Identity is at the core of how we interact with the world. As people, our subjective identities are ground-breaking indicators of the manner by which we react over an expansive scope of various circumstances.
To put it plainly, identity can be viewed as the hidden example of considerations and sentiments that impact what we are likely to do. For identity to influence our conduct along these lines, it should likewise be predictable and stable, albeit clearly it will be impacted by setting and culture. That is simply the circumstance you find yourself in (at work or home), and what is viewed as suitable and adequate.
At a hypothetical dimension analysts have considered identity for more than 100 years. Relatively as of late, in the course of the most recent 50 years, an accord has developed and there is presently understanding that the Five Factor Model (FFM) speaks to the best structure for human identity. Analysts concur that these five components catch the most imperative and essential identity contrasts between individuals; or as certain specialists depict them, they are the ‘essential shades’ of identity.
Underneath the five measurements are gatherings of characteristics. An individual who scores very high or low on a measurement is bound to score profoundly on the greater part of the qualities in that measurement, however not really every one of them. For instance an individual may score very on Extraversion and on the social qualities (for example intelligent, well disposed) related with it, yet not on the rush looking for characteristics (for example thrill-chasing, high-vitality) which are likewise connected with it, or the other way around.
The accompanying attributes are frequently connected with, and characterize, the five measurements:
Openness: Playful, inquisitive, inventive, innovative, liberal, looks for curiosity, forward looking/visionary.
Conscientiousness: Orderly, dedicated, sure (feeling of authority), accomplishment situated, dependable, self-restrained.
Extraversion: Active, vivacious, thrill-chasing, eager, emphatic, intuitive, well disposed.
Agreeableness: Accommodating, steadfast/trusting, caring, philanthropic, consistent, agreeable, excusing/tolerant.
Neuroticism: Calm, collected, positive, strong/vigorous, purposeful, agreeable, directed.
Being open to experiences is built into the core values of the individual, meaning that this is an internal trait. To be open is to be able to easily understand everyone’s feelings and emotions and be able to act accordingly. This means that you are in tune with others and want to be the person they come to in times of need. A humanitarian trait is present in high levels of openness, as everyone you meet is deemed as equal, worthy and deserving of justice. Openness allows people to try new things, embrace creativity and be unique individuals.
Scoring high means that you love to talk to others, are extremely sociable and thrive in group environments. Extraverts are not afraid to stand out in the crowd, and they seek excitement and happiness. Thriving in life is more important than being like everyone else in society. Strict, regulated rules do not appeal to extraversion, rather making new ones and trend setting is a more valuable trait. If you are extroverted you are genuinely a happy individual, looking at life through a positive lens and have a strong sense of self.
This trait is facilitated by compassion, giving to others, selflessness and empathy. People who are agreeable do not strive to be those who are powerful in society and do not value status, drive and ego driven tasks. They are a more go with the flow type of individual and feel the need to give back to the community. They have a large concern for underrepresented or devalued individuals in society and want to aid in bettering the lives of others. These individuals are more likely to be bubbly, outgoing, and inviting.
These individuals value order, structure, integrity and task-achievement, are extremely disciplined and are always looking to enhance their knowledge. They value stability, tradition and conformity to external factors.They are goal oriented, perform tasks effectively and thrive in a career setting.
Neuroticism is associated with the inability to handle emotions, low self-esteem and lack of self-control in situations. Often neurotic individuals struggle with the ability to remain stable and balanced. Neurotic individuals have difficulty with task completion, motivation and setting goals. These individuals seek spontaneity through pleasurable outcomes and situations.
Other factors that effect these personality traits are:
Identifying with a specific gender is a key factor in your results with The Big Five Personality Traits. Women are more likely to score higher in Neuroticism, and Agreeableness, as they are often in touch with their emotions, open to speaking about internal thoughts and are extremely assertive. The gender differences are more apparent in egalitarian countries that are thriving and have high rates of health. In these cultures women possess an individualistic trait meaning that they obtain diverse gender roles than in collectivist or traditional countries.
