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How learning to ask for what you want gets results



There is a little saying that the loudest voices attract the most attention and there is a lot of truth in it. Learning to ask for what you want is a skill that takes time but is guaranteed to get results in a number of ways, particularly in helping you to achieve intended objectives.

Many people do not get what they want in life through simple fear: the fear of being denied it; the fear of being thought badly of by asking for it; the fear of not deserving, or being entitled to it, and fear of the consequences of asking, especially if one is not successful. Learning to speak up for yourself clearly and assertively helps to get rid of that fear, to enhance your presence among others and to ensure your are not left behind in the race of life.

There are five ways in which learning to ask for what you want gets you the results you hope for.

First, it gets you the attention you need. If you are not noticed, you are likely to be passed over by others, ignored, sidelined and deprived of what you truly deserve. Society is a very competitive one where too many people chase after too few opportunities and resources. Not asking and remaining reticent might get you to your destination, eventually, but it is likely not to get you there at all, especially if others around you are more vocal and aggressive in fulfilling their own needs!

Second, learning to ask for what you want gradually boosts your confidence to communicate with others even more successfully. Repeated successes in achieving your desires gradually increase your self-belief, raise your self-esteem and heighten your feeling of capability and competence.

Third, learning to ask for what you want makes you more assertive. By being assertive you not only stick up for your corner, but you are also sensitive to the needs of others, a key factor in assertiveness. By asserting yourself in sensitive ways, particularly in the recognition that the other person is as important as yourself, you enhance your position and ensure you are not taken for granted or denied what is due. By asserting your presence you ensure you are not invisible and reinforce your value.

Fourth, constant practice in learning to ask for what you want actually improves your interactional skills. You learn how to be assertive without fear, how to get what you want while enabling others too and how to engage others in a mutually beneficial negotiating process, where necessary. It also avoids ambiguity, helps to clarify what you seek and also your specific direction.

Finally, learning to ask for what you want helps you to achieve tangible objectives which is the cornerstone of success. The greatest results are seeing dreams and goals slowly materialise through your own endeavours. By setting specific goals and being prepared to ask for them, or work towards them, every step of the way, you are more likely to ensure their fulfilment.

How Ambitious Are You?



Four hundred years ago, Sir Walter Raleigh, British explorer extraordinaire, successful courtier and poet, fancied by Queen Elizabeth the 1st, suffered a crisis of conscience. He loved the Queen and she liked him too, but not being royal caused him much anguish regarding any kind of romantic liaison between them.

In a moment of whimsy and heartache, he used his diamond ring to etch the following lovesick statement on his window pane: "Fain (willingly) would I climb, yet fear I to fall."

The Queen, seeming a little impatient with his dithering and obvious lack of confidence, wrote underneath, "If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all"!

Much closer to our own age, nearly 124 years ago, another poet, Scotsman Robert Browning, was more forthright: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

These two examples illustrated a marked difference in the degree of love ambition the two men possessed. Despite his great courage elsewhere as an adventurer, Raleigh felt inadequate because all he could see was the possibility of failing, not the thrill of the chase or the glory of winning. Browning's ambition was boundless, without false barriers, and gave him love and immortality.

Your reaction to the title of this article is likely to depend upon your gender. In our modern times ambition is an ambiguous concept which lends itself easily to contrasting gender applications and sexist malice. For example, men seem more comfortable in accepting ambition as a natural and expected part of their life. Ambition is considered an essential ingredient for the dominant male in his quest for success. He is likely to be seen as a rising star and potential high achiever; one to watch and nurture. A woman similarly endowed is often regarded as 'pushy', 'aggressive' or 'butch', words that are not exactly complimentary and are deliberately meant to imply an absence of the more 'softer' feminine traits.

Negative labels for women
For women, too much ambition is perceived as a negative attribute, suggesting notions of self-fulfilment and importance way above their 'station' in their bid to compete with men. In view of this perspective, many females are often labelled 'ambitious' and 'very intelligent' at unsuccessful interviews, the words suddenly assuming a derogatory nuance because of their female context.

This attitude could have much to do with the general understanding of the word itself. Ambition is often confused with the need for power, but that is only one small aspect of it. Ambition is actually tied to realising the extent of our capabilities while coming to terms with our innermost desires. Personal potential cannot be achieved by doing nothing and hanging back. We have to constantly go forward, testing ourselves to the limit at every opportunity, pushing against individual boundaries, to ensure complete self-fulfilment.

