Friday, October 30, 2009

Ya Can't Please 'Em!

Do you worry about what other people think? Do you waste a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what people want you to be? Then, stop it NOW! It's wasted energy and it's not getting you ANYWHERE!

Worrying about what other people think is dangerous, because it puts you in a position to "cave."

Face these facts:
  • You cannot please everybody
  • It's not necessary to please everybody
  • Rejection will not ruin your life

Just 1 Page . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Look for the Feathers"

“Look for the Feathers”

We are all works in progress. Whether you believe it or not, you’re here to accomplish some things. And, if you don’t learn or accomplish them, they are bound to repeat themselves.

When I’m out of sorts, I meditate. I’m always amazed at the result of a “conscious meditation.” A conscious meditation is one where you have an issue or a question that needs an answer. You get quiet and go within. You ask the question and usually, you get an answer -- sometimes not what you wanted to hear and sometimes cryptic. In this case, my answer was both -- something I didn’t want to address, mixed with something I didn’t understand. I don’t remember what the exact issue was. What I do remember is how I was led to an enlightening moment...

When I went into this meditation, I saw violence all around me -- meteors, explosions and crashes. When I asked my spiritual guide about the significance, I was told it represented anger in that I wasn’t balanced and if I continued in the direction I was headed, that my stress level would get out of control. Before I came out of the meditation, I heard “Look for the feathers.” I thought this was odd but knew that a meditation message is cryptic for a reason.

After the meditation, I went out to clear my head. I visited an area that had a waterfall and ducks. It was relaxing. I walked along the grass and just as I was about to leave I looked down and saw a feather. “Hmm” I thought, “Look for the feathers” was my message. What could that mean? I looked around and saw another feather and then another. Those feathers formed a trail that led me down a path into the forest preserves. I continued following this path until I reached a brick wall. The wall was part of a dam. I couldn’t go any further so I turned around. I was amazed to find an illuminated path. The sun was positioned in a way that it illuminated the path that I had just traveled. There were some parts that were very bright and clear. There were  parts that were shaded and dark.

What was I led to see? The illuminated parts represented my strengths or the things that I needed to appreciate.

The dark parts represented my dark side and what I needed to heal and let go of.

“Look for the Feathers”

It’s taken me years to heal those “dark sided” issues. It’s been a struggle but now I’m over it.

What dark side needs healing -- addiction, infidelity, cheating? How committed are you to changing it?

Each of us has issues that need to be released and healed. But they only become illuminated when you look for them!

“Look for The Feathers”

Begin your psychological and spiritual healing today!

Just 1 Page . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Your Voice!

Ever hear a voice on the radio and then see the person connected to it? It can be mind boggling. Does your voice match the person you want to be?

Your voice is a powerful channel for communicating ideas and feelings. You communicate your personal needs and patterns through intonational patterns.

The prosody of your voice is flexible. It varies with your moods, thoughts and feelings. You have 3 elements to your voice 1) pitch, 2) loudness and 3) quality. Your pitch is the highness or lowness of a sound. It is a psychological entity and rests with the size and shape of your vocal cords.

Loudness can be described in two ways. One is the overall loudness level. You may talk louder to another person. This may happen when you're excited or angry. In these cases, your voice is loud in relation to the level of loudness in a conversation. At other times, a loud level is selected for a message. Here, loudness is varied within a phrase or a sentence. It is identified as the stress. We may stress certain words by pronouncing them louder or softer than the words surrounding them.

The quality can be defined as the permanent background of the voice. Some descriptors would be breathy: a whispering tone where breath noticeably escapes. It is soft and does not carry well. The listener strains to hear and communication suffers.  Harsh: characterized as hard or raspy.  Nasal: a whiny quality identified as "talking through the nose." Denasal: a stuffy quality where the voice sounds bottled up, commonly known as "the cold in the nose."

The BEST way to communicate is to use your voice!

Just 1 Page . . .

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Master of Disguise

A woman grew up in a large home. She was the youngest. It had ramifications, especially when she spoke to her parents. Multiple siblings interrupted her communication time. As a result, she blurted, or waited for the others. Both had consequences. When she was "first," her rate was excessive. When she was "last," her  rate was slow. As a result, she developed an unnatural speaking rhythm.

Her family did not discuss personal issues; consequently, her speaking rate was never addressed. It was ingrained. Her nature was to hide or divert attention from it.

She became a master of disguise. She persued  jobs that didn't require communication, and avoided social situations.

