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Saying No: A beginner’s guide

No, non, nada, nyet—how we say no in different languages. Nein is the German word for no. Nein sounds the same as the English word nine, which means one less than 10. According to researchers, nine is also the number of times kids expect to ask their parents for something before getting it. Nine. Can…

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Conversation Skills: Are you sharing or monopolizing?

Sitting in a coffee shop listening to two women talk over each other, I am reminded of that apt analogy of two TVs, both turned on and facing each other. Lots of words but little communication. We’re all guilty sometimes of talking at rather than to our listener; of delivering monologues instead of mutually exploring…

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Complaining: Committed vs Uncommitted

Committed complaining: have you heard of it? The idea is that we complain in two ways: committed or uncommitted to fixing the problem. Sometimes we’re just grousing: I’m cold, my office is cold, I hate working here, my boss is a nightmare… Uncommitted complaining begins and ends with the complaint. You don’t like something but…

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Are You an Interrupting Cow? How to be a better listener, and more popular too

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Interrupting Cow. Interrupting Cow wh– Moo! Are you an interrupting cow? How often do you allow a pause after someone’s finished speaking? Be honest, how often do you let people finish speaking? Interrupting is such a deeply ingrained habit for some that we don’t even notice when we do it. Kicking that habit…

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4 Wrong Reasons to Communicate

There’s a great acronym that makes me look smart and wise. It’s WAIT, and stands for Why Am I Talking? What a brilliant question to ask yourself! You might decide not to speak if your answer is any of the following: Gossip Is the “news” you’re sharing about someone else just veiled gossip? Even if it seems…

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4 Questions To Stop Asking

1. Are You Sure? This negates everything the speaker just said, which is rude and hurtful. You might ask this question because: You want to know if you can believe what the person just said, or if you can trust their source. A better response would be “How do you know this?” or “Please tell me…

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3 Great Speaking Tips (and my dad for free)

You know how, um, like, the kids talk these days? Sadly, it’s not just kids—many of us undermine ourselves with speech habits that make us seem uneducated, unprepared and unsure. Breaking those nasty little habits will improve your education, career, and relationships. Try these 3 simple exercises: Speak in full sentences. Can you say two complete…

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Negative Feedback: How to receive & respond to harsh responses

It’s easy to offend people—look at social media. Even if you’re not a puppy-kicking troll, chances are good that you will offend someone at least once in your life. Perhaps you purposely or accidentally did something wrong, or maybe it’s just a case of different values. In either situation you might receive negative feedback. Receiving criticism and negative feedback…

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The Power of Words

My heart broke as I watched a young dad yelling at his crying two-year-old. I wanted to swoop in, rescue the kid, and teach the dad how big and scary he was. The dad was obviously frustrated beyond belief, but yelling wasn’t a great choice. I too have felt that level of frustration, in my…

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