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10 Ways to Communicate More Positively With Those Around

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by inkpal

I once had a friend who liked dumping all her troubles on me over lunch. On a daily basis we both left feeling frustrated and worn out. Eventually I decided to try an experiment. Every time my friend said something negative I looked at her blankly, but I gave strong approval to positive comments. Within a week, we were both enjoying our lunch more and leaving refreshed.

So how can we communicate more positively and spread encouragement among our friends and colleagues?



  1. Model What You Would Like to See Out of Others

This one is as old as the golden rule, “do to others what you would want them to do to you”, but it's a demonstrated fact that behavior patterns or even emotional responses can be contagious and spread between people. Like toner cartridges in a copy machine, people generally duplicate what they see.
  2. Be Proactive When Others Feel Hopeless

Unfortunately, there are always times when the future looks less than promising. Recognize that whatever the situation, the people who act and move forward get further than those who despair. Take the situation for what it is… then change it!
  3. Cultivate What You Want in How You Respond

This was the technique I used with my friend. People will always give you more of what you respond to. If you want to cultivate encouragement or positive attitudes, show your approval and attention when good responses come.
  4. Be Real With Others

There's nothing positive about denying reality, but there is something refreshing about acknowledging it and moving forward. Don't be afraid to recognize problems and struggles in the present, but recognize that the future still holds answers.
  5. Deflect Attacks by Probing for a Cause

A few people in the world are truly mean, but most just respond to deeper struggles inside. Before you react to something or let it become a problem for you, recognize that those around you may be facing hard times. Use it as an opportunity to understand and help them better.
  6. Refuse to Focus on Yourself

Nothing limits your relationships more than if people suspect you are focused more on your goals and concerns than on theirs. Rather, approach each interaction thinking of ways you might be able to help the other person or redirect their struggles.
  7. Cultivate a Positive Team Atmosphere

If attitudes and mindsets spread contagiously, it should be possible to multiply your positive influence. Start by influencing one or two key people on your team and gradually work towards getting everyone excited about working together.
  8. Sidestep Negative Pressures

Sometimes the attempt to influence others positively can lead to opposite attitudes. Don't be surprised if someone pushes back with strongly negative responses. Don't dignify these reactions by competing with them; sidestep or ignore, and continue with your original goals. Eventually, the negative attitudes will simply fade away.
  9. Love What You Do

Enjoying your life or your work is often a choice of how you look at it, and the people around you probably know how you really feel. Let them know it's great to be you.
  10. Laugh

There is hardly a more versatile or powerful human response than laughter. Look for the humor in difficult or frustrating situations. Sometimes you have to stop, get some distance, enjoy yourself, and laugh off the problems, before trying to continue forward.

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