The differences in third world and developed countries differ, as the contrast between female and male gender roles are vast and extreme. Poorer countries can disallow such gender differences, in comparison to countries rich with resources. Males in these countries obtain more means to resources that allow them to develop fully into their potential. This means that without the same resources women lack the ability to develop fully, and do not have the ability to exhibit the same traits in society and culture as males do. In traditionalist third world countries, Men engage in more risky, dominant and achievement fulfilling roles in society, while women take on more nurturing cautious roles.
According to psychologists Frank Sulloway, the order in which you are born can have a significant effect on your personality trait due to the roles, behaviours and tendencies that you are accustom to throughout your upbringing. For example, first borns take on more responsibility which makes them more conscientious, more authoritative and less agreeable to others. They enjoy rules and structure and are less likely to introduce new ideas into their lives. With this being said, there is major debate and speculation amongst birth order in psychology and personality formation, as the constructs of the traditional family vary in contemporary culture. Additional theories suggest that individuals constantly adapt, conform and transform into the given society and culture they are immersed in.
The Big Five Personality Traits have been translated to fit the traditions, languages and cultures around the globe. Differences in individualism, power, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance causes a change in the big five traits. For example, a country that values individualism will effect its levels of extraversion, while as countries that accept inequalities in the hierarchical structures score higher on conscientiousness. Other factors of culture include, laws, political structures, values, ideological discourse and traditions, that influence the behaviours of individuals in a given system.
Identifying these personality traits and your percentage in each is valuable in relationships, the workplace and personal life. Knowing these traits will allow you to become more self-aware and better improve in the lacking areas of traits. Humans are extremely complex and embody a multitude of traits that make a person who they are. Here we can identify in what areas we thrive, and develop improvement strategies in order to overcome our weaknesses.
Obtaining self-knowledge allows an easy flow through the everyday challenges of life. People are often afraid of the clarity that comes with knowing themselves and how they operate in the world around them. It is bounded in truth and leaves everything on the table. For some, this is overwhelming, daunting and too real to comprehend. Understanding why we reacted in a certain way, why we are having internal feelings will allow us to adjust accordingly to a certain situation.
Being aware of how you feel gives you power. Identifying what makes you tick will allow you to be a better person overall. Knowing our flaws with allow us to strive for greatness, through the ability to constantly improve ourselves. We become insightful and aware human beings.
Emotional intelligence is defined by the Institute for Health and Human Potential as the awareness that our emotions greatly influence our behavior, and the behavior of others. The ability to manage and express emotions appropriately is necessary because it allows for greater success within the workplace, personal relationships, and with oneself. High emotional intelligence has benefits for one’s self awareness, self management, motivation, empathy and social skills. Discover helpful ways to improve these rewarding skills by checking out our tips below!
1. Listen to, and accept yourself
Take a moment to objectively observe how you feel at different points throughout the day. In the hustle and bustle of life in the 21st century, it’s easy to neglect our feelings in the interest of saving time. Re-familiarizing yourself with your emotions can help you to understand yourself and your behavior. Effective means of engaging in this observation are practicing yoga or meditation, journaling, or simply defining times throughout the day at which you will reflect momentarily.
2. Take responsibility
During this observatory time, take responsibility for your feelings. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and accept the way that you naturally react to things. Accepting your feelings will assist you in being able to ultimately control them. To do this, you must acknowledge your triggers, both positive and negative. Then, it is essential to put this information to action by seeking relationships and situations that present you with positive triggers, while eliminating or minimizing negative ones. For example, if you often find yourself feeling unhappy at work then it could be helpful to explore a job more suited to your passions, or build stronger relationships with your coworkers.
3. Set goals based on your findings
Set personalized goals based on the observations you have made about yourself. Know who you are, and compare that person to who you want to become. Then, set goals accordingly. For example, if during your observation you discover that you have a short temper, actively seek out ways to correct this. Solutions may include exercising to focus your rage on other things. Ensure to define and follow through with your goals because self awareness is useless in the absence of agency and action.
