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Rules #5b: "From I to We": Communication Failure and Success

If you want to improve communications:

Communication Benefits: Why it matters even if you think you are not being heard.

Communication Rot: Signs that you really are not being heard/understood by another.

Conversational Skills: Easy ways to quickly improve the quality of conversations.

Effective Communication: Nine (9) ways you can instantly improve communication.

Communication Benefits

"Much unhappiness has come into the world because of things left unsaid." (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

When you communicate with another and it seems to go wrong is there anything good that comes from it?

From the Emailbag: "I feel like no one ever listens to me. Why should I bother asking for what I want when I just will not get it anyway?" The answer is: "You cannot get what you do not ask for. You cannot get what you ask for unless you believe you will. Honest communication is never wasted."

* About Saying No: If you say "No" and let others know what is in your mind and heart that can only strengthen your relationships with them. They will appreciate your honesty. Plus, if you offer them suggestions about where else to go to get what they want, they most likely will not hold that "No" against you.

* Being Forthright: If you answer others instead of avoiding them, they are more rather than less likely to trust you. They will come to respect you. Often, if you can express yourself with kindness and gentleness, others will take even the most unpleasant news without bursting into anger or without ignoring you.

* Compassion Counts: If you appeal to the understanding, the charity, and the compassion of others, they will often surprise you by being more understanding, charitable, and compassionate than you would expect or believe. When you expect that others will hear you with an open mind and heart, they are more likely to.

* Dealing with Doubt: If you share your thoughts with others you value, they are more apt to sympathize with you than criticize you. Sharing yourself more with others (especially with your family) can only continue to improve your relationships at home and at work. Expect they will listen to you instead of doubting if they can.

* Expectations: If you believe you will not get what you are asking for, that in itself sets up negative energy which contributes to the unwanted result. Many times others will mirror your own energy back to you just as they will return your positive energy. Expect that someone somewhere will hear/listen to you… and it will be so.

* Focus: Remember that you get from the universe what you focus on with your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Unless you communicate with a positive focus, you cannot get what you want. If the same people just refuse to listen to you, then find others who will receive your message and act on them as you would wish.

Communication Rot

"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives." (Anthony Robbins)

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." (Anthony Robbins)

Are you frustrated in your communications with others? Could it be "Communication Rot"?

From the Emailbag: "I think my communication is bad, is it?" The answer is: "Take the 'Communication Rot' Test and see for yourself!"

* You feel afraid to ask for what you really want: Before you even ask the other person, you are certain that you will be turned down, criticized, nit-picked, and generally misunderstood no matter what you say or do.

* You do not share your inmost thoughts: You limit what you are willing to share with other person from the start. You certainly will not share whatever seems to make you look vulnerable, uncertain, or weak.

* You feel criticized for whatever you do: No matter what you say or do for the other person, you are made to feel that what you do/say is never good enough. Worse, you end up believing it can never be good enough.

* You argue about things that do not matter: You are certain that however nice, kind, or polite you are to the other person, that they will pick a fight with you… just for the sake of giving you a hard time.

* You feel pessimistic or hopeless: You cannot envision your communication having a positive result however much energy or effort you put into it. You are almost certain it will be a failure before you even start.

* You feel talk is pointless: Even after you have discussed issues, you are certain that nothing significant will really change. At times, communication actually seems to make matters worse rather than better.

* You quarrel over topics not issues: You focus on the small details (topics) and lose sight of the big picture (issues). By discussing what does not matter, you cannot resolve what does matter with the other person.

Conversational Skills

"Communication is a skill that you can learn. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve your communication skill level. All it takes is time, practice, and patience!" (Brian Tracy)

Do you fear speaking with strangers? If so, knowing good conversational skills will ease your fears.

* Show Genuine Interest: This is the key. When you show by your questions and by your demeanor that you are genuinely interested in getting to know the person you are speaking with, you are 90% on your way to better conversational skills. People just love to talk about themselves. When you are open to listening to what they have to say, you will find that conversation flows easily between you.

* Give Genuine Compliments: Praise is good only when it is sincere. If you are forcing yourself to compliment someone, they are sure to know it is false. To make compliments meaningful, praise a specific action. Say why you are praising them. For example, "that was so nice of your to carry that lady's bag of groceries for her because she is not feeling well and your kindness really eased her burden today!"

* Ask Good Questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Questions that start with these words elicit better answers than ones which require Yes, No, or Fine. Asking questions which show that you know that person and are sensitive to their concerns will quickly create better conversations between you.

* Match the Level: When conversing with someone, match the level of the intimacy in their speech. Some people like to keep things light and on the surface, so keep it that way. Others like to be serious and speak on meaningful topics, so you do the same. Still others like to talk about their circle of friends, so join in. When you match the level of conversation of others, this automatically increases their comfort level with you and it makes the conversation flow between you.

* Be Positive: Conversations drag when people talk about negative topics. For example, negative topics include "how all relationships suck", "how everyone is poor", "how life is a struggle", and so on. Good conversations should uplift and energize those involved in them. The only way this happens is for everyone to be positive and for there to be "give and take" between all the participants because the essence of conversation is the exchange of ideas between all present.

Effective Communication

"If you have nothing to say, say nothing." (Mark Twain)

"If you have nothing good to say about someone else, then say nothing." (Anonymous)

If you want others to hear you, here are tips that will make your communication so much more effective.

* Be Polite: Politeness puts others at their ease. When others feel as if you are treating them with kindness, they will automatically be more receptive to whatever you have to say… making your communication more effective.

* Be Direct: While still displaying good manners, when you can be short and to the point, you show others that you are respectful of their time. This keeps their interest level high... making your communication more effective.

* Be Constructive: Only when what you want out of the communication is constructive and positive, can you get the result you want. Expect that others want to help you and they will… making your communication more effective.

* Be Honest: Use the word "I" because this lets others know this is your point of view. There is a huge difference between saying "You are ignoring me" (ineffective communication) and "I feel like you are ignoring me" (effective communication).

* Be Clear: You are clear when you use simple language, when you avoid jargon ("big, $10 words"), and when you use short sentences… so a high school kid could understand you… making your communication more effective.

* Be Comprehensive: If communicating in person, use facial expressions and hand gestures to make your point. If communicating over the phone, use different inflections and pauses to make your speech interesting. If you are communicating in writing, use proper punctuation. If you are using a computer to write, use graphics and other visual aids because a "picture is worth 1,000 words." Taking the time to be comprehensive makes your communication more effective.

* Be Open: To communicate, you have to really listen to others. Actively listening and being open to changing what you want to communicate based on the results of the conversation... makes your communication more effective.

* Be Patient: Be prepared to repeat your key points. If you are always ready to go back over key points or to slow down or speed up the pace as needed for all the participants, you will communicate much more efficiently.

* Be Prepared: The more you plan ahead by being ready for all potential scenarios and reactions from others, the more you will be able to direct the conversation to achieve your goals. The most effective communications are those which result in "win-win" results for the highest good of all concerned.

Credits: from channeled information.



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