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  • Have you ever unintentionally offended someone?
  • Has someone ever said something you misunderstood?
    • Have you ever said something you thought was insignificant, but triggered an over-the-top reaction from another person? I have. It could have been my words, tone, or body language. In other cases, the approach was correct, but the timing was wrong. Whether in a personal or professional context, the consequences of miscommunicating can be great. The key word is context. In other words, situational awareness.

      People who want to be great speakers are taught to read their audience. Whether it is an audience of one or a thousand being relatable is so important. When thinking more about impressing an audience than connecting and sharing information, I get nervous. I’m thinking more about myself than about helping others. When I focus on others and prepare with the audience in mind, I am more relaxed and intuitive.

      According to a personality test, I am an “expressive driver”. Great qualities when tight deadlines must be met or in a crisis. However, I learned to use soft skills to build a cohesive collaborative team. I was less likely to make relational missteps when I practiced humility and empathy, my go-to soft skills.

      Humility is simply checking my ego at the door. Practicing empathy requires me to slow down long enough to see through the eyes, hear through the ears and feel the world as others feel it. Soft skills are hard but pay the greatest dividends when it comes to building and sustaining relationships. Knowledge is not enough. I stay mindful and continuously apply what I know to my life and live-in accordance. I must observe and be situationally aware, then practice, practice, practice!

      “Remember: relationships work for those who work on them.”