Much frustration is caused by people who are ignorant of their own potential and, for numerous reasons, are secretly afraid to find out. Like Raleigh, they are too hung up on that possible failure instead of concentrating on the experience itself and the equally possible success and the gains to be had. In this way, their growth is stunted from the very beginning. Others might give an air of nonchalance, and contemptuous disdain for their ambitions, while masking secret, unfulfilled, frustrating desires.

At some point, we have all come in contact with the seemingly quiet type who gets on with his or her job and wishes for nothing else, outwardly disdaining material things or promotion, emphasising how 'happy' they are in what they are doing and need nothing else. Or they might detach themselves from ambitious goals. Such people appear to have no need to join the rat race, having rejected the cultural and societal norms around them. Instead, they keep their distance from anything which even hints at advancement for its own sake.

Well, that's what we are supposed to see, but look again closely because there is no such free spirit. Even if there is a reward in the afterlife, they will be hoping for it! :o)

5 magical ingredients for getting what you want



Do you find it easy to know what you want and express it clearly? If not, what is holding you back?

Whether we pay homage to God, Nature, the Universe or whatever, there comes a time when we seek help or intervention for something important to us, something that affects our innermost desires. Very often our prayers or requests are not granted and then we tend to lose hope. But we are not likely to have our prayers answered for three main reasons.

First, we tend to pray or make our request when there is a crisis, so we pray with anxiety and desperation, the panic button at full throttle, with lots of doubts and fears, and no real belief in routine miracles or getting a result! Surprise, surprise, nothing much happens, which then confirms the lurking doubt within us that our god doesn't truly care or isn't really there! Second, any prayer to a higher unseen power takes a massive leap of faith and belief in what is possible and we tend to lack such blind faith. Third, and most important, we fail to ask specifically for what we want because we have not stopped to think about it clearly. Instead we cling to a generalised idea of our situation, a kind of cure-all "Help me, please!" plea because too many things in our life need sorting out. We are afraid to make our request specific in case it might seem unrealistic, unreasonable or even selfish to others.

But that attention to specifics is what helps to provide focus, and once we start to focus we begin to energise the desire, to make it an intention rather than just a fleeting wish, which then moves people and the environment to help us to achieve it. In fact, to show how the Universe (or your God) delivers when we have faith, just think of any item, like a type and colour of car, and focus on it for a while. From that moment on, a rush of cars conforming to that type and colour will come into your vision; the articles which draw your attention in magazines are likely to relate to it and unexpected occurrences around that type of car will begin to happen. The power of thought is phenomenal for fulfilling our wishes. Sooner or later, circumstances will conspire in a series of coincidences to give us that car, if it was our desire. We are on earth to be happy and healthy; to have our desires fulfilled. However, it is a focus on negativity which keeps us feeling unhappy.

The Fulfilment of Dreams
There is no great mystery to fulfilling our dreams. So long as we can articulate exactly what we want, we can always achieve it with action and commitment. I am in total agreement with Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner (NLP: The New Technology of Achievement) when they say, "In NLP we believe that anyone can do anything. If its not possible the world of experience will let us know. We'll find out by doing, not by thinking that we can't."

In fact, I believe that we can have anything we want in our lives if we have five simple attributes, what I call my 'magical ingredients':

1. The SELF-BELIEF that we can make it happen.

2. The FAITH in our abilities, and a higher power, to carry it out.

3. The ACTION and effort to bring it to fruition.
4. The willingness to pay the price in focus and COMMITMENT

5. The COURAGE and patience to see it through.

There is nothing so great about my suggestion. It is the power of thought and belief that has built our world. When I use my computer I am writing on someone else's thought which they brought into being through their belief. When I use a microwave, I use someone else's thought, the direct manifestation of their faith in what is possible. When I drive my car I am enjoying Henry Ford's thought and experimentation for my comfort and journey. Every time I turn on the electric light we take for granted I am using Thomas Edison's thought and the personal courage and determination that took him 10,000 attempts and a massive leap of faith to get it working.

And as you read any this article, or any of my books, you are sharing my thoughts and creations, the end result and confirmation of a deep faith and belief that I could actually write something for public consumption, take action on it and find the courage and determination to bring it to life! I simply asked, believed in it, took action, and it was given.

The Main Reason You Should Be Ambitious



Is there a person who isn't ambitious? Are there really people who are very happy with just what they have and are doing? Well, the news is that there is no such person otherwise they would be stuck in the same place forever!

