Thursday, May 1, 2008

Good Communication Skills Reduces to One Word

The word is courtesy:

The courtesy to talk at the right time: "Do you have a moment?"

The courtesy to speak in pleasant tones: slowly, with pauses to give people time to assimilate what you're saying, near the bottom of your pitch range, but when emphasizing a key point, increasing pitch and volume and decreasing speed.

The courtesy to be brief: 10-60 seconds per utterance. That doesn't overwhelm the listener.

The courtesy to ask permission before criticizing: "Would you mind if I offered a suggestion?"

The courtesy to criticize with minimal impact on their self-esteem: "I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to (insert suggestion). What do you think?"

Courteous communication is invaluable to enhancing your credibility and likeability.


Anonymous said...


You need to get out more. People in the South and Midwest already follow these "rules." We call it good manners.

Marty Nemko said...

Alas, I've found that many people, all over the country, especially under stress, do not follow these rules. I'm glad you don't feel you need the reminder. I know others do.

Anonymous said...


As you've said, "many people don't follow these rules, especially under stress."

Perhaps one reason why we're a lot less mannerly is because we're more stressed. Although being stressed is no excuse, it is important to realize that when one is stressed, one is more likely to make poor choices, like choosing not to be courteous.

Along these lines, would you mind if I suggested that a potential post for this blog would be on how stress makes us make poor choices and how to cope? Thanks.

Marty Nemko said...

I have written a number of articles on stress reduction. They're all posted free on my website. Here's the link to the stress-reduction section:

You will find 600+ of my published articles on on everything imaginable related to career, education, men's issues, and the life well-led. All is free, keyword searchable, as well as divided into categories for easy finding. I've got my 10 favorite articles of all highlighted on my home page.


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