Monday, August 14, 2017

Using a Soft Tone



Communication has three components: verbal, nonverbal, and nonlexical. This third component, nonlexical, consists of the vocal, but nonverbal, aspects of speaking, including intonation, pitch and speed of speaking, hesitation noises, etc.

One of the nonlexical areas I struggle with is using a soft tone of voice when I get irritated or upset. Using the right tone of voice is critical because many studies show it directly correlates with how interpersonal interactions turn out. One study has shown it takes five positive interactions to make up for one instance where a negative tone of voice was used. That's a hard ratio to keep up with if you struggle like me.

Researchers have also proven individuals tend to mimic back communication styles used. If I whisper to you, you are likely to whisper back. (Although you might ask, “Why are we whispering?”) And if I speak with a snark, my kids might get snarky back. So an adverse tone of voice may result in an escalation of nonconstructive conversation at home or elsewhere simply because of this mimic effect.

So what can you do to help ensure you use the right tone of voice? Here are three tips:

1. Be mindful.
Just being aware is half the battle. It’s when I am distracted and not thinking about what I am saying I end up using the wrong tone of voice and in trouble. I try to slow down and actively think about the purpose of my conversations and to remind myself of the need for positive outcomes. Relationships are always more important than resources or things, so keeping this in mind helps me to stay focused and use a positive tone.

2. Try whispering.
Because people often mimic back tone of voice, and because emotion is contagious, I have found speaking softly by literally whispering works well. Whispering is less reactive because it doesn’t usually carry a strong threat. And often it gets the other person to listen more closely. If you don't want to whisper, just lowering your volume to soft helps too.

3.  Take a time out.
For me, losing control of my tone of voice is a symptom that my emotions are running high. And it is generally not a good idea to communicate with others when emotions are out of control. To get myself some time to gain control I will tell the other person I need to think about things and ask if we can talk more about it later. Then I can come back later using a reasonable and assertive communication style.

Hopefully as we practice being mindful, and using other strategies to keep our tone soft we can have greater success in our families. May your positive communication build great relationships!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gospel Solutions for Families


I recently noticed a series of videos on the Mormon Channel on YouTube called Gospel Solutions for Families. The series addresses relationship, communication, and gospel living issues faced by families and tries to offer practical solutions from experienced professionals. Each episode is about 20-30 minutes in length. Here is one of their episodes about how maintaining the marriage relationship helps benefit parenting. I think this discussion would benefit so many families. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August Isn't as Boring as You Think

August has always seemed kind of boring to me. It's incredibly hot, students have to head back to school, and there are no real holidays. Aside from the fun of back-to-school shopping (which is not all that fun with two high school girls who don't want their mom to accompany them anymore), August really lacks charisma.

In an effort to find something to look forward to I Googled holidays in August to see if there was anything I was overlooking. Here are three days in August you can have fun celebrating:




August 1: National Girlfriends Day
"National Girlfriends Day is recognized annually on August 1, as girlfriends get together around the United States and celebrate their special bond of friendship. Girlfriends can often be our sisters or mothers, classmates or co-workers."

I know it is past the first day of the month, but really any day is great for getting together with your favorite girlfriends. Celebrate belatedly just for fun!


August 6: International Friendship Day
"In 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations, and in April 2011 the UN officially recognized July 30th as International Friendship Day; however, most countries celebrate it on the first Sunday of August!

"According to the Friendship Day declaration, we are invited to “observe this day in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities."

Friendship Day is a great opportunity to teach kids how to be a good friend, to get together with friends you haven't seen for a while, or to be try and make a new friend.


August 26: National Dog Day
National Dog Day, which was instituted in 2005, serves to raise awareness of the thousands of dogs that need to be rescued. It encourages appreciation for family dogs and working dogs, such as bomb dogs, service dogs, rescue dogs and law enforcement dogs. Dogs are owned by many families in the US, however many other dogs are homeless and or have been abandoned.

Although I don't have any pets (too many allergies in our family), dogs would be my favorite. Maybe I will take my parent's dogs for a walk this day, to go and visit the puppies at the pet store. 

In addition to these, August 31 is the birthday of a favorite friend. Happy early birthday Raylene Brunner Gull!