Effective Business Communication – How to Eliminate the Number One Obstacle

Do you wish you had the ability to inspire people into action so they could more easily create greater success and rewarding results? Would you like to know how to foster willing [tag-tec]cooperation[/tag-tec] in ways that everyone enjoys?

Whether you already have good [tag-tec]communication skills[/tag-tec], you’re taking [tag-tec]business communication[/tag-tec] courses and are practicing what you’re learning, or if you realize it’s time to look into new business [tag-tec]communication methods[/tag-tec], this article will help you take your business communication to the next level by learning to create alignment with other people.

What do we mean by alignment, and how can you create it? Read on to find out

Alignment – It’s Not Just for Tires

If you’re like most people, it’s likely that the only time you think about alignment is during your regular car maintenance. While that’s not the “alignment” we’re talking about here, it does operate on the same principle.

In order for your car to function at its best, it’s important that your tires are aligned – that they’re all moving in the same direction. The same is true for any [tag-tec]business relationship[/tag-tec]; they’ll be at their best when the people involved are aligned and moving in the same direction toward a result that is  desired by everyone.

What we’re talking about here is not about improving your communication skills or just learning new [tag-tec]listening techniques[/tag-tec]. Establishing effective business communication, or any interaction where people need to work together to create the best outcome, begins with creating alignment.

Think about it this way: in life, we go about the activity of our lives, heading in our own directions while we’re trying to achieve our own results. At the same time, we are all inter-connected with each other. As we try to achieve the results we want, these interconnections put limits on how far we can go in our direction without the involvement of others.

However, when we have alignment with others about what we want and we start sharing the same vision, it makes it much easier to cooperate with the others involved to get our desired outcomes. Alignment opens the way for mutual satisfaction and greater success.

The First Step is Internal Alignment

Before you can create alignment with someone else, you need to identify and be able to express what’s most important to you about the outcome you want. To do this, you’ll need to identify the underlying [tag-tec]values[/tag-tec] hidden within your desired outcome.

As an example, perhaps your team tends to come lat e to meetings and this impacts your ability to accomplish the objectives of the meeting. So you want everyone in the office to show up 10 minutes before a meeting starts. When you dig down to find the hidden value, you might discover that consideration is very important to you, or you might highly value efficiency and effectiveness. Just remember, within every desired outcome there are values that motivate you to want that in the first place.

Key Points for an Alignment Conversation

Once you identify your own underlying values, it’s time to discover the values that you share within the team, partnership or group. You start this discovery process by expressing the values you’ve identified as important to you in your work environment. Then you ask if those things are also important to the others involved, and if they would be willing to explore ways to create that kind of experience.

As you start the alignment conversation, it’s important to remember to keep it as strategy-free as possible. During this beginning stage, we suggest that you make an agreement with the other person to try and identify what’s important to you about the issue at hand , such as starting meetings on time, before you figure out any strategies to get the specifics of what you want. Once you’ve agreed upon your shared vision, there will be plenty of time to move on to the specifics of how to reach your goals.

It’s also wise if you and the other person, or group, agree to avoid spending time talking about the failures of the past. (Bringing up the past can be useful, but only if it is done to understand the values that may have been missing in the past, but not to assign fault or to justify your skepticism.)

Some other things to include in the alignment conversation include:

  • A willingness to negotiate strategies that are mutually agreeable
  • A commitment to let go of judgments and criticisms
  • An agreement to celebrate all wins that come from this conversation

Putting Alignment Conversations to Work

Alignment conversations are the process of discovering your shared values and creating a shared vision. The [tag-tec]shared vision[/tag-tec] you create might be something like: having a more harmonious working relationships, being more effective, or increasing productivity.

Once you are sharing the same vision, you’re now working toward the same end result — the big picture of what you all want. This will make it easier to create situations that produce results that everyone will enjoy. Once you’ve define your shared vision, you’re ready to effectively [tag-tec]negotiate[/tag-tec] strategies to achieve your desired results.

When everyone is making agreements from a shared vision, you’ll start rolling down the road to cooperation and teamwork with far fewer bumps than you encountered before. Alignment and shared vision are the foundation of cooperation and teamwork that will increase productivity and create rewarding results for everyone involved.


Can You Regain Trust in Your Relationship with a Lying Spouse? Part 2

Re-Establishing Trust in Your Relationship

Lost Relationship Trust

(The following is Part 2 of our response to a question we received. To the best of our ability we removed all personally identifying information and have made the situation as generic as possible.)

We assume you have read part one of this response in the previous blog post. We also hope you have taken the opportunity to read the article we suggested near the end of that post. Part one concluded with the importance of [tag-tec]establishing trust[/tag-tec] in your ability to take care yourself in this kind of situation, whether or not you choose to stay with your spouse.