One day, she was watching a talk show. "Change your life," was the topic. It spoke to her. She realized her coping measures weren't appropriate. It was time to change. She read books, took speech classes, and joined a support group. What can you learn from this? Your speaking rate calls attention to itself when there is a break in the natural flow or rhythm of it.

Just 1 Page . . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How Do You Rate?

To speed up or to slow down? Where do you fit? If you are cautious and speak slowly, or fast, when you are rushed; you will undoubtedly cause a communication breakdown.

Everyone has trouble understanding an impatient waiter or a rushed store clerk. We tend to feel  uneasy around them. They fail to transmit information at an understandable rate and may be so concerned with moving on, that word repetitions result. People are used to hearing communication at an even pace. When a "hurry-up" personality exhibits word repetitions, it can be a frustrating experience.

Let's look at the flip side -- the slow speaker. They can prolong words or hesitate before speaking. They can be labeled as dull or uninteresting.  In actuality, they are neither. They may be troubled by a lack of confidence, and their slow response time may be the result of feeling unworthy, fear of being wrong, or feeling intellectually inadequate. Unfortunately, they seldom realize the frustration of this speaking rate, and people may avoid them.

Granted, a simple speed  change can improve your rate provided you improve your personal awareness, practice, and commit yourself.

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Your Language Skills!

A woman  worked on an assembly line for a chemical company. By nature, she was a loner. She was uncomfortable mixing with others. She spent coffee and lunch breaks reading her soap opera magazines.

One day, the corporate structure changed. The company merged and the woman's department was downsized. Since she had seniority, she was moved to the last available job -- the company receptionist. While she was glad to stay with the company, she was apprehensive about the new position. Her new responsibilities involved answering the phone and greeting new clients. In essence, she was the first person that people encountered.

Her workday drastically changed. She went from a quiet to a chaotic environment. The phone constantly rang. Clients were in and out. She misunderstood their questions, and was unable to pronounce many of the product names. As a result, she made many inappropriate department referrals and clients hung up in frustration due to her language skills. The company lost many clients.  What can you learn from this? Language is like a dress. Vary it to suit the occasion.

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not Just a Bunch of Words!

Take a look at your language! It's not just a bunch of words thrown together. It is your passport to communication and it is a result of your past and present life experience.

Your language is connected to content, form  and use.

Content is the underlying meaning of what you want to say. Form is your vocabulary or the grammar. Use is your purpose or context. All three are interconnected.

Your  content is ineffective when you are unable to follow directions because they are detailed and complicated, or unable to express your thoughts because you don't have a handle on your vocabulary.

Your form is ineffective when your sentences are grammatically incorrect.

Your use is ineffective when you can't use vocabulary for certain situations or can't maintain a conversation.

Pay attention to your language and how it comes across!

Just  1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Value Each Encounter

A woman grew up and lived in a low socioeconomic area. Many people from her neighborhood weren't conscious of how they spoke. The woman realized environmental influence on communication, and wanted to better herself. She took a couple of night classes. Unfortunately, none of them delved into the complexities of communication.

Her minister asked her to do a reading for the congregation. She agreed. She practiced and the day came. As she spoke, she noticed the peoples' reactions. She could hear them snicker and luagh. She left the church, sat in her car and wept. She did not understand her articulation patterns. As a result, when she had an audience, she misarticulated, and people laughed. What can you learn from this? The more you value your articulation, the more you will want to express it. Value each encounter as an expression.

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Distinct Speech

Distinct speech is often a reliable indication of your mental and physical alertness. When speech is not distinct, it can be attributed to personality or emotional disturbances, problems with your health, your hearing. Your environment and social conditioning have a great deal to do with it.

Sometimes, people articulate carelessly. Yes, their message is sloppy. You could probably name a couple of people who have careless speech.

What are some of the patterns you need to look for? There are some people that omit sounds. They "mumble." As a result, give me comes out as gimme; thinking becomes thinkin; going to changes into gonna; and recognize and understand turn into rekuhnize and unnerstan. This pattern  is a serious one since people make use of the sounds to verify your communication intent. If you omit them to save time, you do a disservice to yourself and listener, since they have to fill in the blanks with the sounds that you leave out.

Sometimes, people substitute sounds. They exchange one sound for another. Usually, an incorrect sound is substituted for the correct one: these, them, those are heard as deze, dem, doze.

