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**Great Changes #21! COMMUNICATE EVEN BETTER- Part 3
February 12, 2013

Encouraging Changes People Desire

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Issue #21: February 12, 2013

Improving Communications Skills - Part 3
(Best New Years Resolution Yet!)

This series of articles discusses why improving one's communication skills may be the most important thing we can resolve to do. It analyzes various communication elements, and how to learn to communicate better.

This article (part 3) will discuss the importance of knowing the other party, what the type of topic of communication is, and several communications tips. Look for Part 4 next month.

Part 1 discussed that 1) great communication skills are rare, 2) communication skills are extremely important in all facets of our life, 3) we communicate for a variety of reasons, 4) communication is a skill that can be analyzed and improved upon, and 5) there are many important variables that can affect how well one communicates in various situations.

Part 2 discussed 1) how and why to first set goals before important communications take place, and 2) why we should plan out important communications before we proceed.

Knowing the other party will likely impact how to communicate. For example:

Current Relationship: How would we describe the current relationship we have with the other party? How can we play to the strength of the relationship? How can we work to improve the weaknesses of the relationship?

Who has got "The Power"? Does the other party have some control over us, we over them, or are we basically peers? Past Experiences: Have well have we communicated with the other party in the past? How can our past experience help us to do better this go round?

Potential Win-Win: How could we help the other party achieve/obtain something they would like? How could the other party help us achieve/obtain something we would like?

When and Where to Communicate: Doing our homework to figure out what venue might work best can make all the difference in the outcome.

Obviously communicating with our 3-year old child will differ than communicating with one's boss. But the differences may not be as different as we may think! Part of this will depend on the type of topic to be discussed.

The type of topics to communicate will also often greatly impact how, why and when to communicate.

"Fun" Topics: if it's a subject that will be non-stressful, and not significant (in the big scheme of things), this typically will not require much, if any, planning - especially if the other party is easy to communicate with.

"Hard", Difficult Topics: such as failing relationships, failing businesses, and other serious problems. These can be extremely challenging to discuss. Ironically, often a lack of past timely communications may have contributed to creating these problems. Hard topics tend to require a lot of preparation, especially if the other party is someone we find hard to communicate with.

Helpful Communication Tips:

Convey our thoughts so it's easily understood: Use words that are at an appropriate level for the listener(s).

Talk with Respect: Try our best to be respectful and caring to the other party, even if we are upset with them, they are upset with us, or there is a significant disagreement that needs to be resolved. Think win-win: It takes a lot more thought and work to improve relationship that to hurt them, so let's make sure we plan, plan, plan.

Know who's got "the power": If we can control the other party and/or the outcome of the communication, be careful. Don't "over-reach", asking for more than we should; we may win the battle and lose the war, when other party someday has more power! Having power comes with responsibility, so use power wisely!

When to Include Others: If the two parties don't get along or communicate well, consider having a mediator, or other 3rd party facilitate a meeting. Even countries find bringing in a neutral country can open communications and get positive results.

Listen to my podcast about this newsletter article (Note: If you can't see the podcast control just below, find the backissues and find this article on my website.)

Issue #21 Podcast: Play/Download Podcast Here

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Future Articles will continue "dissecting" and analyzing what it takes to become a more effective communicator. I encourage you to communicate with me; please give me feedback on these articles, and suggestions on future articles.

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