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TIPs (This Is Powerful) is designed to give communicators at all levels some helpful tips on how to make their communications more effective. Each month we will add another tip either from our curriculum or from suggestions offered by people in the PowerCommunicators program. If we use your communication tip in TIPs, you will receive a gift and an acknowledgment on the TIPs page to show our appreciation.

TIP #1 - Visualization
Athletes have used visualization techniques for years. Figure skaters imagine themselves going through their entire routine, from taking center ice, to flawlessly executing their routine, to receiving a standing ovation at the end of their performance. Basketball players imagine themselves at the foul line with the score tied and time having run out, making the free throws that count and winning the game. Whatever the sport, the visualization is always one that starts and ends positively.

The same technique can be used by people who need to communicate something important. They visualize, or "see" themselves delivering their message clearly and their audience being very understanding and receptive to that message. You can visualize yourself positively in nearly every communication situation: from simple introductions to interviews to speaking in front of large audiences. In the latter case, for example, visualize yourself going to the podium, delivering your remarks and "seeing" people in the audience nodding their heads in understanding and agreement. Why not visualize the audience applauding you and your message? Hey, if you deserve it, go for the standing ovation!

TIP #2 - Watch TV! Listen to the Radio! Listen to People Communicating!
Observe professional communicators on television, or listen to them on the radio, or during real life events. Ask yourself why these communicators are good·or not so good. How well did they know their subjects; how comfortable did they appear; what was their body language like; did they have good eye contact? Why were you interested in what they had to say?

Communicators are not just people who talk. Singers, comics, and musicians, for instance, are also communicators. They have a message that is delivered with the expectation of a desired outcome. Observe what separates a good singer from a not-so-good singer. It's not just the quality of the singer's voice or the song. It's also the body language, the emotion conveyed, and the level of engagement achieved with the audience.

TIP #3 - The Only Person on the Planet
"He spoke to me as if I were the only person in the room." You've heard that said about certain people and the special way they make you feel when they are communicating with you. On the other hand, we are all too familiar with the person whose eyes are always looking around as if to find someone or something more interesting than you, or someone more deserving of their attention. That's extremely rude and it makes you feel pretty UN-special. If you don't have quite the gifts of charm and charisma that some communicators have, try the "eye thing." Look at the person with whom you are communicating as if this were the only person who mattered to you at that moment·as if this was the only person on the planet! The effects of this small, yet powerful technique can be astounding.

Try this: the next time you speak with someone individually, focus on them-who they are, what they mean to you, what they're saying, and what you are saying to them-as if they're the only person who matters to you. And do this sincerely. Note their reaction. Practice on a few different kinds of people. They will notice. Then try to bring this technique to larger audiences. This Is Powerful! It is a technique that can become a standard practice for you over time and only strengthen your skills as a communicator.

TIP #4 - The Cell Phone
The cell phone allows conversations to take place where they never took place before. Yes, the cell phone has become a remarkable way for us to extend our communications abilities. You can talk with people when you're on the bus, during a meal, when you are with friends, at sporting events, practically anywhere! The cell phone has also produced some of the rudest behavior on the planet! Many places have even banned its use.

Use common sense before you reach for that phone. Let's say you are talking to someone and the phone rings. If you answer it, that tells the person you were just speaking with that the caller-whomever it may be-is a more important person to talk with. Very rude. If you're expecting an important call, let the person you're having a conversation with know this. When the phone rings, politely excuse yourself, take the call, make it quick, hang up, and excuse yourself again. If the call is not important, shut the thing off! You can call back later.

Same thing if you need to make a call. Some times it looks as if people are making calls to either look important, or to bring attention to themselves. What's the rudest cell phone behavior you've witnessed?

TIP #5 - How to Ask for What You Want
Asking for what you want in life is another "secret" to achieving, learning, getting, and succeeding that not enough people seem to know about. You'll never get that scholarship, marry that woman, find out why the sky is blue, get that raise, or make the team if you don't ask. Most people don't ask because they are afraid the answer will be "No." There is a fear of rejection, embarrassment, or humiliation. So what? Another failure to build your eventual success upon.

That reluctance, fear, or hesitation based on expecting a negative outcome can be replaced by an attitude that desires and expects a positive result, even after the first, second, or tenth try. This calls for some re-programming, but we've seen it happen numerous times. Be encouraged to take risks and accept failure once in a while. The only people who don't fail are those who never take risks or who don't try. Successful people are those who understand the importance of taking calculated risks and who learn from their failures. The people who don't get what they ask for are usually those who didn't ask, or didn't know how to ask.

What things have you asked for, and then gotten? What things have you not asked for, and why not? What's holding you back?

Well, are you going to ask for those things, or not? Trust us, This Is Powerful!

TIP #6 - Anger Management
Communicate with your heart and head. Part of anger non-management or, anger mis-management, is a result of disengaging our heads and letting our hearts fly: people "not thinking before they speak." Oftentimes, with regrettable results. Why do we need to manage our anger? What are the benefits, what are the drawbacks? Is there a good time to not manage your anger? What makes you angry? Are you able to control your anger? Why is it important to control this anger? Have you ever said anything to someone when you were angry, then wished you could "take it back"? Well, you can't. You said it, and it's a matter of "public record." You may have 'burned a bridge" before you even got to it!

There is no scarcity of people in the public eye whose anger needs management. Name one or two and write down what you think of this person.