4. Concentrate on yourself
Focus on yourself without comparing your achievements to other’s. Every journey to emotional intelligence is different, and therefore incomparable. Technologies such as social media have endless benefits, but also promote constant comparison. If necessary, it could be helpful to take a step back from social media and online engagement to truly focus on yourself. It is important to consider that you are only in control of your own emotions and behaviors, and not to get caught up in the actions of others.
5. Be realistic, but aspirational
It is important to set goals that are achievable. When you reach these goals, it is also important to reward yourself. However, your goals should not be so attainable that you are not challenged. Set goals that will challenge you, but that you can ultimately accomplish. A great way to ensure that you stay accountable is by committing to goals publicly, so that the friends and family in your social circle can assist you by keeping you motivated.
6. Reduce negative emotions
A positive outlook is essential to remaining motivated. Anticipate roadblocks, but know that you can overcome them. If you are mentally prepared for potential problems, you will be more efficient at solving them. Don’t forget, you’ve made it through all of your previous worst days!
7. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
The most effective way to practice empathy is by actively listening to others. Do your best to understand what others are saying, prior to considering your response or reaction. Acknowledge that the experiences that have shaped you are different to the other person’s, and remember that there are always at least two sides to every story.
8. Trust others, and they will trust you too
Trust is a fundamental part of being empathetic. In order to experience empathy, you must allow yourself to experience vulnerability.
9. Listen to and accept others
Different people will inevitably react differently to their emotions and situations because everyone experiences things subjectively. Learn to accept other’s feelings even if they are different to yours. An effective way of engaging in this acceptance is by practicing empathy, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
10. Emotions are contagious
To improve your social skills, learn to control your own emotional responses to situations. If you exude positive emotions, those in your environment will reflect this. For example, your optimistic outlook on life will likely inspire those around you.
Below are a few examples of individuals demonstrating high emotional intelligence.
In this scenario, your boss pulls you into a meeting to discuss your recent work.
Boss: I wanted to sit down with you to acknowledge the fact that, recently, I’ve been finding your work very sloppy and I’m unimpressed.
An individual with high emotional intelligence would listen to the superior’s concerns, reflect, and potentially realize that his or her work has been lacking recently. A highly emotional intelligent person would be able to identify that he or she has been distracted at work due to increased stress in other aspects of life, and be able to relay this to the superior.
Employee: I’m so sorry that my work hasn’t been satisfactory, I’ve been distracted due to problems in my personal relationships, but this is no excuse for my poor performance this quarter. In the future, I will be sure to work harder to keep my personal and professional life separate. Would you mind sharing your specific frustrations so that I can actively work to correct them immediately?
This instance demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence because the employee responds to the boss with an acknowledgement of his or her wrongdoing, an apology, and a plan of action for the future to correct the undesirable behavior. The employee does not react with rage because time is taken to reflect on the situation, prior to the response.
In this scenario, your close friend is going through a hard time and is confiding in you.
Friend 1: My family member is ill and I am worried.
An individual with high emotional intelligence would demonstrate empathy for the friend. The best thing to do is actively listen, and allow the friend to speak about the experience. Then, offer to help in any way that you can.
Friend 2: I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time, I am here for you! Is there anything that I can do to help?
A large part of emotional intelligence revolves around the ability to recognize the emotions of others, and respond accordingly. Striving to understand the hardships of others helps you to build more connected, and longer lasting relationships.
We hope that these tips help you in your personal and professional environment by providing you with insights into yourself, and others. Keep following Speak to stay informed about how to communicate better.
With the school year wrapping up and Summer just around the corner, Summer job hunting is at an all time high. Interviews are an essential part of the employee selection process, and can leave either a positive or negative impression on a potential employer. Interviews may seem scary at first, but the key to success is being prepared and confident. Find out more about how to stay calm, cool, and collected during your upcoming interviews below!
