Tag Archive for listening

Expressing Yourself for Success

Most people believe they are pretty good communicators. But you aren’t most people, right?

How well you express yourself determines how successful you’ll be in business and in life. The real question is are you continuously upgrading your communication skills or are you content with…”my skills work well enough”?

Here are 5 questions  you’ll want to ask yourself if you want to know if you’re expressing yourself successfully:

1. Are you sending a clear, concise message when you speak? I s your message organized? Is your message free of jargon and lingo…not everyone speaks the same language you do. Is your message organized so others can easily follow what you’re saying.

2. Can you be heard? Is your volume loud enough and your enunciation crisp and clear? Are you speaking from your mouth or from your lungs? Are you using your breath to your advantage.

3. Do you ask for and listen to feedback? Want real growth? This is a fast way to up-level your skills and gain a new perspective. Ask people you trust to give you an honest assessment of your ability to express yourself clearly.

4. Have you considered how each receiver of your message might be filtering your message? Do you check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended? Ask clarifying questions, pause and give the recipient time to process before assuming they understood your message as you intended.

5. Is your message visually, verbally and vocally congruent? Does your body say one thing while your words say another? Does your voice negate your words? If these 3 components aren’t working together to send the same message your body language will often outweigh your words.

If these questions got you thinking you’ll want to pick up a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. (Oh, and don’t forget to grab the Free 6 part Audio Series on Powerfully Communication- just add your name and email in the boxes on the right.)

Don’t Wait to Communicate – Here’s Why

Fearful of Asking for Feedback?

Do you ask for and listen to feedback from the people that can help you the most? Co-workers, clients, the CEO and, of course, customers are you biggest source to unlocking your professional growth or increasing your business.

Most people are afraid to hear the unvarnished truth about themselves or your business but feedback is like exercise…rebuilding the tiny tears in your muscles after a good workout is what makes you stronger. Listen to others with the intent to grow stronger and the tiny tears in your ego can blossom into your becoming a more empathic individual. And that’s good for you and your business.

Ask the right questions and listen without judging. Decide what might be true and then commit to making changes. Try it.

Learn more communication tips in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Learn more here.

Communicating at Work – Know When to Shut Up!

Okay, it’s not the nicest title but I bet it got your attention. More so, I bet it brought to mind a very specific person that would benefit from reading this post. Am I right?

If the person that came to mind is you–congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step to making a change.

Why is it so difficult for some people to say only what’s needed and no more?

Well, some people …

…fail to stop talking because they can’t handle silence.

… think more words will sell whatever it is they are selling including themselves.

… think they are so  interesting  and feel compelled to tell it all and then some.

… have no self-awareness. Yes, this is a big one.

… have little confidence in their abilities so talking covers up the fear of being asked a question he can’t answer.

You get the point, I could go on and on.

So, when do you shut up and how do you stop yourself once you’re on a rant? Read more

Workplace Communication – 5 Mistakes that can Damage Your Career

Open up a place in the conversation so your listener can fit in.” I made this assertion a while ago and I swear by it even today. You need to give space to your listener so that the conversation gets initiated, and converts from a monologue to a dialog and eventually into a mutually beneficial business relationship.

Excellent listeners, regardless of their job function, brand themselves as leaders. It’s a natural process. Poor listeners can damage their careers and never know why. I wrote about this a couple of months ago and recent interactions with those that commented have made my resolutions stronger. The basis of my article then was to shortlist 5 basic mistakes that people made while communicating in the workplace and I would like to restatethem:

Mistake # 1 – Judging rather than Focusing.  Critical to avoid if you intend to have an honest and fruitfulconversation. You MUST focus on the other person’s conversation rather than his or her clothes, accent or appearance. Stop judging the speech pattern, accent, presentation or mannerisms and instead listen to the message. You need to focus on the value of the content he or she is providing. Suspending your judgment for a short time might lead you to learn something helpful or important.

Mistake # 2 – Making Assumptions. Do you always know more than the speaker? Should you always start and continue a conversation with a preconceived notion? Do you use phrases such as “I know that already” before you have heard a complete sentence? The message you send is, “I know more than you do, so let me help you out.” This is not only rude behavior but it will brand you as a “know it all.” Learn to listen patiently.

Mistake # 3 – Correcting and Disagreeing. Let the speaker complete his chain of thought and deliver what he or she wants to convey before you jump to tell him or her that he or she is incorrect. Give the other person a chance to put across his or her point. Don’t be a conversation breaker. You might have missed a key point and this might turn out to be a major insight into something that eluded your consideration.

