“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken” reads a Warren Buffett quote. Much has been said about the benefit of habit as a tool for creating success and therefore making failure a product of habit.
But the overused word – habit takes will power and motivation and in the present Twitter fueled world, micro habits are the answer.
Micro habits probably believe more in Confucius’s adage – “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Micro habits are essentially those small stones. A small tiny habit change that is easy to do, does not take time and is too small to actually fail.
When it comes to communication, such micro habits are enough to bring a smile on people and improve relationships. Here are a list of 9 such micro habits that when done for a period of time can change your life.
- Remember names
As Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” By simply remembering someone’s name and addressing them itself is a compliment and builds instant rapport.
- Be responsive
The fight or flight emotional response to any situation is a reactive communication. “You hurt me, I hate you” is a reactive sentence and such sentences tend to push people away.
Instead try to be responsive. Being responsive is to react to the situation at hand and not the person. It means being in the present and not working from an emotional standpoint. Try being responsive – Try saying, “your silence confuses me and I want to know what is wrong”
- Say Hi first
This small change is like the sudden ray of sunshine on an otherwise dull day. We are so busy being busy that anyone who actually stops to look at us in the eye, smile and say Hi is like a energy burst. Make this micro habit a must. I know your mother told you not to talk to strangers, but hey, let’s put some smiles on people’s faces today.
- Read and write daily
It is not healthy to live behind a book like me but reading in moderation, maybe a few pages every day, is the best way to relax. The continuity of books calms our mind, enriches our knowledge and that blessed silence after a long day is just what your nerves are clamoring for.
Writing is like listening to yourself. Not a memoir, novel or an entire book. Just a paragraph. Writing is a form of distilling your thoughts and a paragraph or 100 words is a ten to fifteen minute effort. The topic can be anything. Build a micro blog. Free write to relax or plan your day. It is a tiny habit that gets big results.
- Say more NO
Saying No is actually a life saver. It keeps you working for your priority, keeps temptation at bay and stops you from being a push over. Practice saying No more often. You will slowly be seen as a firm person who means business and that is admirable.
- Listen completely
When talking, persuasion, force or even anger doesn’t work, listen. All communication today is to get through to people, to make them do something your way. The challenge is everyone has their own agenda. Therefore every communication is an island of personal desire floating in the sea of choices. To actually reach out, to get through to people you need to listen to them. Listening helps you care more.
- Ask questions that matter
The questions we ask define the answers we get. In the words of Clayton Christensen, “Without a good question, a good answer has no place to go”. So practice being Socrates, build your curiosity and ask better questions.
- Be comfortable with silence
Silence is often a measure of success. Do not try to fill it up with chatter. Be comfortable with silence. Often at the end of a thought proving question, the silence is a mark of thinking and searching for an answer. Bite your tongue and wait.
- Say thank you
Seems like a no brainer but you will be surprised how little thank you actually gets passed on between people. Stoic nods are not thank you. Smile, say the words or better yet write a simple post it note saying “thank you”. Watch it make a sea of difference in the lives of people and therefore you.
Do you have a #10 micro habit in communication are you working on? Share your experience.