How to Use Reading to Improve Your Conversational Skills

Although reading has many obvious benefits, do you realize it can help you sharpen your conversational skills, too? If you feel anxious about attending a party or social gathering where you don’t know anyone, reading can bring you greater confidence.

You can impress people with your ability to carry on an interesting conversation because exposing yourself to new information through reading provides you with a plethora of subjects to talk about.

Try these strategies for using reading to improve your conversational skills:

  1. Scan the headlines. When reading your morning newspaper, look over the headlines and titles first.
    • Whether you get the paper delivered to your house or read the local news online, look over all the article headings. Upon finding a subject that appeals to you, read the article. What do you think about it? Is there anything the article left out? Do you trust the reporting?
    • If you believe a topic is interesting and have more questions about it, chances are good that others will, too.
  2. Read articles and books that interest you. If you already find the subject matter fascinating, you’ll be more likely to remember it once you read it. It just makes good sense to hone in on information or stories that you find fascinating to share in conversations.
  3. Take note of topics that are currently trending. Popular and current subjects give you a good idea of what people are talking about. If you read those types of news articles, you’ll definitely have something of interest to share with others.
    • Plus, trending topics are constantly updated, so expect to learn a little more each day over the life of a trend. If one topic in particular has been covered repeatedly in the news lately, you’ve discovered a subject that others will probably enjoy discussing.
  4. Read a variety of material. A great way to start a verbal exchange with someone is to mention a book you’ve read lately. Books from the top 10 lists of bookstores and publishers make great fodder for conversation, regardless of whether they’re fiction or non-fiction.
  5. Formulate an opinion. Know your own feelings and ideas regarding a particular subject you read about. Although it’s helpful to be able to describe facts from an article, you’ll have an even richer conversation if you add in your thoughts, ideas and experiences related to the subject matter.
  6. Inject topics you read about into your conversations. Use the subjects you read about recently to start a verbal exchange. For example, let’s say it’s Saturday night and you just arrived at a friend’s party. You’re looking around and notice you don’t see many familiar faces. You feel a niggling sense of nervousness while wondering what you’ll say to the other partygoers.
    • But then, you recall that story you read in the newspaper this morning about the new museum your city is going to build. Most people that live in your town will want to know about that.
  7. Sit back and listen to others. Pay attention to conversations going on around you. Someone might mention a subject you just read about.
  • Ask people what they think about a particular story or character in the book.
  • Others will contribute thoughts, ideas and reactions to the subject matter that differ greatly from your own. An important part of conversing is listening and allowing reciprocation by the other person.

Reading is an effective method of gathering and storing information to talk about at the next social gathering you attend. A person who is well-read can be great entertainment at get-togethers and provide plenty of grist for some titillating conversations.

Although reading is wonderful all on its own, using it to easily strengthen your conversational skills brings you even more rewards.

Live With Confidence Using To-Do Lists

As a new year approaches, you’re likely reflecting on how to live a better life. Whether you seek convenience, effectiveness, or success with goals, consider using To-Do lists. Even if you have a great memory, your mind can always use a little help holding onto everything you need to do.

If you use To-Do lists, you’ll feel confident that nothing will fall through the cracks. Also, not trying to recall every single thing will help reduce your stress.

Putting things down on paper means you don’t have to expend your precious energy trying to recall scads of small details and tasks to do. Instead, you can confidently accomplish projects and daily goals with minimal effort. This way, you save your energy for the big things, the ones that really matter.

Over time, as you use To-Do lists for daily accomplishments, you’ll notice a boost in your confidence. It makes sense that if you achieve more in a day, you’ll feel better about yourself.

Try this simple, effective system:

  1. Buy a spiral notebook. Write “To-Do List” on the front of it in big letters. Utilize this notebook only for this purpose.
    • Get the size of notebook that will be most convenient for you. If you like a full size 8 ½ x 11 inch notebook, go for it! If you prefer one that fits in a purse, that’s good, too.
  2. Make a commitment to yourself. Always use your notebook as your To-Do list. Avoid writing your lists on scraps of paper here and there. Put your name on the notebook.
    • Your To-Do list is your key to experiencing more success in everything you do. Nothing builds confidence like knowing you’ll eventually achieve every single goal. All you’ve got to do is write down tasks to be completed and goals to be met. Then do them!
  3. Start using your To-Do list today. Open the notebook and on the first page, start listing all the tasks you want to complete. Don’t worry about big projects versus small tasks. It doesn’t matter how many pages it takes to think of every project/task/errand you want to finish.
  4. Celebrate completing tasks. When you finish a task, cross it off the list.
    • As you learn to depend on your To-Do list, you’ll find you worry less about whether you’ll complete tasks. Your confidence will grow as you learn that when it’s on the list, it’ll get done. Plus, putting a line through completed tasks will build feelings of success.
  5. Tear out old pages. Eventually, you’ll start to have pages where every task has been completed and crossed out.
  • It’s an amazing feeling to realize you’re getting things done every single day. Sure, some days you’ll get more done than other days, but still, you’re doing something to be proud of. Who would’ve thought you’d feel so confident, just tearing out a page from a spiral notebook?

A simple to-do list will bolster your confidence in many different ways. You’ll be proud that you planned ahead and followed through with your tasks. Plus, finishing each job and getting rid of a whole page of completed tasks will boost your confidence enormously.

