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How to Improve Communication Skills by Letting Go of Approval Needs

Aug 18, 2007
Would you like some great tips on how to improve communication skills? By improving your communication skills, we mean that you will become more assertive at communicating your thoughts and opinions. Can this be done? Yes, it can. And it boils down to one general rule: stop seeking other people's approval. When you do this, you will find yourself more confident at expressing your own particular thoughts and opinions.

What are the effects of not seeking other people's approval?

1) You become perceived as a more charismatic individual by other people.

2) You learn to say "no" when needed rather than always saying "yes" to other people.

3) You regain your peace of mind because you no longer feel the need to place yourself in a position of weakness when interacting with other people.

4) You begin to get in touch with your own point of view instead of absorbing other people's point of view in the absence of your own.

But you may be wondering how you go about getting rid of the habit of seeking other people's approval. Here are some tips that should help you with that. With daily practice, you will find that you will eventually be rid of the old habit.

1) Try to be aware of the times that you try to seek other people's approval by saying things just to please them.

2) Change what you are saying to reflect the truth rather than using content that you hope will make the other person more accommodating to you. The truth may hurt, but in the long run, it is more beneficial to both you and the other person. For example, your spouse may ask you "Do I look alright to you?" as you are preparing to go out for dinner. The old habit would make you say "Oh yes, you look terrific!" when the truth is your spouse has some lipstick smeared on her cheek. Change to the new habit of being truthful and tell your spouse "You've got some lipstick smudged on your cheek." The truth is oftentimes simpler to say.

3) Keep monitoring yourself for a period of at least three weeks so that switching to the new habit becomes a matter of daily practice. In time, the new habit becomes easier to use and you won't find it so difficult anymore.

4) It helps to maintain a point system of your own. You might opt to reward yourself for learning the new habit of speaking your mind. For example, if your friend wants to borrow your car for the day, the old you would have automatically said "Oh sure, take the keys. Have fun." even though you would have preferred not to lend the car to him because he doesn't look after the car properly. Switch to the new habit and tell him "I'd rather not lend the car to you." The friend might be quite persistent and keep asking day after day - the trick is to be equally persistent at saying "no, you can't borrow it."

The point system helps you to bolster your own confidence level because you can see how well you stand up to peer pressure. And if you reach a certain number of points, you could opt to reward yourself - maybe you could splurge on a triple-layer ice cream cone, or a new pair of jeans. The point is that it is something you would really enjoy.

As you can see, it takes time to become more assertive but it is possible. Hopefully, this article has been able to teach you how to improve communication skills.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters
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