Before the Interview
1. Ensure you look over your resume to re-familiarize yourself with any experience that could be brought up by the interviewer. Often times, an interviewer asks for a more in-depth explanation of relevant experience. Being prepared to be asked about your experience, and relate it to your new potential job is an admirable quality for employers. In light of this, also ensure that your resume is constantly being updated.
2. Research the company beforehand. If possible, find out a little information on the employee that will be conducting the interview with you so that you can try to relate to him or her. An efficient means of researching companies and employees is the website LinkedIn. It is essential to know background information about your desired place of employment when walking into an interview so that you can readily identify why you are a good fit in comparison to other applicants for the company.
3. Film or record yourself answering the sample questions listed below. Being able to witness yourself answering questions from an outside perspective helps you to be aware of what the interviewer will see. This step can help you make important changes to your posture and response time, and can assist you by letting you practice forming your thoughts into complete sentences.
4. Be on time to the interview! A company will not hire someone who makes a bad first impression, and being late is one of the worst impressions you can make. Wasting the interviewer’s time is ill-advised because the interview will begin on a sour note. This could cause the horn effect to take place, during which the employer regards you as a bad person based on one poor action. To find out more about impressions, such as the horn effect, check out our blog post on perception. If something goes wrong and you are running late, make sure to send an email or message to let the interviewer know so that they are not waiting for you.
During the Interview
1. Be prepared for the “Tell Me About Yourself” question. This question is often dreaded, but in reality, represents a unique opportunity to let the interviewer know more about your most relevant assets. This question gives the interviewee the opportunity to steer the interview in whichever way he or she wants and permits focusing on the best qualities instead of qualities that may be lacking. The best way to do this is by telling a story about a past experience that relates your skills to the desired position.
2. Maintain eye contact and monitor body language at all times. Ensure that your body communicates that you are engaged in the conversation, and happy to be considered for the position. If you are slouching or looking around the room during the interview, the interviewer will understand that you are uninterested and unavailable.
3. Ensure that you have questions prepared for the interviewer about the company. Questions about the position demonstrate your desire to learn, and your eagerness about the position. Showing interest can set you apart from other, less passionate interviewees.
4. Dress appropriately, and according to a business casual dress code. As mentioned previously, first impressions are imperative to a successful interview. Even if you are interviewing for a casual job, business casual attire will show your interest in the job and avoid you looking unprepared.
After the Interview
Ensure to send a follow up thank you email acknowledging the person’s time spent with you. This leaves the interview on a high note and demonstrates that you are still interested after the interview as well. A simple, “Thank you again for sitting down to chat with me today, I appreciate your time” will suffice.
Some Sample Questions:
Tell Me About Yourself?
How Did You Hear About This Position?
Why Do You Think You Are Qualified For This Position?
What Drew You To Our Company Specifically?
Why Do You Want This Job?
Tell Me About A Time When You Exercised Leadership/Teamwork/Responsibility In A Professional Setting?
What Is A Conflict You’ve Faced At Work, And How Did You Overcome It?
What Do You Consider Your Greatest Weakness?
How Would Your Ex-Boss And Coworkers Describe You?
Some of the most powerful and influential figures in the world today are women. We compiled a list of some of our favorite inspiring female speakers to Molly Fletcheracknowledge and appreciate their impressive accomplishments!
A list of the top female speakers wouldn’t be complete without one of the greatest of all time! Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah’s first show aired for 25 seasons over the course of 25 years. During it’s first year alone, the show was placed on 120 channels, grossed $125 million and reached an audience of 10 million people. Oprah went on to start her very own network “The Oprah Winfrey Network”. Aside from television, Winfrey is a philanthropist and a highly regarded motivational speaker. Forbes magazine has named her one of the 25 most influential women of 2018. Winfrey makes our list for her powerful, enthusiastic and inspiring speeches.