If you choose to move forward in the relationship, then it will be important to establish more openness and honesty with your spouse. It can be quite challenging to [tag-tec]reestablish trust[/tag-tec] with the spouse who has lied about something as important as drug use, and overcoming these issues can take quite a while. So we recommend you only undertake this journey if you trust your ability to take care of yourself along the way.

But, no matter how much you trust yourself, you cannot [tag-tec]reestablish trust with your spouse[/tag-tec] on your own. Your spouse has to want this too. As the saying goes: It takes two to tango. It will take cooperation from both of you to get your relationship back on track.

We have an article that offers advice about how to establish this kind of [tag-tec]cooperation[tag-tec]. And most importantly, it does it in a way that can free you from judgment, blame, fear, and shame that you and your spouse may feel toward each other in this situation.

Following the steps in this article can help you start to reestablish the trust has been lost. It will help you figure out what each of you wants from your relationship and what each of you are willing to do to resolve your current [tag-tec]relationship troubles[/tag-tec]. The title of the article is: 5 Keys for Creating Genuine Cooperation in All Your Relationships

You can the process described in this article to come to agreement about what you want to create in your relationship together, and then make specific agreements to work together to create it. Practicing genuine cooperation is the best way we know to build trust in relationship.

Getting Help for the Journey Ahead

If you both agree that you want to work together to resolve these trust issues and [tag-tec]improve your relationship[/tag-tec], then we suggest you seek the support of someone with [tag-tec]relationship counseling skills[/tag-tec] that you trust. This help can be very important in keeping you on track as make progress [tag-tec]regaining the trust you’ve lost in your relationship[/tag-tec].

You may be able to find someone with these skills by asking your friends, coworkers, or your spiritual counselors to suggest someone they trust. You may already know someone who is fair, impartial, and has the wisdom to provide the guidance you need. But regardless of how you choose to find them, we strongly suggest that you get this support.

Whatever you choose to do next, we hope you are able to do it with compassion for yourself and for your spouse.

We hope this has helped in some small way. We would enjoy hearing from you if it has.

Committed to supporting your happiness,

Beth and Neill

You Are In Control – How to Fix Your Relationship Problems in Four Simple Steps

[tag-tec]Need Relationship Advice[/tag-tec]?


If you’re unhappy with any of your [tag-tec]relationships[/tag-tec], you’re probably placing some of the blame on the other person. At one level, it does make it easier to handle, when we don’t think it is entirely our fault if things are not how we would like them to be. But at the same time we are only prolonging our pain and suffering, because you are in control of your own peace and happiness.. It’s time to stop waiting for the other person to change.

You probably already realize that you cannot change other people, so stop trying. Now this is not to say you can’t request cooperation or negotiate agreements, what we’re saying is you must first begin with yourself. You are in control of creating the healthier, happier relationships you want.

It’s true. Changing relationships that are not going the way you would like them to is actually possible. Sometimes talking about problems helps resolve them, other times more drastic measures are called for. Whatever the problem, you probably already know that ignoring it is not going to help. Here are four steps that you can take to [tag-tec]improve your relationships[/tag-tec], even if you think you’ve already done all that you can.

One – Discover What Your Values Are

Before you can fix a troubled relationship, you must clearly identify what it is that you value for yourself. Think about exactly what you want to experience in your relationships. Maybe you value peaceful, harmonious relationships, ones that do not involve conflict or fighting. You might want to have more honest and satisfying relationships.

Values are not equivalent to strategies. You cannot establish harmony and peace in a relationship simply by eliminating conflict and fighting. You have to develop a strategy that will lead you to harmony—not just to avoid fighting.

Two – Decide What it is That You Truly Want from Your Relationships

When you are identifying your values and strategies, it’s critical that you focus on the positives of what you DO want, not what you DON’T want. These two things are not one and the same.

If you identify that you do not want your significant other to spend so much time with their friends, and then they decide to work more, this is not solving any of your relationship problems. Instead, identify a value such as connection or intimacy, and then focus your attention on developing strategies that work toward that value.

If you express things in terms of what you DON’T want, this does not clarify what you DO want. Instead of saying things in negative terms, express to your relationship partners what it is that you do want and look forward to from your relationship, and you will be more likely to get those things specifically. Only then will you see the real changes you hoped for.

Three – Take Time to Find Out What the Other Person Wants

So, you have successfully identified what it is that you want in your relationship. Now, it’s time to identify what it is that the other person wants. This is the only way you can truly create a shared vision for the relationship. Identifying what you each want makes it possible for all parties to be satisfied. By taking the initiative, you are demonstrating how much you care about the relationship, opening the other person to the possibility of wanting to make it better, too.

You can help the other person identify what they value in a few different ways. One is to ask them what they want in the relationship. This is not always the most effective method; however, because others may not know what’s most important to them. Another way is to observe their behaviors, and guess what the value that may be driving them to behave in certain ways. Remember, only guess strategy free values. You can use our free value sheet as a guide.

