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How to Hit a Home Run with your Business Communication
By Charlyne Miller
  1. Always follow the Platinum Rule (as compared to the Golden Rule).  The platinum rule is that instead of communicating with people the way YOU want to be communicated with, focus on their style and communicate in a way that THEY will respond to best.  In order to do this well one must....
  2. Become 'other focused'.   Most of the time we are multitasking, trying to get a million things done and pay little attention to what others are really trying to say.  So if we shift our focus from the internal dialogue of 'what am I going to say next', or 'I wish this person would hurry up', or 'what do I have to get at the store tonight' etc.  we will automatically better understand what's important to that other person and respond more effectively.  i.e.  become a truly better listener. 
  3. Know that every difficult conversation is actually 3 different layers that go on at the same time:  1. Facts  2. Feelings 3. Personal/Professional Identity.   If we only focus on the facts (Level 1) we miss what's really going on for people at a deeper level and what's probably the most important (research actually shows that 90% of the conversation goes on at the levels 2 and 3).  So, broaden your lens to what's really going on underneath.   To better do this, see #1 and #2
  4. Know Yourself:    We all have behaviors or tone qualities that may be off putting to others.  If you never know this, it can hound one for years.  I have MANY clients that have learned the hard way.    Learn to ask for feedback, pay attention to your own non-verbals, adopt behaviors that show engagement, etc.  When people do have the courage to give that feedback, thank them and show that you value it. 
  5. Don't be afraid to be the first to smile.  This is actually the name of a book that I read about 30 years ago and never forgot.  It's true -- people can't help but respond when a smile comes their way, but it's sad how many folks just don't know how to initiate them.  It changes the chemistry of many relationships.          ---Charlyne Miller, an executive trainer and coach is the founder of Charlyne Miller and Associates, Washington, D.C.

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