Communication Tips

Communication Tip #87

I just returned from Europe, and in England, I was fascinated by the differences in sentence structure.

Here’s an example: In a restaurant, we in the U.S. usually ask, “Where are the restrooms?”

One person said to me, “You Americans talk as if you rest or bathe in those rooms.”

In England the phrase is: “The toilet. Where is it?”

When I started saying those words—in that order, I was amazed that people immediately understood. Prior to that, they hesitated and some seemed confused.

In Italy and Germany airports and train stations, I also saw versions of the word “toilet” on signs and doors.

So, I’ve learned to not rely on the “restroom” euphemism abroad.

And all along, I thought I was “minding my manners.”

March 23, 2015

Communication Tip #86

Do you think of the opera (or a football game) as “Half over already?” or “Dear God, when will this ever end!?”

Words reinforce our positive attitudes or sabotage them.

Here are some negative phrases I have heard or read recently. How would you make them positive?

  • What I don’t do for you!
  • That’s no small request.
  • This isn’t an attempt to humiliate or intimidate you.
  • Isn’t that not cool?
  • He is no less committed than…
  • You are not wrong.
  • She doesn’t live far from here.
  • It’s not uncommon to talk this way.
February 24, 2015

Communication Tip #85

I just returned from Europe, and in England, I was fascinated by the differences in sentence structure.

Here’s an example: In a restaurant, we in the U.S. usually ask, “Where are the restrooms?”

One person said to me, “You Americans talk as if you rest or bathe in those rooms.”

In England the phrase is: “The toilet. Where is it?”

When I started saying those words—in that order, I was amazed that people immediately understood. Prior to that, they hesitated and some seemed confused.

In Italy and Germany airports and train stations, I also saw versions of the word “toilet” on signs and doors.

So, I’ve learned to not rely on the “restroom” euphemism abroad.

And all along, I thought I was “minding my manners.”

February 23, 2015

Communication Tip #84

Do you think of the opera (or a football game) as “Half over already?” or “Dear God, when will this ever end!?”

Words reinforce our positive attitudes or sabotage them.
Here are some negative phrases I have heard or read recently. How would you make them positive?

  • What I don’t do for you!
  • That’s no small request.
  • This isn’t an attempt to humiliate or intimidate you.
  • Isn’t that not cool?
  • He is no less committed than…
  • You are not wrong.
  • She doesn’t live far from here.
  • It’s not uncommon to talk this way.
February 6, 2015

Communication Tip #83

Between Steve and Jordan, Steve is taller.

Among Steve, Jordan, and Marcus, Marcus is tallest.

When referring to more than two people or things, use “between.” Use “among” when referring to three or more.

When comparing two people or things, end the adjectives with “er.” (or use “less, more or better”)

When comparing three or more, end the adjectives with “est.” (or use “least, most, or best”)

Incorrect usage: Among the two animals, Dinah is most rambunctious. Correct: Between the two animals, Dinah is more rambunctious.

Now you can make the better decision when faced with these two choices.

January 20, 2015

Communication Tip #82

Three words many people misuse:

  • PRODIGAL means being wastefully or recklessly extravagant. Being a spendthrift. It does not mean leaving home or falling into disgrace—except for that spendthrift thing.
  • PENULTIMATE means second to the last. It does not mean exceptional. This is my penultimate word. The last is the word awesome.
  • AWESOME describes something that is magnificent, horrendous, or inspires overwhelming inspiration or fear–anything that causes us to drop our jaws in awe. God, the Northern Lights, a multi-car pile-up are awesome. However, most clothes, TV shows, songs, everyday comments, etc., are not awesome. Please take an additional second to think of the appropriate adjective. I thank you for that.
December 15, 2014

Communication Tip #81

Just say “said.”

The words “like” and “go, goes, went” have become ubiquitous slang for “said:” I was like, “You won’t believe this!” And he goes, “Try me! So I went, “Okay!”

Regardless of the popularity, it’s not professional-speak, and your listeners are aware of that.

Imagine a news anchor saying (notice I didn’t say “going”), The CEO was like, “We enjoy helping our employees.”

Start today to eliminate “like, go, goes, and went” from your dialogue recreations—regardless of how exciting the story is!

December 8, 2014

Communication Tip #80

Effective paraphrasing requires paying attention, summarizing the messages, and clarifying / validating feelings.

My recommendation: Create and continually update a list of adjectives describing positive and negative feelings. That way, you will be prepared when stating, “This is what I HEARD you say…”

Examples:

  • You’re relieved the CEO approved the project and are eager and apprehensive to begin. Is that accurate?
  • You feel belittled and ignored being constantly passed over for a promotion.

People appreciate being listened to. Using the appropriate adjectives separates you from the person who says, “So, things are going well at work. Cool!”

November 10, 2014

Communication Tip #79

This morning I dropped off a document for my husband and thanked the receptionist for delivering it to him. She said, “No worries.”

I was taken aback because I had not thought to worry.

This is another example of a negative embedded command. It’s in the same category as “no problem.”

Remember, our mind skips over the words “no” and “not” (Do not think of a lime green squirrel: You have to first think of one before expunging the image. The same goes for worries and problem.)

Respond, instead, positively: “My pleasure, I’m happy to do that, any time, you are welcome, etc.”

October 27, 2014

Communication Tip #78

People will grow into the conversations you have around them and about them. Compliment people in front of others: colleagues, friends, family members. Also, choose stimulating conversations that set expectations and show you believe in the person. This, according to Business Author John C. Maxwell who recommends you then personally follow up on these third-party compliments with reaffirming, empowering comments.

What a positive, affirming way to begin this week!

October 6, 2014

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