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Is E-Mail Diluting Your Message?

communicate Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, is the author of Silent Messages. This book discusses his legendary research into the relative importance of verbal and non-verbal communication.

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Mehrabian’s rule

When you’re trying to communicate emotions, think about the three V’s: verbal, vocal, and visual. They are the three parts of what has become known as Mehrabian’s Rule – 7% of your message is given verbally (the words you use), 38% comes vocally (the tone you use), and 55% is delivered visually (your facial expressions and body language).

We see from his research that, when we’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes, the overwhelming majority of the message comes through non-verbally. If the verbal and non-verbal don’t agree, people will rely on the non-verbal.

Choosing your medium

Therefore, understanding the three V’s of communication helps you prevent misunderstanding. If the recipient of your message can’t hear and see you say the words, your message may get diluted.

E-mail is convenient, but it can be easily misunderstood because it’s only words. What about text messages?

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marylynnA friend of mine told me that her husband’s ex-wife texts her husband about problems with their kids. My friend gets frustrated after several rounds of nothing getting solved. She says she tells him to just call his ex-wife.

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So choose your medium carefully if you’re trying to convey feelings or attitudes. Some media only use one part of the communication trio, and a very minor one at that!

If you’re just relaying facts, e-mail is fine. If you want to express more than that, your message may get diluted. A phone call enriches the conversation because you bring in the voice. And while it’s not always possible to meet face-to-face, it is your best bet for your most sensitive communication.

Speaking of which …

Let’s apply this to a presentation, whether your audience is one or many. How you say what you say, and what you do when you say it, are actually more important, in getting your message across, than what you say.

What?

It’s hard to explain this in just words. Hey, that illustrates our point!

You can say, “I’m excited.” If you say it with enthusiasm in your voice while standing straight up, your audience will believe you. If you say it like Droopy says, “I’m happy” and slouch while you’re saying it, your audience may doubt you.

People remember the impression more than the words. So if you want to connect with an audience, it’s important to practice your inflections and your gestures to make sure they’re congruent with your words.

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We really appreciate you reading our post today. If you listened to our show, you could’ve heard our appreciation in our voices! Join us next time when we get a visit from a very special guest – Santa Claus. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by ilco)

Overstepping Stones

steppingstones We’re sure you’ve heard of stepping stones. Today we want to talk about overstepping stones.

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We’re proud residents of the State of Illinois. We’re dismayed, however, that our great state has been getting some bad press recently because of the actions of our Governor, Rod Blagojevich. While he hasn’t been convicted yet of any wrongdoing, it appears that he’s in deep trouble.

A state of dissatisfaction

It’s rumored that he felt he had reached a stalemate in his career. He wanted to make more money. He even had aspirations of running for President. But even before this scandal broke, his approval rating was incredibly low (the last number we heard was 4%). If you look at the state of our State, you can understand why.

He looked at every opportunity for a stepping stone, which culminated in what appears to be illegal activity. That got us thinking – we all need stepping stones to help us get to the next level of success.

Overstepping the bounds

But there’s a fine line between a stepping stone and what we’ll call an overstepping stone.

We abuse our stepping stones when we overstep our bounds. It appears our Governor did this on at least three levels:

Read more

Think Want, Need, Must About Your Time

pyramids We can place our spending into three categories – wants, needs, and musts. Last time, we applied these categories to money. Today we want to apply them to spending our time.

There’s a trap that’s easy to fall into when it comes to spending our time. We spend time how we want to, instead of how we need to. Then we end up with a must do.

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If you think of a pyramid, with wants at the base, needs in the middle, and musts at the top, we tend to focus too much energy at the bottom of the pyramid at the expense of the top.

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marylynnI may have a lot of things on my “must list” but I’ll zip over to Facebook to see what my friends are up to!

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georgeWhile we need to do quite a bit of research for Bigg Success, I can just get lost in it. I’ve already learned what I need to know, but I’m still interested so I just keep going.

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Why do we work on wants? Without a doubt, there are many reasons. The task at hand is difficult. It’s easier to work on something else. We may prefer to work on something else. It may be more fun to do something else. These are just a few of the reasons.

Start by defining

With our money, our musts are easy to determine – food, clothing, shelter and transportation. They’re a constant. With our time, our musts are much more flexible. They are things that are deadline-driven or crisis-related.

Our needs involve personal growth and interpersonal relations as well as activities that get us ahead of that deadline or prevent the crisis. Our wants then are everything else – generally activities that we like to do.

The time paradox

So why does this happen …

on those days when we have a full schedule, we get a lot done, but …

on days when we don’t have so much to do, we don’t seem to accomplish much?

When we’re required to really focus, we can get it done. When the pressure is off, we’re more likely to drift. We do what we want. If we’re not careful, if we don’t do the things we need to do, the needs move up to musts in the form of a pressing deadline or a crisis that could have been prevented.

Daily starter

So start each day with a blank piece of paper. Write “Musts” at the top, “Needs” in the middle, and “Wants” toward the bottom. Then, map out your day by making your list under each item. When you get done with your “Musts”, you can work on “Needs” and once they’re complete, you get to work on your “Wants”. It’s like a reward!

