Archive for Communication

HOW TO MAKE ANYONE LIKE YOU IN TWO MINUTES OR LESS by Leil Lowndes

Posted in General Management, How to Make Anyone Like You in Two Minutes or Less, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

HOW TO MAKE ANYONE LIKE YOU IN TWO MINUTES OR LESS by Leil Lowndes

I f you want to make new friends or land new clients or a new job, you need to make a great first impression — fast. People form permanent opinions of those they meet within just a few minutes of setting eyes upon them. A study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General reported that the first impression someone has of a new acquaintance is likely to always dominate the way he/she views this acquaintance. Any later evidence that this first impression might have been erroneous tends to be dismissed as nothing more than an exception to the rule.

The trouble is, making a good first impression can be tricky. Our words, actions, facial expressions and body language all send subtle messages, often without our even realizing that we are doing it.

Below are 11 tricks for making a great first impression. Pick just one or two to try at a time, and add more when those become second nature.

YOUR BODY AND FACE

Facial expression and body position can make you seem more likable to those you meet…

1. Use a slow-flooding smile. Obviously it’s a good idea to smile when you meet someone, but instantly switching on a 100-watt smile can make you seem phony. Instead, let your smile build slowly when you make eye contact. This sends the message that there is something about this person in particular that you like.

2. Have “sticky” eyes. People are inclined to like and trust those who make strong eye contact. If you are not a natural at maintaining eye contact, make it a habit to note specific characteristics about new acquaintances’ eyes — what color are they… what shape… how far apart… how long are their lashes… how often do they blink… how often do they look away while talking to you? Answering these questions will force you to make strong eye contact with the other person.

Do break eye contact occasionally — staring too intently can make people uncomfortable — but don’t do it abruptly. Break eye contact slowly, as if your gaze were stuck on this person and you find it difficult to pull it away.

3. Select an open, welcoming body position. Arrange yourself so that your torso is mostly but not completely facing the person whom you just met. During the first minute of conversation, very slowly and slightly rotate your body to completely face this person.

Exception: A man meeting a woman for the first time should stop a few degrees short of angling his upper body directly toward hers. That seems overly aggressive to some women.

If you are holding a drink or plate of hors d’oeuvres, either find a spot to set it down or hold it down by your side. If you hold it up in front of your chest, your arm will block off your body, making you seem less open. If you are self-conscious about what to do with your hands, use gestures when you talk or even put your hands in your pockets — just don’t cross your arms across your chest, which makes you seem closed off.

4. Stand with one foot a few inches forward of the other. Put most of your weight on the forward foot. This stance suggests that you’re an energetic person and are interested in the person with whom you are speaking.

YOUR ACTIONS

Even seemingly inconsequential actions can affect how you are viewed during an initial meeting…

5. Find your conversation partner’s personal-space comfort zone. Stand too close to a new acquaintance, and you will make him feel uncomfortable. Stand too far away, and the odds increase that he will not feel a connection with you. What’s the proper distance? For the average American, it’s around 24 inches. Trouble is, that’s just an average — everyone is a little different.

The best strategy is to start a conversation with a new acquaintance by placing yourself 26 to 28 inches away. Move toward this person imperceptibly slowly until you see discomfort in his eyes. Then ease back very slightly until that discomfort disappears.

6. When you shake hands, very gently touch your forefinger to the other person’s wrist. Aim for the spot on the underside of the wrist where you would take a pulse. This is a very sensitive spot, and gently touching it tends to foster a feeling of warmth and closeness, even though your light contact might not be consciously noticed by the other person. Attempting this wrist touch also forces a deep handshake, which encourages a sense of closeness, too.

7. Treat business cards with respect. A business card symbolizes someone’s professional accomplishments. Showing respect for the card shows respect for the person. When you are handed a card, imagine that it is a delicate and precious gift. Hold it gently in your hands. Pause to read it, then carefully place it into your briefcase or purse or, at the very least, your wallet. Never just jam a card into a pocket.

YOUR WORDS

A few tips for an initial conversation…

8. Begin with a conversation starter question or two. Questions that make great icebreakers include, “What do you do?” followed by “How did you decide that you wanted to do that?”… Or (to couples) “How did you two meet?”

9. Slowly nod while people speak. This sends a message of acceptance and encouragement, which makes people feel more in sync with us.

Important: Be aware that men and women can have different interpretations of nodding. Do not nod if a man is saying something with which you completely disagree. Your nodding might be interpreted as agreement. Women, however, tend to interpret nodding as meaning, “I understand,” not “I agree.”