Not one person in this world is genuinely without ambition or is indifferent to success and recognition because that is simply how we GROW, by pushing ourselves constantly to find our limits and develop our potential. Anyone who gives an impression of not caring about advancement, or the need for others to grant recognition, has actually developed a self-defence mechanism to protect themselves from potential failure or rejection. Such people are most likely to have been hurt in the past, rejected by others they loved or wished to impress, being denied the recognition they openly sought or secretly craved.

This experience would have severely damaged their confidence and belief in themselves, making them thin-skinned and wary. Rejecting the ways of the wider world, or their environment, allows them to feel more in control of their direction and development and less vulnerable to future hurt from others. But it keeps them stuck in the past, or a familiar comfortable groove as they then stop taking risks and settle for much less than they need to develop.

To cope with such disappointments in life or work, many people gradually redefine their status, reluctantly accepting themselves as less competent or less worthy. Some even create their own rules by dramatically changing their lifestyle, by derogating the one they have, and retreating into a more isolated existence somewhere else, often with other like-minded individuals, which puts them firmly in leadership roles. Outwardly, they appear to be satisfied with their achievement or lack of it. However, their sense of injustice is never entirely vanquished, merely repressed to protect their self-esteem. Gradually, many tend to become increasingly bitter and critical of what they have rejected while perceiving themselves to be somewhat superior and above their peers.

Even within religion, those enthusiastic exponents of godliness, glory and goodness, have not been short of their share of ambition and fierce competition. They might be doing God's work without much financial reward but a bishop's mitre, or a cardinal's hat, would do nicely, thank you. Even for the most devoted among us, the ambition is to reach the reward of glory in the afterlife, so something is still being sought, whether on earth or in heaven, for fulfilling expectations and being model Christians, Jews, Muslims or anything else.

Ambition and Hope
In its basic form, ambition represents hope. Without a fully developed sense of ambition we tend to lower our expectations and deprive ourselves of the hope required to expand our horizons, to fulfil our potential, to maintain our spirits and to keep our cherished desires alive. It also engenders competition because our ambition matches us against others and pushes us to our maximum. It may be true that too much ambition can make us cynical bounty hunters without any real commitment, but too little hope removes us from the competitive arena of life, retarding our development. We are then reduced to watching from the sidelines instead of being part of the action or influencing it. Gradually, we settle for second best while we quietly wish our life away with regrets.

If your ambition is low, start raising your sights today by addressing your fears, first of all. You are not really in competition with anyone else. The main aim is the ultimate that YOU can possibly achieve and how much of your potential you can realise, regardless of what is happening to your peers or colleagues. We are all awesome beings with hidden capabilities, but we will never find out just how much until we allow ambition to propel us forward.

Who knows? Raising your sights just that little bit could help you conquer your own special mountain. If it is very high, just allow it to take you as far as you feel comfortable. It might be a wee bit scary, but it will be a great adventure, with lots of fun and learning along the way. Just think how marvelous you will feel when you achieve your own secret ambitions and conquer your particular fears in the process. I can assure you, speaking from personal experience, there will be nothing like it!

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3 Keys to Self-Growth and Success



The first key is: Learn something new every single day of your life.

It was Mahatma Gandhi who said: "Live as though you will die tomorrow and learn as though you will live forever." Powerful encouraging words for our development that demonstrate the importance of learning to the quality of our lives. Trawl the Internet for information, it is the greatest repository of trivia and facts in existence, and put that knowledge to good use. If you feed your body and consider it essential, why not your brain as well? It has to do most of the work to keep your body intact.

You might have heard that knowledge is power but, for me, that is not so. To have knowledge without doing anything about it might make you more aware, but you will be no better down the line. What is truly powerful is applied knowledge, acting upon that information to make it work for you or others. While I was researching for my books, the greatest joy was seeing what other people thought about the subjects covered; being able to reject, ignore or accept their opinions and to compare them with mine to give a more balanced view. There is nothing to beat that when we are educating ourselves. Recent research has found that people who read a lot and keep an active mind are less prone to Alzheimer's disease. So keeping our brains fed and watered obviously affects our bodies too.