Musts, Wants, Needs – keeping these three categories in mind helps you best allocate your time!

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We really appreciate you reading our post today. You’ve heard of stepping stones … join us next time when we’ll discuss overstepping stones. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00287-121608.mp3

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(Image by Ahmed Rabea, CC 2.0)

Think Want, Need, Must About Your Money

pyramids Today we’ll discuss a simple, yet effective, way to make sure you’re spending your money how you intend. Divide your spending into three categories – wants, needs, and musts.

We used to think about luxuries and necessities. This splits those luxuries into two categories because, over time, luxuries tend to become necessities.

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georgeLike the dishwasher we have. It’s not a need; it’s a want. But I’d sure hate to live without one!

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marylynnI think my cell phone is a need. But the unlimited texting and the ability to watch videos are wants that I added to my package.

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With our cable TV, we have DVR and premium channels. Those are definitely wants, but we love the convenience and variety.

Climbing the pyramid

Picture a pyramid, with wants at the base, needs in the middle, and musts at the top. We tend to move things up the pyramid. The importance we place on them climbs, so to speak. We look at things that are truly wants as needs; we view things that are really needs as musts.

That’s why we think it’s a good idea to break necessities into two – needs and musts. It helps us refine what is really important.

Mixed message

It’s pretty easy to define our musts – food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. But even within this category, there are mixed messages.

For an example, let’s consider transportation. At its most basic level, the only thing we need from our chosen form of transportation is the ability to get from one place to another. Public transportation clearly would suffice for many people.

However, if you use public transportation, you lose some control over your own schedule. You give up the convenience of having your own vehicle.

So some people may need a car because of their job. They need a vehicle to drive to appointments. Could it work without one? Possibly, but it might cost you too much time to be worthwhile.

It depends on your situation. In the end, only you can know what is best for you.

Gizmos and gadgets

There’s another way that wants, needs and musts can come into play. We’ll stick with the example of a vehicle. Even if you need a car, what do you really need? Something reliable or that fancy car in the ad? Just the basics or a vehicle with all the gizmos and gadgets?

The second of these choices, which are clearly wants, can make a huge difference in the price you pay for a car. And if you happen to finance it, they will add many dollars more in interest costs over the years.

We interviewed Adam Shepard on The Bigg Success Show not long ago. Upon graduation from college, he decided to see if the American Dream was still alive. Starting with only $25 and the clothes on his back, he was eventually able to buy his own vehicle among other things. His vehicle wasn’t anything fancy – an old pick-up truck with manual windows, one which didn’t work. But he still had the transportation he needed!

Keep these three categories in mind and you’ll keep your budget in line!

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Thanks for reading our post today. Join us next time when we’ll discuss how these same three categories relate to how we spend our time. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00286-121508.mp3

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Do You Make Your Friends Happy?

happy_people A recent study of happiness showed that the birds you flock with make a bigg difference. Nicholas Christaskis with the Harvard Medical School and James Fowler from the University of California at San Diego found that the more connections you have with happy people, the more likely you are to be happy.

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It cuts both ways

They likened it to a quilt. If the person in the patch next to you is unhappy, it increases the likelihood that you’ll also be happy by seven percent.

If the person next to you is happy, it increases the odds that you’ll be happy by fifteen percent. It’s interesting to note that we seem to have some resilience to unhappy people since happy people tend to rub off twice as often as unhappy people.

But the good news is that is doesn’t stop there. If the person who knows the person next to you (i.e. the person two patches away) is happy, the probability that you’ll also be happy increases ten percent. So happy people one step removed still increases the odds that you’ll be happy more than that unhappy person next to you!

In a quest to find out how happy we could be once we get to Kevin Bacon’s patch (six patches of separation) on the quilt, the researchers found that if the person three blocks away is happy, your chances of being happy increase six percent.
Happiness is contagious!

4 questions to discover if you spread happiness

To determine if someone was happy, the researchers asked four questions. During the past week, how often …

  1. Did you enjoy life?
  2. Were you happy?
  3. Did you feel hopeful about the future?
  4. Did you feel that you were just as good as other people?

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marylynnI feel blessed because I have positive responses to each and every one of these questions. I guess I’m a happy person.

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georgeI think I’m a happy person as well. In fact, if I remember right, I was voted the “Happiest” person in high school! But when I look closely at these questions, it makes me think. Like the first question … I enjoy my life, but how often do I stop and recognize it?

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This study was released recently, but imagine how you might have responded if you were asked the third question at the height of the financial crisis. Uncertainty creates fear, but as these questions show, it’s important to remain optimistic in any environment. That’s where happy people come in – they’ll help you have a brighter outlook no matter what the situation!

There’s one more benefit to hanging out with happy people. The researchers reference a study done in 1984 that showed that having an extra $5,000 increased a person's chances of being happy by about two percent. Based on those results and the results of this study, the researchers conclude that a happy friend is worth $20,000!

They say a happy friend is worth $20,000. We’ll borrow from MasterCard – we think having a happy friend is … priceless!

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We really appreciate you checking in with us today. Join us next time when we discuss the three categories of spending. Keeping them in mind will keep your budget in line! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00285-121208.mp3

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(Image in today's post by merala)