10. Listen for words that suggest people’s interests. The words that people use and the topics that they reference, even in passing, often provide hints at their true areas of interest. If you can spot these words and topics, you can redirect dull, forgettable small-talk conversations toward things that people actually want to talk about.

Examples: If the small talk is about the weather and someone says, “At least the rain is good for my plants,” seize on the word plants and ask, “Do you have a garden?” If someone says, “It’s been too hot to walk my dogs,” seize on the word dogs and ask “What kind of dogs do you have?”

11. Use the same terms as your conversation partner. This is particularly important when discussing topics that tend to matter to a lot of people, such as their families or careers.

Examples: If a parent refers to her “child,” you should ask about her “child” as well, not her “little one” or “baby.” If someone refers to his “profession,” you should refer to it as his “profession,” not his “job” or “career.”

People tend to use the terms that their family members or closest friends use. If you use the same terms, it increases the odds that this person will feel comfortable with you.

– Leil Lowndes

If you’re interested in a complimentary 20-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

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HOW TO COMMUNICATE AFTER A FIGHT: SIX EASY STEPS TO RECOVER RELATIONSHIP HARMONY! by John Gray

Posted in General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, I’ve added the writings and videos of various thought leaders. I trust you’ll like this addition to Behind the Scenes.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE AFTER A FIGHT: SIX EASY STEPS TO RECOVER RELATIONSHIP HARMONY! by John Gray

Wouldn’t it be great if your love relationship could be a bed of roses all the time? Imagine being magically transported to a land of brilliant sunrises and sunsets where there were no misunderstandings or hurt feelings, no sideways glares, no slammed doors, and no arguing. As much as any couple may avoid fighting, the truth is, one minute you may feel great passion, and the next you’re contemplating divorce!

Too many times we justify this shift in attitude by thinking that our partner’s behavior needs an overhaul. Funny thing though, it’s usually not about them! So what’s next? How can couples open the communication again and put an argument behind them?

Read on as we take a look at the six steps to leaving a fight in the dust and getting back on the road to lasting romance.

1. Take the Edge Off—Get a Little Space
The best way to stop an argument is to nip it in the bud. Men, in particular, need to cool off and think things through. Women need to make sure that they are not bringing a ‘cold-front’ to the negotiating table. This is a good time to reflect on how you usually approach your partner. Take a step back and think about how much you love this person. Also, focus on your own needs and take some self-healing time.

2. Ease Into It After Some Downtime

Approach each other slowly and softly after some downtime. Wait until you can feel positively about your partner and the relationship, as it’s impossible to work things out when negative emotions are still on the surface. If your anger, hurt or frustration is still overwhelming, take it as a sign that you are not ready to jump into solution-making. It’s too easy to blow things out of proportion unless you take a step back and ease in to the resolution slowly.

3. Nothing Too Serious
After some time has passed, come back and talk again, but in a loving and respectful way. Fueling the argument is not your goal. Take it easy, and keep the conversation light, because even though some time has passed, you still may not be able to be objective right away. Simple gestures like a smile, holding hands or getting your partner to laugh at something silly and unrelated to the situation can be good icebreakers.

4. Women Need to Talk
Women often need to completely talk the problem through before they are able to stand aside and put it behind them. Men can mistakenly feel blamed and attacked when a woman works through her problems by talking, so it’s a good idea for her to reassure him. By letting him know how much he is supporting her by listening, she will free him from feeling unappreciated or attacked as she rehashes the details of the upset.

5. Men Need to Be Forgiven
After a big blow-up, men simply need to be told that they are forgiven. The four magic words to support a man in getting over hurt or angry feelings are, “it’s not your fault.” A man hates to feel criticized, or that his partner disapproves of him. When a woman forgives her partner for his mistakes, she not only frees him to love again, but also gives herself permission to forgive her own imperfections.

6. Both Parties Need to Take Personal Responsibility
Couples can’t point fingers after an argument and expect things to get better. Both men and women have to acknowledge their own shortcomings and take responsibility in order to move on and improve communication. Men have to let go of being righteous, demanding and overly sensitive, while women have an opportunity to apply new and improved relationship skills to assure him that he is appreciated and that she does not blame him for the fight.

Learning to communicate with each other through stormy times is essential to the success of a long-lasting relationship. While the best advice we have for couples is to avoid arguments, the stresses of ordinary life can get in the way of even the happiest Martian and Venusian collaboration. Again, forgiveness really is key for both sides. None of us will ever find a mate who is perfect all of the time; however, we can be the best for the one who is most perfect for us.