They can also distort sounds. Barbara  Walters distorts her "r" sounds.

Do you want distinct speech? Then pay attention to your articulation!

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Your history!

A teacher loved his job. He enjoyed his students for their spontaneity, fun and the challenges they brought. He enjoyed the age group and felt comfortable with them.

A local university needed him to teach a class. He jumped at the offer and prepared for it. The day arrived. As he drove to the university, he reflected on his experiences -- where he grew up and where he was educated. He reflected on his parents and their experiences. He became uncomfortable with what he saw.

He started to panic. He thought he wasn't articulate, or knowledgeable enough to communicate with older people. He recognized why he taught younger students. His grade level choice gave him an advantage due to his age. This new teaching assignment would give him an opportunity to see another part of himself. As he spoke for the first time, he noticed the students' reactions. They posed questions. They laughed at his jokes. They were participating! This went on for months and with the completion of the semester, came the students' course evaluations. As he opened them, he saw what an exceptional job he did.

It was after a semester of teaching that he realized his environment did shape his communication. He was so concerned with what he thought was a negative history, that he neglected his past experiences, as preparation for such a great opportunity and career move. What can you learn from this? Your environment shapes your ability to communicate. Look at your history to see how you got there!

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Your Experiences!

How have your experiences shaped your communication skills? Can you answer that question? If you've never thought about it, maybe it's time you did! Your experiences and environment shape how you communicate. There are 2 types of communication systems -- open and closed. If you grew up in an open system, it was characterized by "open and honest." In that system, you operated as a whole. The actions of one person affected the actions of others. Decisions and discussions were a joint effort. All family members were encouraged to share their ideas and feedback was positive.

If you grew up in an environment where you "were seen but not heard," your communication skills were part of a closed system. You may find situations that challenge you to "speak up," yet you are frozen with fear. If you are unable to recognize that your experiences and environment undermine communication, you will not understand why you are fearful. You don't have a map to follow that will point you in the direction of change. When you are "closed,"  you are operating as an individual and you have a prescribed status. Authority figures (parents) make the decisions  for you. Negativity and criticism are a part of this model.

FYI -- more people are familiar with a closed model of communication.

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Going "Inside"

A businessman sought a speech consultation. His colleagues and spouse told him he didn't communicate well. Past clients no longer sought his business services.

He arrived for the consultation and the consultant described the assessment. A part of it involved a history. The history was important, for it explained the man's past, and served as a framework for changing his skills.

The assessment began with easy questions but they shifted. As they did, the man became agitated. Though the questions were essential, and were needed as a plan for future consultations; they placed him within his intrinsicness, prompting frustration and uncertainty. The man recognized this. He had not developed the inner checks and balance system essential to monitoring his behavior. He had never gone inside to really understand himself. What can you learn from this? Going inside helps you to monitor your communication. Listening to that inner voice, helps you see how others see you.

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The "Inside"

Intrinsicness is essential for communication. You may never have heard the word, but it is always working and always a part of you. You may choose to identify it as your intuition or an "inner" tool available for your use, whenever you need it. It guides you to stand up and walk, and it will guide you  when you want to communicate.

Think of it as an inner gauge directing your acquisition of communicating. Through practice and discovery, you will demonstrate the creativity that you want. However, in order for it to work, three behaviors need to be present: 1) there needs to be a readiness, 2) you have to want to practice, and  finally 3) you have to trust the process.

The readiness factor is easiest to explain -- it involves your body and your brain. Are you over 18? Then, your body and brain are ready! What may need work is your readiness for new communication situations. For some, this may be overwhelming, since you would challenge your comfort zone. Are you ready to see another part of yourself?

Now, let's take a look at practicing. Let's say you've taken a class on public speaking, and your church has asked you to be a speaker. It's a small forum and a good start. You know that there is a readiness; it's now time to put your knowledge to the test. You get up in front of the group and start your presentation. As you speak, you notice some of your points have not been understood. You see that revisions are necessary and this is essential to meeting the needs of your audience. Think of this behavior as a "checks and balance" system. You try out a new behavior and will revise it. This is based on your reactions, and the reactions from your listeners.

Last, but not least, is the trust factor. This is important for those that want a "quick fix." If you think you'll get better overnight, think again. Any type of change occurs over time. You have to take a leap of faith that when you are ready, the right situations will materialize for practice.

Your intrinsicness is the "inside." That's where ALL communication begins!

Just 1 Page . . . to empower and communicate!