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5 Communication Life Preservers

Enjoy your summer vacation a little more. Bring these life preservers with you.

Life Preserver #1: Learn to say "I'm sorry."

Learning to say these two words with sincerity can save a relationship. It's one of the hardest things to say and can also be the easiest. When a conversation takes a bad turn, insert this Dale Carnegie phrase (and mean it): "I may be wrong. I often am."

Life Preserver #2: Don't take the bait or dangle it.

Bait is attached to a hook and hooks can be dangerous. If you've had a bad day, it's never a good day for an important conversation. Run it off. Breathe it out. Shake it off - literally. Delaying an important conversation may be one of the best moves you ever made.

Life Preserver #3: Avoid using words like "never" or "always."

These two words are the red flags of communication; they can put the other person on the defensive and turn a conversation into the blame game. When you hear yourself saying "never" or always" as part of an argument, stop, breathe and start over. When someone else uses those same words, there's a fire starting - calmly and gently put it out.

Life Preserver #4: Follow Mom's advice - "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Don't engage in drama - yours or anyone else's. When these conversations start happening, find a smooth exit or change the subject.

Life Preserver #5: Stop a conversation that's taken a bad turn.

If you know a conversation is escalating, find a way to calm it down. Look for truth. Acknowledge. Diffuse. Reschedule. It may sound like this: "What you're saying is important to me. We've both had a long day and this may not be the best time to discuss this. Can we try again tomorrow?"

FORWARD this work/life preserver to a friend. And enjoy your summer. ~Kathy~

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for more information on motivational programs.

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