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Even when it comes to fishing, in order to catch your desired fish, you have to use quality bait. The same principle goes for having and maintaining exceptional employees. For this particular instance, the saying, “You give what you get,” rings remarkably true. We’ll tell you how.

1. Foster Your Inner Silence: Have you ever had a great thought that was ultimately interrupted by distracting thoughts or feelings? You can actually learn to silence those distributive things by practicing repeatedly until you gain control. Once you have this mastered, you will be able to devote your full attention to someone else or tasks at hand.

2. Be Present: There will always be a “million things” going on. That’s life. But, if you take the time to focus on your breathing and relaxation, you can put yourself in the present moment. The more you practice this, the more it can aid you in everyday life such as in conversations, meetings, etc.

3. Spot Nonverbal Cues: Sometimes the loudest statements often make no noise. When communicating with others, be aware of their nonverbal communication. Look for eye movement, contact (or lack thereof), body movements, etc. to see if the other person (or people) is actively engaged and listening.

4. Think Happy Thoughts: This may be difficult depending on the situation, but when going into any new conversation, channel a fond memory. This may sound unrealistic, especially if you’re upset about something, but do your best. Thinking happy thoughts will actually change your mannerisms, non-verbal cues and how you to interact with others— which may change the whole conversation all together.

5. Be Brief: What’s the best way for someone to not only listen but actually receive the message you intended on delivering? Keep your communication to about 30 seconds or less. When you need to explain something that will exceed half a minute, break it down into smaller segments and then wait for the recipient to respond that they acknowledge and understand what you’re saying. This is a great way to resolve miscommunication!

6. Listen Intently: In order to truly listen to someone, you cannot multi-task. You must stop what you’re doing and pay attention to the words coming out of their mouth, their tone, gestures, etc. If you’re on the phone or emailing back forth. Take the few seconds or minutes required and stop doing everything else and concentrate on the conversation at hand. Also, don’t interrupt, let the person complete their thought or finish their sentence! It’s important that both parties truly feel heard when communicating.

The key word in this whole article is compassion. While, there are definitely stigmas associated with being “too nice” of a boss, there are also ones that combat them. Compassionate communication is the ultimate key to aligning your employee’s brains with yours. This bond is referred to as “neural resonance” and when it happens, a heightened state of mutual attunement occurs— i.e. you’re not only on the same page, but the same word in the same sentence. Here’s a fun fact: leaders who give more positive guidance to their subordinates are more likely to achieve their company’s goals and employees are happier with their work.