The second key is: Emphasise Your Strengths

Keep away from focusing on your perceived weaknessess. Give yourself credit for everything you attempt, whether successful or not. At least you made the effort when you could easily have resisted. By focusing on what you can do, your efforts are applauded instead of just the end product. Starting from a base of what you should, and can, do also helps you to live within the bounds of your limitations while gradually extending them in a comfortable way. Make a list of the things you do well or want to learn, attempting one of them every day or week. It is easy to forget the things you are highly competent at doing, especially when you get little positive feedback.

Continued frustration and having to attempt things we dread, or have real difficulty with, can lead to feelings of inadequacy, especially when our success is dependent upon the approval of others. We then place all our value in their hands and sometimes wait in vain for their feedback. But if that reinforcement is not forthcoming from the significant others around us, and in the form we expect, it will destroy our positive feelings. Relying upon such feedback is what children do out of necessity, because they do not have the inner resources, maturity and life experience adults have. Being older, we have to learn how to create and maintain confidence by emphasising the things we value and appreciate in ourselves, whether it is our own names, customs, successes or endeavours. Surround yourself with positive people because negative ones will never see your perspective and will only drag you down in their own emotional mire and negativity.

The third key is: Set Realistic Goals

Live purposefully and with clear goals. Often fear kills our motivation when we decide to dream big and so we become overwhelmed by the sheer thought of its development and what it might mean to our lives. You should always start with the basics, very simply, and progress slowly in that way. It means setting realistic goals for YOU, no one else, because you are the one who will have to work at them and achieve them. Set goals that will meet your expectations. Small incremental successes over time will gradually improve your capabilities, self-belief and self-worth. Avoid making the same mistakes again by learning from them, while remembering that every setback makes you wiser and stronger. Keep your focus on the substance, not just on the form or the glossy structures. Any failure simply means you are not successful yet, but your turn will definitely come if you have the faith, resilience and the patience, and also take time out for regular self-development.

What is POWER, and do you have it?



Power lies at the heart of control and the desire to control is central to all of us. It is tied up with our need for security. Without control we feel lost and at sea, insecure and vulnerable. The need to control our future, our environment, the consequences of our actions, our children, homes, money and other people is what keeps us going. Personal confidence is increased if we believe we are 'in charge' and 'on top of things', i.e. in control. Once we have command of people and resources we are seen to have power.

But what is power, and is control the essence of power?

There are two types of power: personal and professional. Many people associate professional power with wealth, having the right connections or being able to influence the lives of a lot of people. In fact, real power is none of those things because they are all transitory and depend on too many external factors for their maintenance. If you are rich, the money doesn't automatically give you power. It gives you the freedom and independence to decide your future, to establish your own lifestyle and possibly to recruit people to assist your endeavours. Your money may be able to help you to buy anything under the sun but you have limited power if there is just one person who could prevent you doing what you truly desire, or if your peers deny you respect.

Professional Power
Knowing the right connections, i.e. using other people to help you up, is no power at all. It is actually a tacit admission that you cannot make it on your own and ultimately renders you powerless because your future is always in the hands of others. There will be favours that you owe them so you will forever be obliged to them for their help. It might boost your status to be associated with a particular person or social group, but it robs you of real independence, personal pride and the will to succeed on your own. To remain in their favour, you have to play the rules of their game, which reduces your options appreciably and any influence you may have to decide your own actions.

Finally, being in charge of other people, even if you were president or prime minister, does not give you power per se. It would give you status and influence, but no real power. True professional power comes from authority; the authority granted by others which we can never take onto ourselves. Without it there is no power. For example, George Bush(USA) and Tony Blair(UK) might have been a President and Prime Minister, but their power was noticeably eroded towards the end of their terms in office because of their unpopular actions on the Iraq war. Their authority has been reduced because of those actions.

Compare that to Barack Obama who is perceived to be the 'most powerful' man on earth, despite his newness and lack of experience, mainly because he commands the authority of his position because of his personality, leadership skills and stature. Dictators have no authority to rule either and so take power by force. They can only maintain that power by continued force and repression because their action would have stirred deep resentment. The minute there is a slip, someone with real authority will be waiting to take over.

Personal Power
Personal power comes from being able to act upon choices and to make decisions which can affect your daily routine or your whole future. Our level of confidence is also determined by the degree of control we believe we have over our situation, both personally and professionally. If we perceive ourselves to be impotent, having little power to change circumstances to suit ourselves, or to increase our personal enjoyment, we gradually lose confidence because others come to see that impotence too. With a loss of power comes the belief that we are not as good as others and that thought carries acute low self esteem with it.

