Email started out as a communication improvement – instantaneous and convenient. Now, it is often a cross to bear – cumbersome and endless. Writing takes time and sometimes your emails are not even read – holding up projects and causing frustrations and inefficiencies.
A recent New York Times article, Your Colleagues Don’t Read Anything You Write. Here Are 8 Ways to Change That by Aaron Orendorff focuses on how you write emails and offers some worthwhile tips to keep them short and get them read.
• Write less often
• Use fewer words
• Put action words in your subject line
• Listen more, “talk” less
• Don’t answer, ask
• Invert the order; lead with the need
• Write a people proof TL;DR
• Don’t make it about you or “them”
If you find the suggestions in the article useful, give yourself a challenge. Follow them for a week and see if your email burden is lighter and your communications improve.
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Your skill as a communicator has a lot to do with understanding what goes on beneath the surface of an interaction you have with another person. Each person has hidden factors – emotions, fears, conditionings, negative experiences – that affect their interactions with others, as do you. These hidden factors can have a major impact on how you interact.
It may not be possible to readily identify these hidden factors in another. However, your awareness that they exist creates a “knowing” that goes beyond the surficial aspects of an interaction, helping you to stay away from negativity or friction. Try some observing of your communications with others. See if you can develop awareness of any hidden factors that are present. Examine the hidden factors that affect your interactions with certain people. In doing so, you will develop an awareness that you did not have before and your communication skills will sharpen and grow.
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If you can read minds that is quite a talent! If you cannot, why would you think you know what another person is thinking? Communication is central to the proper functioning of organizations. Best that you develop your emotional intelligence so that, in lieu of reading minds, you can benefit from sensing the hidden and not-so-hidden cues others give you regarding what they are thinking.
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As a coach, practicing active listening is essential. I recently read an article, How the Korean Concept of ‘Nunchi’ Can Help You Listen to Your Needs. The article defines Nunchi as the act of being able to pick up on someone else’s emotions and respond in the best way possible. It goes on to advise that you practice Nunchi by actively listening to yourself, as well.
How good a listener are you, both to yourself and to others? It is a key skill in the workplace. Sure, there are many who succeed without listening. However, what kind of success are you looking for? Practicing Nunchi brings you far in dealing with others, as well as with yourself. It gives you an advantage that is well worth having.
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In my last post, I wrote about the importance of how you treat people. A recent Medium article by Benjamin P. Hardy has some interesting advice on how to interact with others: treat everyone as if they are dealing with serious challenges.
I find this advice intriguing. In order to follow it, you turn around the norms of interaction and make big assumptions, that may not be true. The power in this, however, is that you treat every person with kindness and compassion, whether their present circumstances are challenging or not. If this is the concept that gets you there, so be it.
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Knowing how you treat people is an aspect of emotional intelligence. How you communicate with others directly impacts the nature of your interactions. For example, if you treat people with respect, you may get respect in return. If you are rushed in your communications because you have things to do, others may feel disregarded. Of course, your ways of treating others may vary according to the nature of your day and the person you are interacting with.
How do you treat others? What are the values and methods of communication you employ? Do your own emotions affect how you treat others? Does how people treat you impact your communication?
Take a moment to reflect on how you treat people. Doing so can lead to better communication and less stressful interactions with others.
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Do you know your true voice? You may not speak your true voice in every encounter; however, there are some encounters where it is essential. Your true voice comes from within. It embodies your values, reflects your integrity, sets your boundaries and protects you.
Things can get sticky when you do not know or speak your true voice. Others can take advantage of or manipulate you. You can be forced into situations that do not honor your values or boundaries. If you have yet to find your true voice, here are some questions to answer that can get you started:
• What is non-negotiable in your life – things you will not do?
• What are your three most important values?
• What lines can people not cross with you?
Your true voice is the expression of you. Know it and your path will be illuminated, leading to a centered and fulfilling life.
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Sometimes, you can find yourself in situations you may describe as “tricky”. These situations can involve delicate egos, poor performance, hidden agendas, miscommunication, polarity or other things that make dealing with them difficult. Many times, the consequences of a misstep are significant.
What do you do when you find yourself in a tricky situation? Best to center yourself, use emotional intelligence, think things out carefully, figure out a strategy and do your best to tone down the situation. Most of all, be aware that you are in a tricky circumstance and need to keep your interests front and center.
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If tomorrow you talked only half as much as you would on a normal day, what do you think your day would be like? Our society overemphasizes verbal communication.
There are many ways to give and receive information and to communicate with others. What if you took a walk in silence and observed visually? What if you looked for signs from others, communicated by their body language? What if you discerned how others were feeling by their facial expressions? What if you created something non verbal to express your feelings or ideas to another person?
Try decreasing your reliance on communicating verbally. You may be pleasantly surprised by what other types of communication you can use to inform and understand others.
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1. What “button” of yours has the situation pushed? What is the source of your defensive feeling?
2. Is it a good idea to remove yourself from the situation for a time to center and assess before you respond?
3. If another person is involved, what does your emotional intelligence tell you is the most effective way to respond to them?
4. Is the situation even worth responding to or is it more effective to walk away?
5. What is the source of your defensiveness? What are you protecting yourself from?
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