I have pulled together some communication tips that you might find helpful. Take the word “should” for example. Most of us have probably said something along the lines of: “You should have done it this way”; or “You shouldn’t have done that”.
The point is you can’t know you should have done anything in a previous time. Telling people what they should have done often creates anger and frustration. There is a simple fix which can improve relationships AND performance – “Next time, please do it this way”. People can change behavior in the future; they can’t change it in the past.
Have you ever had this kind of conversation with your significant other? “Where would you like to go for supper? “
“I don't care. You choose”
“How about going to the Chinese place?”
“Nah I don't feel like Chinese tonight.”
“Would you like to try Italian then?”
“Nope, don't think so. H ad Italian for lunch”
if this sounds familiar then you might want to change the question that you ask. Instead of asking where would you like to go for supper try asking “Where don't you want to go for supper tonight?”
Did you know that saying, “I need your help with this.” is a more effective phrase than simply asking “Would you please do this for me?” Most of us like to be of help to others and asking others for their help gives them the opportunity to in fact do that.
Do you have a grandchild who continually asks “Why? Many children go through this phrase and it can drive adults batty. Next time he or she asks grandma “Why is the sky blue?” you only need to respond “I'm not sure. Why do you think the sky is blue?” First of all, you'll get some extremely interesting responses. Secondly you are teaching them how to look for answers to their own problems, and thirdly you indicate that you are listening to them.
The next idea is not a specific phrase but nonetheless it is phenomenally effective in building better relationships. Compliment other people behind their back. Things always get back to people- praise or criticism and if people hear the positive things you have said about them from someone else, they are more likely to believe that this is true. There is a type of inborn skepticism that makes us think if you tell me something nice to my face you're just trying to butter me up. However, if you hear what somebody has said about you when you weren't there, you think they are sincere, and it leaves it leaves you with good feeling toward that person.
Most of us are mature enough to apologize to someone when we screw up. Instead of castigating ourselves and lamenting how awful we behaved, why not express your feelings about what the other person has done? For example, if you're late to a meeting with someone, rather than apologizing for being late try saying “Thank you for your patience.” This identifies the good quality of the other person rather than focusing on your faults
Ever have a conversation like this? “How was your day? “
“Uh OK.” Conversation finished.
If you really want to know how a person felt about their day, change the statement slightly and say, “Tell me about your day.” This is much more likely to give you additional information. Of course, you may still get a response of “Yeah it was ok” especially from teenagers, but asking someone to tell you about what happened during their day sounds more like you are interested in them rather than the tired or old formula how was your day?
Another helpful phrase to use with kids or young teens when they are being contrary is to ask them which of two things they would like to do? That is, would they prefer to do their homework before supper or after supper? Would they prefer to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt? Children, in an attempt to develop independence, will often object to being told what to do. However, if they are given a choice between two or three things they feel less as if they are being controlled and more as if they have some meaningful input into the decision.
Finally, if you want some better control over how you feel, put music on that resonates with the kind of feeling you want to have. That is, if you are feeling lethargic and you would like to feel more energized then put on music that is very lively. Although our tendency is to listen to music that matches our mood this is often not very helpful because it serves to prolong that mood. So, if you want to feel better, play music that will help you feel better and not music that emphasizes the negative feelings you're experiencing.
Small changes in how you phrase things can produce huge results.