11 Steps to Having More Meaningful Conversations 119

11 Steps to Having More Meaningful Conversations infographic

The following article is a guest post.

Conversation takes up a huge proportion of our direct interaction with people. It’s vital for connecting with others, forming relationships and sending and receiving cultural and professional information. Yet do any of us really think about how we actually perform this common action?

Sure, many of us might feel we are too quiet on some occasions, too loud at others and cringe at memories of putting our foot in it. But we still don’t focus on the actual process and act itself. That’s why On Stride Financial have decided to take a look at how we can really make the most out of the conversations we have.

Making The Most of Our Conversations

They found that big changes can come about if we simply concentrate more on the conversation we are having. It’s normal for people to let their mind drift or to try to do something else while having a conversation. We put so much pressure on ourselves to never “waste” a moment that just focusing on one thing at a time comes to seem like slovenliness.

However, UCL has found that the brain simply can’t focus fully on both sounds and visuals at the same time.

So, one of the most basic steps to better conversation is putting everything else aside, phone included, and simply concentrating on the person or people you are conversing with.

When you do this, you might also find that the hidden cues you pick up from body language also greatly enhance your experience.

For example, 55% of understanding whether someone likes something or not is communicated by their facial expression.

Another common way that we lose focus is by just using the time while our partner is talking to plan our own response. We can often get so caught up in the excitement and fervor of a discussion that we lose track of one of the most important aspects of it, actually listening to what the other person is saying.

Other than that, it’s just a monologue with an audience. To stay interested, take note of things the other person has said and ask them about it when they’ve finished. This will clarify what they have been talking about while also letting them know you are listening.

Communication and Technology

It’s also important to remember that new communication technologies have radically altered how we interact and how we see conversations.

A Twitter conversation with a stranger that lasts five responses would give us the impression that we are now best friends with the person. While the same would not be true at a bus stop or supermarket check-out.

Real life personal connections need time before they can flourish into something mutually enjoyable. This happens by actually listening to your partner, valuing their time by making your speech as relevant as possible.

A good way to ensure your part of the conversation is as interesting and well-remembered as possible is by structuring it around the elements of a story. A study of Stanford students showed that 63% of students remembered information when it had been laid out as a narrative, but only 5% remembered the same information when it was given as pure facts or statistics.

While conversation might not always be one’s favourite activity in the world it is essentially unavoidable unless one plans to become a modern day silent hermit. Considering that, it makes sense to embrace it and find out how to make it as beneficial as possible for us, rather than something we may often dread. By investigating how to have better conversations and practicing the advice that we find, we can do ourselves and our future partners a huge favour and make the event more interesting and worthwhile for every party.

Check out the infographic below for more tips on how to become a better communicator:

How to Have Meaningful Communication [Infographic]

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The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success 4

The Importance of Exercise to Your Professional Success

In today’s world, most jobs are demanding both physically and mentally. Competition is not always based on the best resume, education, or experience. Having the upper hand in your profession is most likely linked to your ability to think quickly, act appropriately, and carry out difficult duties with the utmost quality.

You need to be able to bring something new, different, and maybe even better to the table. So, how can you get the edge? How can you maximize your professional potential and output?

Believe it or not, the answer to that question might be found outside the workplace. It may be what you do when you are not at work that makes the difference in your work. What is it? EXERCISE, that’s what!

Replace Some Screen Time or Other Time Wasters.

Everyone needs to take a break from the workday. Television, gaming, social media, and video-viewing are what we often go to for this.

Try replacing some of your downtime with exercise, or trying exercising while you are in front of the screen. Exercising instead of sitting will not only help relieve some stress from your day but also help release some built up tension so you can actually rest better at night, helping you be better prepared for the next work day.

Exercising a few hours before bedtime elevates your body temperature. When your body temperature returns to normal, your brain and body are ready to sleep.

Exercise Sharpens Your Thinking.

It is a fact that as we age, our cognitive abilities decline.

While researchers may not have found the cure for dementia-related disorders, they do know that exercise helps delay onset or slow down its progression. Exercising during the years of 25 – 45 can boost the brain chemicals that prevent shrinking of the brain. It has also been shown to create new brain cells and increase proteins found in the brain that help keep thinking skills sharp.

Exercise Reduces Sick Time.

Exercise improves general health functioning and helps build your immunity to illnesses.

It has also been shown to increase our ability to think and work under stress, rather than giving in to the stress and being more susceptible to illness.

This keeps you reporting to work on a regular basis, and taking less sick days. The more you are at work, the more productive you are, and the more your employer values you.

Working Out Increases Your Stamina.

Long work days can leave you drained and listless. If you know you are facing long meetings, strenuous work sessions, or overtime for increased production demands, you can prepare to meet these challenges head-on.

As you exercise, over time your stamina will be able to withstand longer and more strenuous workouts. It also translates into helping you stay sharp during those long, arduous workdays.

Yes, How You Look Does Count.

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While it may never be mentioned, your appearance is noticed by employers, co-workers, interviewers, etc. You do not necessarily need to look like a buff bodybuilder, but having a svelte, strong appearance is a benefit.

Other’s first perception of you is of great importance. Think about interviewing prospective employees. Honestly consider the impact of their first impression on their employment outlook. Healthy looking is definitely a check in the “yes” column.

Energy levels are also higher when you are exercising regularly, and your energy is part of how you are perceived overall. When you start to feel better about yourself, you begin to present a more positive image to your coworkers.

It Boosts Your Confidence.

When you have conquered a goal in your exercise plan, like being able to run an entire mile instead of having to stop and walk some, you know you have accomplished something. You are on your way to bigger and better goals.

There may have been times along the way that you felt like that milestone would never come, but here it is. You feel proud and motivated to keep working toward your next goal. You see the fruits of your labor. You are energized and begin to feel better about yourself overall.

You begin to feel a sense of accomplishment that does not leave when you exit the gym doors. You carry that as a boost in your confidence as you go into work.

Bring the Habits of Exercise to Work.

What else do you learn through exercise? Goal setting, resilience, perseverance, learning new things, taking chances, organizing and managing your time, just to name a few. These are great skills to boost your performance at work, too.

You begin to realize that you can take what you have learned through setting up and sticking with an exercise plan to the workplace. You can use all these skills in your career. As you do, you will become more confident and thus, more effective in your daily tasks.

All of these are learned by starting, committing to, and following through with a fitness plan, and can become more of a life plan.

If you are looking for a job, being physically fit might not get you the job, but it will definitely help your chances. Your first impression is incredibly important, so do not brush off exercise and fitness lightly.

Exercise has so many benefits like sharpening thinking, building stamina, increasing energy, reducing negative effects of stress, building immunity, and boosting self-confidence. This can really help you in your professional success.

The benefits extend beyond your exercise time.

They stay with you day in and day out. If you are not currently exercising regularly, just start today, doing something small. Some sit-ups in front of the television, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning up your diet, or increasing your walking pace as you move around the office are good ways to get started. You will feel the benefits, even with these small steps.