It is very likely that if you ask the other person what they want, they’ll tell you how they want you to change something. As discussed earlier, changing the other person is not the best way to make a relationship better. They just might not realize this yet. You can help get to their underlying values by doing a little digging on your own, and even telling them about the values that you have identified for yourself and how you learned to do that. Mutual satisfaction is the goal, and helping your relationship partner identify what they would like is one step you can take toward better relationship cooperation.

Four – Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

Any relationship difficulty can leave a person feeling tremendous amounts of pain, self-doubt, or insecurity. Recognize these feelings in yourself, and remember that these uncomfortable feelings can be easily triggered by small things that happen.

When triggering events happen and you react in ways you don’t enjoy, remember to shift your focus of attention to what you are trying to accomplish. Keep in mind that you cannot change the past, and let yourself off the hook a little bit for things you may have done that you regret. Don’t assume that the past will predict the future. The future is the part you have the ability to change.

You need to avoid taking your own feelings personally, too. When you experience self-doubt, guilt, or insecurity, remember that everyone feels these things at some point. Identify the triggers that have you react rather than respond in a situation, and take the necessary steps to recharge yourself and get back to the positive place that you have worked so hard to develop.

It is important to be gentle with yourself during difficult times. Relationships can be very tricky, so give yourself some credit for attempting to make your relationships healthy and happier. Stay aligned with your values, and you will reap the rewards. We guarantee it!

The Power of WE

Got[tag-tec] Conflict Management?[/tag-tec]

Do you ever find that you avoid [tag-tec]working something out with someone [/tag-tec] because you fear that just bringing it up may start an argument?

To overcome this fear the first thing you need to do is avoid having an “Us vs. Them” mentality. That’s easier said than done, because this pattern of thinking is extremely common in our culture. We are trained not to trust people from a very young age: “don’t talk to strangers,” “look out for number one,” and we should “always come out on top.”

This competitive mindset impedes our ability to develop cooperative and effective relationships.

Now is the Timecooperation

Creating cooperative relationships that are focused on the power of a “We” mentality can only happen when we are able to establish alignment with others. This involves clearly identifying our own intentions and being able to determine the intentions of others. Only when you have this information can you work toward developing alignment of purpose and reliable agreements that will help improve the relationship.

Feel the WE

A shared vision of success is critical for resolving any relationship issue. Are there similar things that you both hope to achieve? Start there, and work toward “getting on the same page” as your relationship partner. From the perspective of shared goals it is much easier to appreciate the power of working together, the true power of “We.”

“Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.” ~ Woodrow Wilson

Once you experience alignment, you will know the power of the “We” mentality and why it will bring you far greater satisfaction in all your relationships.

Do Conflicts and Confrontations Have You Turn and Run for the Hills

Effective Confrontation Controlconfrontation

Are you a “[tag-tec]confrontation[/tag-tec] avoider”? Do you find that you will settle for things that do not satisfy you, just to avoid a possible conflict with someone?

What if you could learn to handle confrontation more effectively and find satisfying solutions to any conflicts? Chances are you would be much happier, right?

Learning how to effectively [tag-tec]deal with confrontation [/tag-tec]may not be an easy task. But, avoiding conflicts can lead to even more serious underlying problems.

When you begin avoiding confrontation, you often start to worry about where the next confrontation will be–spending more and more energy worrying about avoiding them. Worry leads to anxiety and physical tension, and then not only do you end up with emotional issues but, physical ones as well.

What’s the First Step Towards Relief ?

Finding a way to[tag-tec] deal with confrontation proactively[/tag-tec] is the first step that will lead to a more peaceful and happy life.

Before you do anything else, we suggest that you reinterpret your ideas about confrontation, and learn to see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” ~ William Ellery Channing

Reinterpret Confrontation?

In order to do this, it’s important to really understand what confrontation is. The dictionary defines confrontation as: “a disharmony resulting from a clash of ideas or opinions.” Confrontation takes place anytime people are opposed to each other’s opinions or objectives.

Conflicts don’t happen merely because people have differing thoughts, goals, or opinions, because there will always be people who have different goals and opinions!

Confrontation only crops up when one or both parties view these as “opposing” ideas or believe that their ideas “clash with the other persons.”

Because folks will always have different opinions, the only way to truly avoid or ward off a “confrontation” is to perceive at it from a different viewpoint.

What’s the Alternative?

Here’s an another meaning of “confrontation:” to bring face-to-face. When you recognize that there will always be some people that have different opinions than you, you can begin to relax and see opportunities to meet people face-to-face.

When you begin handling confrontation in a more creative way, you are less likely to defend your position or attack the other person. You’ll be more relaxed and open to exploring the situation and discover solutions that are satisfying for everyone.

You can begin by asking yourself this question: “When I encounter people with different points of view, how can I handle the situation creatively and improve myself at the same time?”

By staying away from conflict you are also running away from opportunities for self-improvement, collaboration, and new understandings, because these are the benefits you’ll get from genuinely meeting someone face-to-face.