Felecia Hatcher is a highly regarded author and public speaker. Hatcher was recognized at the White House in 2011 as one of the Empact Top 100 Enrepreneurs under 30, and honored as the 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity. Hatcher identifies herself as a student who struggled in high school, but found her passion for marketing in college where she started her first business during her first year. Hatcher makes our list because her personal experiences of triumph motivate her audiences.
Molly Fletcher is best known for her contributions to the world of sports. She was one of the world’s first female sports agents at a time when women were not welcome in the world of sports management. Despite the opinion of the times being against her, her talent and dedication helped her recruit and manage hundreds of big names in sports at the time. These individuals include Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA Tour golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. Molly now uses her knowledge of sports agency to motivate audiences to close deals and strengthen relationships. Molly makes our list because of her passionate and savvy business advice.
Iyanla Vanzant is an impressive life coach who built an empire out of very little resources. She effectively motivates audiences to love, forgive, and work hard to live their best lives. She is the star of her own reality show in which she helps sufferers to find peace and become content with their lives by learning the value of hard work. Iyanla makes our list because she sets leads by example, and focuses on helping others stay motivated to change their lives for the better.
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
The Honourable Rona Ambrose is the former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Her political achievements clearly prove the effectiveness of her impressive and dynamic leadership abilities. Ambrose advocates for women internationally and participated in the invention of “International Day of the Girl” at the United Nations. The Honourable Rona Ambrose makes our list because she is a demonstrated leader, and effective advocate.
Mel Robbins is an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Her Ted Talk “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has almost 18,000,000 views, and is regarded as one of the best ted talks of all time. Robbins offers her expertise on changes to human behavior and mindset to an international audience and effectively reaches 20 million people per month. Mel Robbins makes our list because she is able to transfer her impressive internal motivation to her audiences.
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder, and former editor-in-chief of one of the most famous news and opinion websites in America. The Huffington Post, labelled HuffPost since Arianna’s exit, took Arianna’s last name as the name of the news source in 2005 when it was founded. Since leaving the company, Huffington has started her own business that advocates for sleep initiatives. Huffington makes our list because of her innovative ideas and her dedication to the causes that she chooses to support.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is best known for her contributions to female, and LGBQT participation in sports. In 1973, she participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match and, against popular opinion, beat Bobby Riggs in a match that would go down in history. Since her days on the court, King has found her voice by advocating for LGBQT and women’s rights using her powerful platform. Billie Jean King makes our list because she is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the court.
Elizabeth Smart was abducted by kidnappers on June 5 , 2002. She was held by her captors for 9 months, and thankfully was returned to her family on March 12, 2003. Smart used her trauma to create a platform to advocate for change related to child abduction such as better recovery programs and improved National legislation. She founded the ‘Elizabeth Smart Foundation’ and helps to promote National Amber Alerts, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act to help prevent child abductions. Smart makes our list because her inspiring story proves that after tragedy, there is triumph.
Michelle Obama is best known for her contributions as the first lady of the United States from 2008 to 2012. Obama is also a lawyer, writer, and public speaker. She advocates for rights such as the support of military families, organic food movements, and helping working women to balance careers and families. She is a genuine speaker who encapsulates audiences with her passion. Obama makes our list because she is one of the most influential women, and speakers of the generation.
We believe that these women have successfully mastered the art of communication and presentation. We hope you learned more about your favorite female speakers, and discovered someone new!
Find out more about Speak’s ability to better communication on our website.
Picture this: You are walking down a busy street, as you look around at your surroundings. You see people walking, some in a hurry and some taking their time. You may catch a glance at them. Some will engage in eye contact, and some will not. You may attempt to give a friendly smile. Some return the greeting and some do not. The greeting or lack there of makes you perceive them as friendly or rude. You look at the street lights and the store signs. You wait until you see the green light to walk, and you make your way across the street. Every second of everyday embodies the notion of perception. Whether it is the way we view the world or the way that others view us, this process is defined by perceptive processes of the senses.