If you cannot make a decision which controls your own life, without someone else's approval, agreement or permission, you have very little power. If you cannot act upon the various options available, selecting the ones most suitable and beneficial for you and those who matter, you have no personal power. If you lack the belief in your abilities and the faith in your capacity to affect your life positively, you will be unable to fulfil your potential and you will feel powerless to act in influencing your direction.

Personal power is very important for building confidence and boosting self-esteem because it is the feeling of certainty that we have the freedom to do anything we want, and the capacity and the means to do it, which makes us feel truly alive. The limits if such power are dictated by those who can stop us in our tracks. Absolute power comes from having the authority to act, yet not having to answer to any superior. On a personal basis, such power comes from a love of ourself, belief in our capabiilties and the faith to know that everything is possible in our life.

A lack of personal power is thus the biggest killer of our confidence. It continually lowers our self esteem and keeps us in a state of weakness and impotence. In short, feeling powerless in our life is likely to keep us invisible, vulnerable, unhappy, dependent and exposed.

Are you as successful as you desire? If not, your GOALS could be letting you down!



The achievement of goals define true success, no matter what those goals are. But many people fail to achieve their own goals because of some basic omissions.

For example, for a routine journey we seldom get into a car and head nowhere in particular. We always have some destination in mind, no matter how vague, and we aim for it. Our life is a journey too. It begins from birth and ends in death with a lot of experiences along the way. We can never control life fully, but setting goals and achieving them allow us to enjoy more of what we value and desire. It stops us being at the mercy of the unexpected and gives us a sense of genuine satisfaction in all areas of our existence.

There are seven main factors to remember when setting goals, if you wish to be successful.

1. Your goal must be what you personally want
If it is what you really want, instead of what your friend or family desires, and not just a whim, you will work harder to achieve it. It will also carry greater meaning and relevance for you and you will certainly want to have it. Pointless getting a bike because your friends have a bike when you really would prefer a car. If you stick to what you want for yourself, you will find it easier to achieve.

2. Your goal must align with your values and lifestyle.
If you don't like taking orders, for example, you shouldn't set a goal for going into the military. You might like the career security and progression it offers but you will dread the hierarchical structure and being ordered about. Better to enjoy your independence in another job.

3. Write down all your goals
By writing them down you give them life. So this is a very important step. Write down the details so that you can see how you are going to achieve them, and dream BIG! Allow yourself to think randomly and in any way you want, no matter how fantastic. How many people in the past would have imagined anything like the awesome Internet? That would have been above a lot of people's comprehension. Yet here we are enjoying the daily benefits of it. If you can think it, it is possible, so write it down. Once you have done that, place them in achievable order, the easiest goals at the top with the hardest ones at the bottom. By starting with the 'easier' ones you will get results quickly, you will begin to see tangible benefits and, best of all, those small successes will give you the confidence to move on to the bigger aims. Interestingly, by dealing with the top ones first, their achievement tends to have a domino effect on the others, anyway, one goal affecting the next one afterwards, and so on.

4. Goals must always be written in the positive
We find it easier knowing the things we don't want or like than the things we do. But do not use negative language when you are talking about your future. All the inventions we have in our world came into being from people actually thinking about them, not thinking of what they didn't want. Bill Gates thought of Microsoft and created it. So think positively about what you want, what you desire and what would make you happy and avoid the things you dislike when making your list.

5. Make your goals specific
You cannot work for something that is vague. There is a big difference between "I aim to reduce my household expenses each month" and "I aim to reduce my electricity bill by $20 per month for the next six months, a total of $120 saving". Immediately you can see exactly what you have to do and the result it will have. Even when you are setting a goal for a job you need to write down the key reasons why you want that job, what the benefits are and how it will align with your lifestyle. By doing that process with every goal you will soon see any flaws, obstacles or contradictions in what you are seeking. You will also be able to see the results you want in the distance and to focus on them which makes it more likely to get them.

6. Your goals should always be measurable
Anything that has a 'done by' date attached to it will have far more chance of being realised than something which has no time frame. When we don't attach finishing times to goals it is because we are afraid of committing ourselves to it in a given period, we lack the self-belief and confidence in that aim. We then leave it deliberately vague so that it becomes a never ending target. But because it has no focus or finish, it will never be done and will just hang around indefinitely too as we gradually lose interest in it. The sad result is that few achievements are possible in those circumstances. No matter what your goal is, not matter how large or small, attach a finish date. When that date arrives, review your progress on it and set another date if it hasn't been achieved yet. In that way you will be able to work out what the obstacles are, if any, and how you can deal with them.

