind that if you aren’t face-to-face, your body language and facial expressions have lost all their effectiveness. Find a way to verbalize your thoughts and emotions.
  • Culture. Social norms vary a great deal between cultures. Study up in advance.

America is a noisy culture, unlike, say, Finland, which values silence. Individualism, dominant in the U.S. and Germany, promotes the direct, fast-paced style of communication associated with extraversion. Collectivistic societies, such as those in East Asia, value privacy and restraint, qualities more characteristic of introverts. Laurie Helgoe

Here’s to a week full of productive, effective communication. I’ll leave you with this last valuable tip for the road…

 There aren’t too many principles of proper business conduct with which just about everybody will agree. Two come to mind: 1. Unless you’re a professional athlete, don’t offer co-workers encouragement by patting them on the butt, and 2. Don’t burn bridges. Dale Dauten

 As always, if we can help you get your messages across more effectively, in person or online, we’d love to help! Leave a comment here or on our webpage, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Marie Mallory, Communication / PR Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com

www.ironsmediagroup.com

6 Tips for Building Better Relationships

photodune-6320359-build-relationship-s-740x371From my house to the White House, and all across this great nation, this has been a crazy and exciting week. In our office we’ve seen a lot of new faces mixed in with the familiar ones which means a lot of opportunities to build new relationships and cultivate older ones.

The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. — Robin S. Sharma

We all want more positive relationships in our lives because they just make life better all the way around. Positive relationships are the foundation of, well… life, and communication is the foundation of positive relationships. Focusing on relationships is truly my favorite part of what we do and I believe that it is the reason for a lot of our success. Still, none of us is perfect. So, what we can we do to build better relationships? Start with better communication.

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. — Paul J. Meyer

Here are a few tips to get moving in the right direction:

  1. LISTEN
  • Listen to the words being said but also pay attention to the non-verbal messages (body language).
  • Think about what is being said, not what you are going to say next.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. — Stephen R. Covey

  1. BE INTERESTED
  • This is hard to fake without getting caught so you need to find a way to be GENUINELY interested in what other people are saying if you want to have a positive relationship with them.
  • Be sympathetic to their trials and excited for their successes.
  • Make eye contact (but avoid the Creeper Stare).
  • Use first names when you can.
  • Make them feel like their thoughts and opinions are important because, if you want a relationship with them, they should be.

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. — Rudyard Kipling

  1. WALK IN THEIR SHOES
  • Being able to see things from others’ point of view is crucial.
  • Keep your judgmental thoughts to yourself.
  • Be honest but kind.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. — Harper Lee

  1. BE ENCOURAGING
  • Do you know who likes encouragement? Every. Body.
  • Make people feel valued, wanted and appreciated through your words AND actions.
  • Ask open-ended questions – then refer to #1.

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
  • People like to laugh and people like people who make them laugh.
  • Laughing releases endorphins which relieves stress and anxiety and seriously, who doesn’t need that??
  • If you’re not funny and you know it – leave this job to your buddy and smile.

If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor. — Jennifer Jones

  1. BE POSITIVE
  • Be friendly, be optimistic, smile. It really is contagious.
  • Complain without criticism.
  • Don’t whine. Nobody likes a whiner.

You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind. — Joyce Meyer

Relationships can make you or break you – personally and professionally. Take some time to think about areas you need to work on and spend some time on them. And – I know that while you were reading this you thought of all the people in your life that really NEED to read this. Go ahead and send it to them… just make it a group email so you don’t single anyone out. As always, if you need some help with your online reputation or just need some Monday morning inspiration, we’d love to hear from you.

Have a tip for better relationships? Leave a comment! We can all use a little help.

Marie Mallory, PR / Communication Specialist, Irons Media Group

www.ironsmediagroup.com

https://ironsmediagroupcom.wordpress.com/