Communication Tip of the Day: Ask, “What Do You Understand?”

Never ask the more common, “Do you understand?” People generally respond to such a question in the affirmative or with a head nod. After all, who wants to admit, “No, I’m really a slow learner—I didn’t get it at all.” A better question is, “Tell me—what do you understand about the project at this point?” Or, “How do you think you’ll proceed on the project …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: Nix the Negative Signals

If you disagree with someone or doubt what she’s saying, consider voicing your opinion tactfully at the appropriate time rather than screaming the message with negative body language. Be cautious about the following negative signals and positions, which an adept student of body language can read easily:

Leaning backward with your hands clasped behind your head (considered an arrogant, know-it-all posture)
Leaning your chin on your hand …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: Examine the Payoffs From Continuing Conflict

Psychologists have counseled parents for years that sometimes children misbehave because negative attention is better than no attention. The same can be said of adult conflict. Ask yourself what you or the other person has to gain from refusing to end a running conflict. Does a continual uproar in the department create excitement for the group? Does the conflict feed someone’s ego? Does the conflict …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: Hold the Sarcasm; Avoid Detractors

No matter how “outmoded,” “primitive,” “ridiculous,” or “wasteful” you believe the current plan, procedure, or product to be, avoid labels and sarcasm. People identify closely with what goes on in their departments and within their areas of responsibility. The reaction is much the same as when you put down someone’s hometown. That person can disparage his hometown all he wants to, but he won’t permit …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: Make People Feel Safe

Have you ever walked through a fairground or amusement park where barkers were calling to you from every exhibit: “Step over here, little lady, and play the game!” “Step inside and see the big show!” “Buy your ticket right now—the show starts in two minutes!” As a passerby, your automatic reaction is to hold your hands and arms close to your sides, look straight ahead, …Read More

Stop Pitching: Don’t Make Them Duck

Let’s say that your friend Carla calls and asks if you’ll be home in the next hour; she wants to stop by to show you “something.” You invite her to come on over. You’re guessing that she has either a new convertible or collie—she’s been talking about buying both.

When she arrives—without new car or pup—she chit-chats a few minutes and then announces, “So are you …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: When Someone Pushes, Don’t Push Back

Opposition spawns opposition. If you don’t believe it, ask a partner to stand face to face with you and align yourselves open palm to open palm. Push gently. You’ll notice how your partner pushes back to maintain his balance. Push harder. You’ll notice that your partner increases his pressure to equal yours.
The same principle is at play in persuasion. The harder you push, the harder …Read More

Communication Tip of the Day: Encourage Others to Invest Their Time

People never like to waste time following cold trails—whether they’re hunting for cold-blooded killers of kidnapped victims or looking for a new financial advisor. So don’t worry that you’re causing someone time and effort to educate herself on what you have to offer. Send people the information they want. Ask them to visit your YouTube channel. Give them references to talk to about how you …Read More