7. Goals should always be tangible
You should be able to see and feel every one your goals. It is pointless saying "I want to be rich". That's vague and intangible. However, if you said, "I would like to have $10 million by 2015", you will then be able to begin the focus to bring that specific amount of money to life. No matter how big you dream, make it TANGIBLE and specific and you are more likely to see a result because you will be able to monitor your progress along the way.

Many people don't achieve want they want simply through fear. Fear tends to rule our desires to the extent that we are even afraid to dream because we might believe they won't come true. But our world is built on dreams, someone else's thoughts which have come to life, like the computer, the microwave or the WiFi. With a little bit of self-belief, persistence and determination, you can be very successful in achieving your own goals too.

The Importance of Interpersonal Skills



A relative once confided rather gloomily that he had been to a party which was not very enjoyable because hardly anyone spoke to him. Lacking the necessary interpersonal skills, he clammed up like a frightened crab, hugged one section of the room and hoped someone else would make the first move. No one did and he was the loser. Being frightened of initiating contact themself, he was, of course, ignored.

Interpersonal skills are essential ingredients of good communication and social finesse, but they do not come naturally. They are strongly related to the way we were brought up (whether we were expected to be seen and not heard), our inner feelings about ourselves, our level of confidence and degree of interest in others. When such skills are missing in the home, group or office, it can lead to loneliness, frustration, non-cooperation and substandard service. Routine skills are required on three levels: personal, social and occupational. To have them well-developed means you can communicate verbally, physically and in writing with far more confidence and assurance.

For example, merely knowing how to use a phone is an indispensable personal tool. Often people dial a number without any idea of what they are going to say or how they should address the person at the other end. Instead, they become the victim of nervousness, they mumble incoherently and at length while they waste needless time in their search for information and their desire to be understood. On the other hand, some receptionists may rudely, or impatiently, respond to callers in a manner suggesting some surprise that anyone should ring their number to disturb their peace!

The Need for Social Skills
Good interpersonal skills assume even more importance on a social level. They are the invisible glue which binds relationships together. Without those skills, we would cause much pain and anguish for our friends and associates and unhappiness for ourselves. Advance skills reveal themselves through a readiness to share ideas and resources, to give credit where it is due, to offer constructive criticism, to enquire into a person's health or circumstance or even being the first one to say hello.

Shy people find it difficult to do most of these things because their own level of self appreciation is often so low they cannot project a favourable image of themselves or take any genuine interest in others. The focus is always on themselves as they seek approval without really having the courage to get what they want. Being pre-occupied with what strangers are going to think, or how they will be treated, shy people come to dread every interaction.

But if we find it uncomfortable to talk, meet people on their level or make constructive contributions, we are missing out on much of what helps us to hone those skills to perfection. Inevitably, they remain underused, underdeveloped and immature. My relative was afraid of talking to others first and, being equally self-conscious, they were afraid of taking the plunge too. RESULT: Unnecessary tension, needless fear and missed opportunities.

The third level of interpersonal skills is connected with our jobs. It is at work where they are in great demand, especially when a good deal of office politics arises from petty jealousy, lack of confidence and poor social skills. Like the personnel director of a large company whose secretary was the third one in a year and she was already half way through the door because of his boorishness. Being very good at his job, he probably believed his position made him indispensable and excused him from the 'trivia' of treating staff properly. However, his inept behaviour was a sure sign of weak interpersonal skills, common to those who neglect or derogate their staff. They are often 'too busy' to communicate, yet readily showing up to pronounce verdict the minute things go wrong.

Negative Interactions
This is because, at the negative end of the social skills continuum are people who constantly find fault first, no matter how good something is; who are often aggressive; who enjoy bullying others and even like to use violence to disguise their lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Chronically lacking in interpersonal skills, they use alternative methods of social interaction to push their way through the world. In this forceful manner, they use their physical size, intellect, narrow perspectives or controlling manner to impose their viewpoint on others and belittle their honest efforts. This might compensate for their own inadequacies but it keeps their interpersonal skills at a primitive level. There is not much room to manoeuvre if one is always right!

People who are regularly abusive and aggressive; who are constantly on guard and suspicious of others and who deliberately display an air of Ramboesque bravado, have built barriers around themselves to prevent exposing their vulnerability one crying out to be wanted and appreciated. They may have been hurt in the past or they have had little personal recognition so they go on the defensive, seeing slights and insults even where none is intended.