Mistake # 4 – Impatient Behavior. A strict No.  Don’t let the speaker feel that you are wasting your time conversing with him. Be patient and give the speaker his due. When you tend to lose interest in a conversation, either excuse yourself, if appropriate, or change the direction of the conversation by asking questions.  Remember, your non-verbal communication speaks loudly, meaning your foot tapping or turned shoulders will show your impatience, even if you never say a word. Even if someone has a boring delivery, shift your outlook and you’ll likely learn something.

Mistake # 5 –- Failure to listen to the entire message. You need to understand the message in its totality before jumping to conclusions. Don’t get stuck to a single point in a conversation and lose the bigger picture. Don’t react emotionally to a single idea and leave the others aside.

Learn to develop listening skills and you are sure to become a great communicator. The essence to great conversation is space for each speaker to put in his or her point. If you master this, you are sure to raise the level of your business relationships and help your career.

These tips and more like them can be found in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Pick up a copy today–you owe it to yourself. Click the book image on the right or go to Amazon.com.

Communication Mistakes – Listening or Making Assumptions?

Active and attentive listening is not always easy to do-but it is critical to success.  Poor listeners can damage their reputation and hurt their careers. Today I want to talk a bit about making assumptions vs. really listening.

You might be making assumptions if you answer yes or sometimes to the following questions: Do you frequently finish other people’s sentences? Do you use phrases such as “I already know that” before your have heard a complete sentence?

If you do the message you send is, “I know more than you do, so let me help you out.” This is not only rude (and arrogant) but it will brand you as a know-it-all.

Instead listen patiently, ask clarifying questions, and paraphrase the speaker’s words to ensure you really do comprehend what they are saying and intending. Seek to understand the speaker before making suppositions. This positive behavior will brand you as an excellent communicator.

What do think?

Excerpt from the book Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Pick up your copy at Amazon today.

Communicating with Powerful Questions

Asking questions can be one of the best ways to enhance a conversation, but the wrong questions can actually hinder conversation. Not all questions are created equal! Open-ended questions are friendlier and more effective than closed-ended questions. They usually start with “What” or “How”.

Here are some examples of how to change closed-ended questions into open-ended questions:

Instead of “Did you like it?” you could ask, “What did you like about it?” or “How did you like it?”

Ever try to get information from a team member or co-worker and received one or two word answers? Get more specific with the questions above.

Instead of “Are you upset?” you could ask “What’s bothering you?” or “Tell me more about how you are feeling?”

This works at home as well as at work.

Instead of “Would you like to do something else?” or you could ask “What would you like to do?” or “What would just make your day?”

Truly an invitation to share!

Instead of “Any questions?” you could ask “What questions do you have?” or “Who has the first question?”

Commit this one to memory!

Using open-ended questions requires effort. However, the effort is well worth it, especially in a tense situation. The next time you are in a tense conversation, make your questions open-ended, and watch the dynamic change. You will have a much better conversation, and the other person will appreciate your communication skills.


Get your copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up – The bonus downloads are chock full of the critical communication answers you’ve been asking about. Get your book here!

Communication Tip – Turning Resistance into Cooperation

More Quick Tips from Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up (Volume 1)

Listening Mistake that can Hurt Your Career from “Misunderstood!”

Mistake: Making assumptions. Do you frequently finish other people’s sentences? Are you guilty of using the phrase, “I know that already” before you have heard a complete sentence?

The message you send is, “I know more than you do, so let me help you out.” This is not only rude behavior, but it will brand you as a “know-it-all.”

Instead, listen patiently, ask clarifying questions, and paraphrase the speaker’s words. Seek to understand the speaker and their message before making suppositions. This positive behavior will brand you as an excellent communicator.

Copyright 2010 Allie Casey. Excerpt from my soon to be available book  Misunderstood! the Fast Guide to Communicating at Work-What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. If you haven’t received your FREE 6-part audio series – The Power of Effective Communication” then get it now. Just enter your name and email in the boxes on the upper right for instant access.

Communication Begins Before You Start Speaking

Communication starts before you begin speaking. If you find that you’re frequently misunderstood then it’s time you take a look at yourself for the problem.

You must consider how your listener might be filtering your message. Is there a language barrier? If  your listener speaks a different language interpreting your message may lag behind the pace of your speaking.

Do you have different cultural backgrounds, religion, education or positions? These differences could color the way your message is received.

Is your listener emotionally stable or distracted by a physical ailment? He or she may find it difficult to focus on your conversation. Do you like each other? If not, everything you say may be heard in a negative light.

Practice observing your listener for signs of confusion. Check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended.  Be a responsible communicator to avoid misunderstandings.

From  my new book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up — coming soon. Watch for it. In the meantime, get your FREE 6-part audio series, The Power of Effective Communication simply by entering your name and email in the box to your right.