11 Steps to Having More Meaningful Conversations

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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How to Find The Best Jewelry Deals: 6 Tips to Shop Wisely

How to Find The Best Jewelry Deals: 6 Tips to Shop Wisely

Shopping for jewelry can be a daunting task. Not only do you have the pressure of choosing the perfect piece for the person you are buying for, but also the stress of selecting from the never-ending jewelers and online marketplaces. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.

With that being said, it doesn’t have to be. Armed with a little bit of know-how and a sprinkling of common sense, choosing the best piece of jewelry for the best price doesn’t have to cause you any more stress than it should.

If you are in the market for the perfect piece of jewelry for your friend or loved one, but don’t want to pay an armload, here are some excellent tips for the best jewelry deals.

Finding The Best Deals on Jewelry

1. Avoid Prestigious Brands

Companies spend millions of dollars every year on improving their brand and their awareness. The bigger the brand, the more they can charge for their products because of their perceived value. If you want to save yourself a pretty penny when shopping for jewelry, whether that’s an engagement ring, a diamond bracelet, a watch or an earring, take a look at the smaller, less obvious jewelers. The quality tends to be exactly the same, just at a marginally lower price point.

2. Shop Online

To build on the previous point about branding, another massive cost for regular retail businesses are the overheads associated with owning a brick and mortar business. Online business doesn’t have that problem. They need a domain name, hosting and a good-looking website design. That’s it!

Online jewelers tend to have far fewer overheads than a regular brick and mortar business, meaning a lot of that extra money is given to you, the customer, in the form of cheaper products.

When shopping online for expensive jewelry, make sure the vendor you choose is reputable. It’s easier to be scammed on the internet than it is in real life, so be diligent when buying jewelry online.

3. Consider Silver

Gold is all the rage right now, though, it’s always been a popular item. However, silver is becoming trendier, seen everywhere on the fashion scene. It’s also considerably cheaper!

If you don’t mind compromising on the type of metal that your new piece of jewelry is made of, consider choosing silver as opposed to gold. The amount of money you will save is enough to justify the compromise.

4. Second-Hand Jewelry

This tip on finding the best jewelry deals is not for everyone, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Pawn shops and second-hand jewelers often stock some amazing pieces of jewelry that look as good as new, just at a heavily discounted price.

Second-hand jewelry also has the mystique and history attached to it that brand-new jewelry does not. Always make sure that the jewelry is certified before you buy it. Again, it’s easier to be scammed by a pawn shop than it is from a reputable dealer.

5. More Carats Does Not Always Equal Better

The term carat refers to the weight of a stone, not its size. If you take a 1-carat diamond and a 0.9-carat diamond in the palm of your hand, the visible difference is often negligible. However, the difference in cost between the two is usually dramatic.

Save yourself some money by considering a step down in carat. Your eyes won’t tell the difference, but your bank account certainly will.

6. Set a Strict Budget

When you don’t have a strict budget in place, it’s easy to overspend. You are more likely to justify paying a higher price for something if you are loose with your budgeting. The first rule of saving money on a purchase is to know the highest price you are willing to pay, and sticking to it.

These 6 tips should help you find the best jewelry deals online.

 If you are in the market for the perfect piece of jewelry for your friend or loved one, but don’t want to pay an armload, here are some excellent tips for the best jewelry deals. #savemoney #onlineshoppingtips #shoppingtips