Perception is defined as the ability to capture, process, and actively make sense of the information that our senses receive. It is apparent in the cognitive processes of the brain that allow humans and other species to identify their surroundings and conceptualize other’s behavioural gestures. We constantly encoding and decoding the messages that the brain receives from the outer world. It is important to understand how this process works in order to understand the communication process. Studies show that humans interpret visual queues at a rate of 13 milliseconds. Meaning that in less than a second, someone has already made a perception of your character.
Identifying the perception process is crucial to ensure that you are perceived in a positive light. This occurs through a specific form of perception called person perception. This is when we encode behavioural cues from others that allows us to come to conclusions of a person’s character. This can come from a facial gesture such as a smile, a greeting such as a wave or a hand shake, body language such as crossed arms to the full auditory interpretations from conversing.
The entire perception process allows others to link these cues based on the interaction or communication process and link them to characteristics of the individual. For example, if you are talking to someone and they have their arms crossed and are looking off into the distance you are going to perceive them as disengaged, closed off, distracted with an overall unwillingness to interact. Based on the these cues an individual can perceive them as rude, standoffish or reserved. This may cause the individual to no longer want to continue in engaging in a conversation solely based on the notion of perception.
Of course, a major element of person perception is the cultural context in which the situation is taking place. Understanding the location or surrounding environment that the communication process takes place in is crucial. For e.g. In North American cultures it is custom to make eye contact and shake the hand when meeting a new individual. But in Japan, it is deemed as rude to look directly in someones eye and the custom greeting is bowing.
This direct correlation of behaviours and personality traits is called implicit personality theory, that is based on the assumptions that we have about the characteristics of the individual. The major aspect of perception in which social norms and roles com into play in such theory. We have certain perceived expectations when we engage with others. When these are not met there is an element of deviance associated. This process happens fast, automatically and at the subconscious level. Further allowing you to respond and make decisions quickly. This furthers your role as a social being.
Although understanding how others perceive you is beneficial under various scenarios, it is a reality that humans are not always aware of the internal perceptions that others have of them. Since no one can read minds, engaging in communication is solely based off of external sensory cues with no access to the internal perceptions that one may be experiencing during the conversation. Due to this, individuals are left to perceive themselves through the process of introspection, which is defined by looking inward to our own feelings and thoughts. A major fall back of this perception process is the misconceptions that occur while speaking. Individuals have to come to conclusions that may not always be accurate. Leaving an aspect of ignorance apparent in the conversation when a person’s own morals, values and attitudes get in the way of perceiving others.
This internal perception of ourselves is vital, as the level of self-esteem we exhibit will transcend onto others. The self-actualization process will in turn affect how we come across in how we act and feel in a conversation. It is shown that as humans the more cues we have to process the less accurate our ability to perceive others is. Things essentially can get lost in translation and people could be perceiving you differently than you think- for the good or the bad. This proves that less is more. Statistics show that we accurately encode facial cues about 90% of the time. Showing that our brain capacities are better based on physical functionalities than of voice.
Types of Perceptual Errors
A reality in society is that the ideological implications of stereotypes diminish the perceptual integrity of individuals. The connotations that we have with specific social markers can allow perceptions to occur before the encoding process all together. This disallows individuals to achieve a positive characteristics when judging based on social factors that are outside of their control.
2. Halo Effect:
This is the process in which individuals come to a conclusion about an individual based on only one aspect trait. This gives power to one individual trait over all others and results in an over cast of influence. E.g. if someone does an act of good they are as a result perceived to be a good person.
3. Horn Effect:
This is the opposite of the halo effect, as it takes one bad act and results in the person being considered as a bad person.
4. Recency Effect:
Taking the most recent information as the ultimate perception of the person, even though you have access to other information about them.
5. Primary Effect:
Making an assumption about someone based on the first information that is received. This is the embodiment of the first impression and how that can determine a person’s overall perception by others.
6. The Similar-To-Me Effect:
We often feel more comfortable, identify with and have more positive perceptions of those who are similar to us.