– John Gray

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

MATCH YOUR RECIPIENT’S COMMUNICATION STYLE by Tony Jeary

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Match Your Recipient’s Communication Style with tags , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

MATCH YOUR RECIPIENT’S COMMUNICATION STYLE by Tony Jeary

Master Communicators know how their recipients want to receive information and adjust their communication styles to match.

The Slow Talker
If the recipient talks slowly and methodically, and exhibits a thorough approach to meetings, e-mails and discussions, you must do the same. Break your ideas into highly structured communications that cover all details.

The Fast Talker
If the recipient is fast talking and extroversive, has high energy, and moves quickly from one idea to the next, you will need to stay dynamic. Cover multiple ideas and maintain high energy and passion in your communications.

Be Task-Oriented
If your recipient has a “bottom line” mentality, gets to the point, and doesn’t linger in conversations, your communications need to be task-oriented. Keep your e-mails efficient; use short concise phrases. Connect highly action-oriented tasks to clear benefits.

Achieve Social Connection
If your recipient is very conversational and talks about off-topic experiences, this person needs to make a social connection in his or her communications. Build more emotion into your presentations and maintain fluidity. This person needs to know you connect and emphasize with them.

Practice these tips, put them in your presentation arsenal and you’ve got a great start to becoming a communication master! And remember, life is a series of presentations.

– Tony Jeary

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.

LIFE WOULD BE EASY… IF IT WEREN’T FOR COMMUNICATION DIFFERENCES by Connie Podesta

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Life Would Be Easy...If It Weren't For Communication Differences with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

LIFE WOULD BE EASY… IF IT WEREN’T FOR COMMUNICATION DIFFERENCES by Connie Podesta

Sometimes it seems that folks just don’t get it. No matter what you say or how you say it, they simply don’t have a clue – and don’t seem too worried about getting one either! It’s not their nature to understand; that’s just how they “are.” Maybe so, but more often than not, the problem is a result of a communication breakdown.

In this digitally inter-connected world, you’d think we could “fix” such basic differences. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as plugging another device into the system. Maybe they’re the problem. Maybe you are. We all know difficult people – and, in fact, we can all be the difficult person.

A little background on communication styles can help us understand the issues and learn how to alter our approach to eventually make life a little easier for both parties.

The Basics

Every time we speak, we choose and use one of four basic communication styles: assertive, aggressive, passive and passive-aggressive.

Assertive Communication

The most effective and healthiest form of communication is the assertive style. It’s how we naturally express ourselves when our self-esteem is intact, giving us the confidence to communicate without games and manipulation.

When we are being assertive, we work hard to create mutually satisfying solutions. We communicate our needs clearly and forthrightly. We care about the relationship and strive for a win/win situation. We know our limits and refuse to be pushed beyond them just because someone else wants or needs something from us. Surprisingly, assertive is the style most people use least.

Aggressive Communication

Aggressive communication always involves manipulation. We may attempt to make people do what we want by inducing guilt (hurt) or by using intimidation and control tactics (anger). Covert or overt, we simply want our needs met – and right now! Although there are a few arenas where aggressive behavior is called for (i.e., sports or war), it will never work in a relationship. Ironically, the more aggressive sports rely heavily on team members and rational coaching strategies.

Passive Communication

Passive communication is based on compliance and hopes to avoid confrontation at all costs. In this mode we don’t talk much, question even less, and actually do very little. We just don’t want to rock the boat. Passives have learned that it is safer not to react and better to disappear than to stand up and be noticed.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

A combination of styles, passive-aggressive avoids direct confrontation (passive), but attempts to get even through manipulation (aggressive). If you’ve ever thought about making that certain someone who needs to be “taught a thing or two” suffer (even just a teeny bit), you’ve stepped pretty close to (if not on into) the devious and sneaky world of the passive-aggressive.

So now what?

Clearly, for many reasons, the only healthy communication style is assertive communication. Surely you can identify many people in your own life that favor each of the four styles. Most of us use a combination of these four styles, depending on the person or situation. The styles we choose generally depend on what our past experiences have taught us will work best to get our needs met in each specific situation. If you take a really good look at yourself, you’ve probably used each throughout your lifetime.

Understanding the four basic types of communication will help you learn how to react most effectively when confronted with a difficult person. It will also help you recognize when you are using manipulative behavior to get your own needs met. Remember, you always have a choice as to which communication style you use. If you’re serious about taking control of your life, practice being more assertive. It will help you diffuse anger, reduce guilt and build relationships – both personally and professionally.

Take Action!

Begin to pay attention to which communication styles you use throughout the day. How often do you use a communication style other than assertive?

Watch and identify the communication styles some of the difficult people in your life use. Can you begin to notice how others use manipulative techniques to get their way.

– Connie Podesta

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.