Often they find it difficult to reason orally because their verbal skills are limited and their actions dictated by habit rather than logic or context. For them, being aggressive breeds a 'toughness' they wish to display while hiding their acute fear and lack of esteem. However, the only guaranteed result is that such actions reduce their positive interactions even more, thereby diminishing their status as well as the regard and respect of others.

It is not difficult to appreciate that speaking clearly and concisely, making people feel welcome, being able to join in a discussion, appreciate a colleague openly or rationally argue a point of view, are all useful personal skills which enhance our competence and general

10 Simple Ways of Developing Good Interpersonal Skills



Developing good interpersonal skills socially and at work begins with looking outwards; being very generous with praise and having a genuine desire to listen and encourage at every opportunity. Too many people are only interested in hearing their own voices, or putting their colleagues down. This could explain why many organisations are short on innovation but long on windbags who, having the authority and a captive audience to match, drone on relentlessly because they believe their utterances to be paramount.

Like a former colleague who used to boast that, as director, he was the only person who talked at his meetings because he tended to have the best ideas. He did not like suggestions and emphasised that he always had to tell his staff what to do, because 'they never have anything to contribute'. It was no surprise that he went bust a few months later, his business having become sorely short of new input, tolerance and general goodwill.

If you have any doubts about your skills in dealing with others, you could improve the situation by following some simple suggestions.

1. Never be afraid to make the first move, but try to be positive, not negative. Try to compliment, where possible

2. Try to address someone by their exact name. Remembering a person's name is a sincere sign of interest, is highly flattering, and never forgotten.

3. Praise first and criticise later, and only if you have to.

4. Make constructive criticisms, not destructive ones, bearing in mind that there are many routes to the same end. If you show colleagues how to build on what they already have it will be far more productive than destroying the foundations they've laid mainly for your own ego.

5. Aim to be clear, brief and courteous on the telephone.

6. Keep meetings short and interesting. Try to involve everyone present. It is easy to notice the articulate ones while you miss the ones who could really make a difference through encouragement.

7. Try to LISTEN more than you speak. You are likely to notice certain unspoken elements which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Not only that, the person will feel you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.

8. Try to be more persuasive than divisive. People will go to the ends of the earth for you if they feel valued and appreciated. It means you get much more done that way.

9. Always acknowledge another person's point of view, even if you disagree with it. Their view is important to them, just as yours is important to you. If there is a deadlock, think about it for a while and agree to differ, if nothing changes.

10. Above all, it is your right to express yourself freely, to support what you believe in, as long as you remember that this right also applies to everyone else and carries much responsibility for both compromise and sensitivity.

These simple guidelines may not reduce all your anxieties, or solve all your interpersonal problems, but, with regular usage, your skills should dramatically improve and your personal approach positively enhanced. In time, the quality of your interactions should become far more enjoyable and infinitely more rewarding all round.

Should kissing up to your boss be a must if you want to get ahead?



Yes, I would think that kissing up to your boss is a must if you wish to advance in life, especially if that is what the boss requires. 'Kissing up' in this instance means fawning over the boss and virtually doing everything they ask that's work related. Some Britons would also call it 'sucking up' to the boss.

When people have created their businesses, they define the ethos, the values and the conditions under which that business will be maintained and will recruit its staff. An effective boss will be interested in what you are bringing to the job by way of qualifications, experience, expertise, skill and enthusiasm. He/She would be interested in nurturing you and bringing out the best in you in a fair and even way, not in having favourites or expecting to be treated in a certain way.

However, there are many bosses who lack confidence in themselves and their role, who like the power their role gives them over others, especially over vulnerable females, and who believe that being kissed up to is the mark of being the boss. In such cases, kissing up to the boss is the only way you are going to get ahead. If you do not wish to kiss up to anyone like that, then you are in the wrong place and should get out of there as soon as possible before you compromise yourself.

It might be difficult to gauge the ethos of an organisation when you first join it until you have been there for a little while. But bosses like to surround themselves with people who make them feel comfortable, who reinforce and affirm them, who make them feel worthy and in charge. If you are not prepared to do that for them, then you won't get ahead with such bosses and you can always go and create your own business and be the boss too. However, if kissing up is what the boss requires, and you wish to get into his/her good books and climb the corporate ladder, you need to start puckering up from now because he/she has the power to keep you right where you are if you don't!