7. Fundamental Attribution Error:
When an individual underestimates external factors and thus relies mostly on the influence of internal factors when making judgements about others behaviours.
8. Self-Serving Bias:
When individuals put positive outcomes on internal characteristics and project blame of the negatives towards external factors.
9. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
When individuals have a preconceived perception of a given person or situation will result in their expectations becoming a reality.
Identifying and understanding the way the brain processes information through our senses is one of the most beneficial tools of the cognitive mind. Perception is in every aspect of your life, from knowing your surroundings, making a good impression and identifying the behavioural traits of others. The way we interact with our environment is through understanding human behaviour. The beauty of perception is that everyone sees the world differently, so there is no one mode of perception. Making your perception of the world one of a kind. Without perception, the world would be a standardized monoculture of uniformity. Master perception, make the world unique.
Conversations are an essential component of every day life. The ability to make a lasting and meaningful impression on others during conversations can make or break your relationships with friends, colleagues, and others. To help you have better conversations, the experts at Speak have compiled a guide of the most effective ways to have a great conversation.
1. Lead with a question
The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. This shows the other participant in the conversation that you are interested in what they have to say, and confident enough to ask. It is important to ensure that the question that you lead with is broad so that the other person can engage with it comfortably. It is also important to ask neutral questions that will not put others in an uncomfortable situation.
Questions to avoid include:
- What did you think of the presidential address last week?
- Did you ever get that promotion?
- Are you and your significant other still together?
2. Start with small talk
Trust is earned, not given. For this reason, it’s better to start a conversation off with light small talk than it is to immediately delve into specifics. For this tip, remember the 3 tiers of conversation.
- The first tier is comprised of safe territory. This includes the weather, popular culture, and any shared experiences.
- The second tier is comprised of potentially controversial topics. These include religion, dating, and politics.
- The third tier is comprised of the most intimate topics. These can include family, finances, and health.
Always ensure that you begin with tier one conversations, and gauge the situation and relationship before moving on to more personal topics.
3. Look for obvious talking points before you approach a conversation
If you are introducing yourself to someone, consider obvious talking points that you could bring up before you approach. For example, is this person wearing merchandise from a specific band or sports team that you could ask them about?
4.It’s about more than just words
Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? This type of communication includes body language cues such as posture, hand gestures, eye contact and facial reactions. It also includes tone of voice, and pace of speech. All of these non-verbal cues communicate a lot about you to others. For example, typically those who speak slower are viewed as more confident.
5. Don’t hog the mic
Remember to keep the other participant engaged by consistently asking for their opinion and input on the topic of conversation. If you feel like you may be talking too much, ask your conversation partner how they feel about what you’ve just said.
6. Focus on listening, and remember key points
One of the biggest mistakes that people make during conversations with others is focusing too much on their response before the other person has a chance to finish their thought. Ensure that you are listening to your partner, and considering their full thought before you respond. Make sure to remember key points during the conversation that you can refer back to later to show others that you care about what they have to say.
7. Don’t be scared of silence
Silences are only awkward if you make them. Silence is actually a normal part of every conversation, and should be regarded in this way. Do not grasp for abstract topics to attempt to fill every silent moment, because they are a natural part of every exchange.
8. Try to relate
Relating to other people is the best way to form lasting relationships. As humans, we are naturally drawn to people who are similar to us. If you relate to something that your partner has said, make sure to tell them that you have had a similar experience or feel a similar way about a certain topic.
9. Be aware of social dynamics
Conversations will flow differently with various types of people. How you converse with someone depends on your relationship to them. For example, you will likely converse in different ways with your best friend than with your boss. Ensure that you are aware of the social dynamics that you are participating in, and adjust your behavior accordingly.
10. Fake it until you make it
The key to better communication is essentially to fake it ’till you make it. Even if you don’t feel 100% confident in a situation, always pretend that you are the most confident person in the room.
The best way to master the art conversation is by practicing often. We hope this guide has helped you think of new ways to initiate, and keep the conversation flowing.
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