Monday, January 25, 2010

How Do People Make Choices?

When it comes to people, we make choices based on an ideal that was placed in our minds. It has to be based first on how we look. Does the clothing we have chosen to wear seem to us to be appropriate and attractive. Then the concern is about how we move. Or put another way, the first concerns about us as people boils down to do look good and move well. With more experience we begin to ask questions about when and where we are seen.

Neither fair nor accurate, but commonly used tests on whether we want to know more about them as well as spend time with them. That is one of the huge problems with non-verbal communication. It is ambiguous and under the control of someone else. So what are some of the things we ought to consider if we want to be "attractive" to other individuals.

First, you must have in mind the individuals or groups to which you want to be attractive. To this extent learn as much as possible about those that you want to feel attracted to you. Where are they? How do they dress? How do they move? When are they on display? With the answers to these questions you are able to present yourself at the proper time looking like one of their potential friends/associates and you are doing what they would expect of anyone that might be allowed into their circle.

Keep in mind that everybody is busy, and some more so than others. They may not want to "waste" any time on individuals that don't fit their expectations. In our culture, everybody is busy and they are primarily interested in doing what furthers their goals. Keep their effort to accept you to an absolute minimum. Look, sound, move and act like the folk they have already decided to travel with. Now you will not appear to be a waste of their time.

A bulk of what we have just thought about is non-verbal. Something about which we spend too little time thinking. You can't spend too much time or thought about these non-verbals because they are going to play a major role in 1) who you're going to live with, 2) where you are going to work and 3) how much money you're going to make.

After you've been accepted enough to begin talking to each other you can further define you non-verbals. The only way for you to control the meaning of your non-verbals is over time and with your words. Don't allow others to interpret your non-verbals without a plan or the hope of further definition. Communication is tough. Treat it with respect.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Works

So you find yourself, like so many of us, in the middle of an argument (fight) with your significant other. You know that you are “right” and that there is no other position than the one you have taken. Unfortunately, you’re being “right” doesn’t solve the problem. What you need now is a way to say two things at the same time.

There is a way: touch is a fantastic tool. For example, try putting your arms around the significant other and then continue the discussion, or whatever it is. You’ll find that the reassurance of the hug does a great deal to change the tone and feeling of the discussion. It is saying non-verbally, you are part of me and I’m part of you even thought we are tangled in a discussion at the moment. With some of the emotion removed by the reassurance the discussion may not be as damaging.

Even though this method works, as usual it depends on you always being consistent and honest in your relationship. It doesn’t work for those who are apparently untrustworthy. Be trustworthy at all times.

An additional problem: even though you are convinced that you are correct, take into consideration that at one time you thought there was a Santa Claus only to discover that that idea may not be true. So you changed your position on Santa and moved on. In this discussion/fight, you might be incorrect. Consider it. . .there is the possibility that you have overlooked something and your partner is correct.

Being right is valuable. But be certain that you are right before you destroy anything. Listen, ask questions, consider and provide information that you “know to be true.” Keep in mind that communication is a process, just like the rest of your life. Relationships are processes. Treat them like a work in progress and use all your tools: verbal and nonverbal (hugs.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Communication and Goals

It should be obvious I suppose that our success is almost entirely dependent on communication. But, I think it is easy to imagine that there are other and possibly more important elements that may lead to our success.

Business leaders continue to point out that they need people who are in general capable and are skilled communicators. They can teach you many of the things that you will need to be employed by them, but the communication skills you have are the basis for the relationship.

From the beginnings of our life until we die people around us know things about us because of non-verbal and verbal communications. This awareness allows for the development of relationships. If they are comfortable that we will “fit” or be able to accomplish specific goals then they push us forward in a variety of ways. They make it possible for us to attend schools, gain experiences that will broaden us, habits that will provide the best possible environment for our minds and bodies. It is a social investment in our future.

Sometimes this social investment is made by family members and friends. At other times social investments are made by teachers, coaches and acquaintances. Why would they do such a thing? Because they think it is the right thing to do and other times it plainly selfish: they recognize you capabilities and advance them as much as possible for the rewards spiritual and material that are available.

But, center to this process is our ability to express ourselves (communicate), encouraging the folk around us to make our trip through life as smooth as possible. The lesson we should take from this thought is simple: think about what you are saying non-verbally and verbally as much as you possibly can. Allow others to see in you what you are hoping to accomplish in life or at least the things that you are that might be useful to others.

In short: communicate deliberately and constantly. Another word for this might very well be network.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Keep In Mind

Each of us sets goals. Often that happens at the beginning of a new quarter, new relationship or a new year. Often we fail to reach those goals. The good thing that we have done is set goals. The crazy thing we tend to do is not adjust our lives.

This thought is attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Clearly, it didn’t work last time, so what has changed that makes us think that this time it will work. Instead, we must make changes.

Those changes very often boil down to time. How much time am I willing to devote to success in this new goal I’ve set? In the case of relationships, how much time am I willing to spend with someone significant in my life. Or am I going to count on increased repetition of the idea that, “Indeed, you are my best friend.”

The KIPP Academy concept of time spent on task has been proven by them to be successful. Their program begins at about 7:30 AM and there are still students on campus at 7 PM. They attend into what most think of as summer vacation time by about a month. And they take the time that is necessary to cover and understand the concepts before them.

One of the problems we all face is an idea that has been buried in our minds. It suggests to us every day that if we can catch on to a new idea quickly, we’re smart and others will see and notice. If it takes quite a bit of time and involves asking questions then we must have been shortchanged in the brain department. Who cares anyway? You are going to live your whole life with you, not the teacher or fellow students. You need the concepts that are before you and so it is important that you do what it takes to understand and retain those concepts.

In addition, it has been my experience that only a handful of times has anyone asked me what grades I got when I was in school, or what schools I attended. Instead, they want to know if I can do the job. Set goals! Make the goals reasonable and attainable. Make the changes necessary, probably more time spent, and reach those goals. It may take me longer to get there following this plan, but when I get there I will have achieved my goal which is success in its own right.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Why Be Concerned About Communication

Almost everyone has hopes and dreams that represent the goals we have for our lives. Some of them seem pretty far fetched, but others represent goals that we think we should be able to achieve.

Almost nobody focuses on what it is going to take to reach even the smallest of our goals. Now is the time, if you haven’t started already, to focus on how to achieve your goals.

If you want/need anything what is most often used to satisfy the situation? Communication is the answer. We must communicate with others. Sometimes it is just one other person we communicate with and we call that interpersonal communication. Communication with one other person may very well be the most important form of communication for any of us. It is through this form of communication that we gain friends, lovers, mates, jobs, and meals prepared to our liking.

The more we know about communication the more likely it is that we can achieve long lasting relationships, desirable employment as well as products and services that we request. Many of us can do the simple things in communication such as, “Please pass the salt,” and actually get the salt. That is important. But, far more important is letting someone special know that you think they are special and that you would like to spend time with them. That’s not easy.

That’s the kind of thing that makes the study of communication important. Things like, “I think that I would make an excellent addition to your staff,” said in the proper way becomes extremely important. With things this important we should give ourselves every advantage. That’s why we should all spend as much time as possible learning/improving our communication skills.