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What Does Your Communication Incentivize

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Want to understand how the economy works? Start by looking at it through the prism of incentives.

Incentives are feedback mechanisms that provide information to someone. They create reasons to do things - they shape how and why choices are made.

Higher prices incentivize more production. Lower tariffs establish incentives for more trade -- and so the theory goes.

Have you ever considered that your communication - the way you choose to talk (words + tone + body language) listen, respond, react - creates powerful incentives? It's absolutely so.

The way you choose to communicate with anyone will dictate how they feel about you. The way you make them feel will determine your level connection, and the things they want to share with you - or not.

I get it all the time - James, how can I get through to someone better? how can I get someone to open up and want to share with me? How do I connect with someone on a more meaningful level?

The answer is simple. Create better incentives with your communication. Ask more questions - listen better - be open -- make the person feel good about sharing, talking, being real. Once you create these positive feelings in people, they will associate them with you.

Think about anyone in your life and the relationship you have - positive or negative. Your perception, the way you feel about them is primarily a function of how well you are able to communicate.

Just as an economy grows and thrives with the proper incentives - so too will your communication. The outcome is better, stronger happier, closer, more meaningful relationships.

Being a Teenager is Difficult, What's a Parent to do?

One of my favorite aspects of this job is having the opportunity to speak with young people on their quest to figure out life. By young, i'm talking 13-19 years old - typically the most challenging age group for people to understand and connect with, including for the kids themselves.

The reason I love dealing with this group so much is two-fold. First, I appreciate how incredibly difficult and overwhelming this time of life is - and that's on the best day. This age represents that gray space between adolescence and adulthood, when transition and change is constant. Either the young person is changing or their environment is changing, and often those are changing simultaneously. All that change represents tremendous opportunity -- or risk, depending on the kid.

My second reason for relishing the experience of working with kids segues from the first. I know how hard their lives are -- but I love being able to connect with them and help them. The positive energy associated with having a young person drop their veneer and become vulnerable -- open up and respond in a sincere and positive way --- is awesome.

Parents become frustrated when they experience the communication dead end with their teenagers. They tell me they've tried everything and it's hopeless -- but it's not hopeless. Parents must accept the reality that a lot of times they will be the last person their kids want to talk to. I don't care how much you reassure your kids that it's ok to be honest, you understand, etc -- many/most will find an alternative outlet away from their parents to divulge their true feelings to.

So what's it going to be? Are you going to continue banging your head against the wall? Or, are you going to reserve some time for them talk to me? Let me get them thinking. You will see an increase in self-awareness, self-worth and positive attitude changes. You have only headaches to lose and strong communication to gain.


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