Writing down what you want to accomplish in a day can be an integral part of an organized, effective and self-assured life. Start living today and every day with more optimism and confidence by making use of To-Do lists.

7 Ways That Blogging Can Heal

Blogging serves many purposes. You may have a lot to say and want to share it. Or perhaps you like to lighten others’ lives with your sense of humor or educate them with your knowledge. Maybe your main aim is to make money with your blog.

Whatever your reason for starting your blog, there’s another great reason to blog as well. Blogging your thoughts, feelings, and ideas can promote healing for you and those who read your blog.

In many ways, blogging can facilitate discovering solutions for emotional challenges and working through whatever life brings:

  1. Journaling. Blogging provides you with an opportunity to journal about how you feel. If you don’t typically journal or keep a diary, writing about your life provides you with the “space” to record life’s events. This, in turn, can help you heal.
  2. Mental processing. Blogging encourages you to process your emotions and thoughts. As you write, you take the time to think about your experiences.
  3. Seeking solutions. Writing a blog often involves reviewing a situation and discussing possible options. Whether you blog about an event before it occurs or afterward, you’ll likely take a closer look at the situation than you normally would.
  4. Helping others. In addition to healing yourself with blogging, you can also contribute to the lives of others. When we read a blog, we learn about what another person experienced.
    • Whether the blog is about trying something new for the first time, going through a difficult life situation, or having an epiphany, we take in all the information a blogger offers to us.
    • Also, blogging promotes healing as others read about your struggles and your eventual rise above those challenges. Your readers may find your experiences inspiring. Plus, much to your readers’ delight, they might also find that your ideas help them solve their own dilemmas.
  5. Regular blogging builds confidence. Let’s face it: the more you blog, the better writer you become. Likewise, the more you evaluate your life and how to address challenging situations, the better you get at doing so.
  6. Blogging keeps you connected to something bigger than yourself. Have you ever felt lost or “free-floating,” like you weren’t attached to anyone or anything? Writing a blog can help you reconnect.
    • If you’re looking for an audience, new internet friends, or just the possibility of getting feedback on your own writing, blogging can provide these healing events.
    • When you blog, you become a member of another community: the internet. This can be healing if you feel alone or are seeking camaraderie.
  7. Blogging frees you. Being honest and telling the truth about how you feel is liberating. Throughout life, many of us have learned (or were taught) to keep our feelings and emotions under wraps. However, releasing feelings in nondestructive ways can contribute to a healthy, contented life.

As you can see, blogging will bring greater peace and contentment to you as you process your experiences. And when you blog, you also stand to touch the lives of others through your online writing. Perhaps the best part of all, though, is that you can start today!

Effective Time Management Tips

Time is the one thread that runs through all of our lives. Whether you’re always early for an event, arrive as scheduled, or prefer to be fashionably late, you’re probably also watching the clock. Wouldn’t you love more time in your day to squeeze in more activities?

So how can you get more hours out of your day?

Consider these time management tips to enhance your productivity:

1. Preview your schedule for the day the first thing in the morning. Use your calendar effectively and you’ll be able to spend your time more judiciously.

* With practice, you’ll learn to recognize which tasks need more time to be completed and which tasks’ scheduled time can be shortened.

2. At work, if you’re responsible for leading a meeting, be prepared. Write the meeting agenda in advance.

* Stick to the time allotted for each agenda item.

3. Keep your focus on the task at hand. If you need to finish writing a report, stay with it until the report is completed.

4. Take active steps to screen out distractions. If you work better with soft music playing in the background, arrange to listen to your tunes while you complete your tasks.

* If you’re on the job, close your office door to deter people from stopping in to say, “Hi,” or ask a quick question.

5. Stand up. If someone calls you into their office for a minute to get your opinion on an issue, avoid sitting down. Impromptu meetings are shorter when at least one of you stands.

6. Have confidence about limiting chitchat at work. Don’t be afraid to tell people you can’t talk right at the moment. Rather than getting perturbed, your associates may praise your work ethic of finishing your projects before taking time to chitchat.

* You’re also setting a great example for the other employees.

7. Get comfortable with saying “No.” Being assertive is the hallmark of effective time management.

* When you take on more projects than you have time for, the quality of your work may suffer. Plus, your most important tasks don’t get addressed in a timely fashion if you have too much to do. You’re more likely to get more work done – and do it well – if you aren’t overwhelmed by taking on too much.

8. Use your planner at home as well. If you’re struggling during off-work hours to manage your time, feel free to also use your planner there. Write in your schedule when you want to work on certain home projects, like washing your car or cleaning the living room.

9. Set timers or alarms to keep you on task. For example, if you plan to clean your bedroom for an hour, set the alarm on your cell phone. Stop working on the chore at hand when the timer goes off, but not until then (unless you complete the task).

* Playing “beat the clock” can be highly motivational. Plus you’re likely to get more done.

* For particularly troublesome tasks, set your alarm in smaller increments – even 15 minutes – and take a short breather when your alarm sounds before you re-focus on your task. In particular, you may find that physically challenging tasks are much more manageable if broken into smaller, more do-able “pieces.”

Managing your time effectively will make you more satisfied and productive. Practice these tips to get a handle on everything you want to complete. A well-managed life is within your reach!