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Why Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Excel At Work

Knowing your personality type is quite important. Your personality type outlines your personal strengths and weaknesses. By understanding your personality type, you can learn how the dynamics of your behaviour work and how you can successfully apply this to your day-to-day business to achieve success.

Your personality type is also a huge determining factor in how you relate with people. Most people who thought they were a bit unusual before taking a personality test, are assured after the test that they are not in any way strange and, in fact, even become proud of the uniqueness of their personality after learning about the various strengths they possess which they never knew were there.

Understanding our personality type, especially in this age, is imperative. There are lots of jobs that require a degree of a blend of one or two personalities. Giving this job to people lacking the necessary personality traits can result in disaster. For example, there are people whose strength is based on analytical skills. They are more effective in working alone and with data, putting these people in data entry jobs will result in impressive results, but simply giving them a job that requires interaction with people will probably produce a depressing result.

In this article, we are going to focus on how knowing your personality type can help you to succeed in your business. We have also taken the time to briefly discuss the various personality types so that you can easily determine yours.

The importance of knowing your personality type

You learn that people are not wrong but different

If anything can help you access the reason why people behave and think the way they do, then it is their personality type. Understanding a person’s personality type can help you understand how they reason and why their reasoning often doesn’t seem to align with yours – if you are both of different personality types, of course.

A woman once complained about her husband’s poor conflict resolution skills. This often results in lots of problems between her and her husband. She always thought he was doing everything wrong and she blamed him. After studying the different personality types, this was what she had to say “When I finally figured out his personality type, I realised that his behaviour was the textbook for his personality type – and so was mine”. After this realisation, it became easier for them to work through every conflict because they both understood that each was right in their own way, but became wrong in their preferences due to the differences in their personality.

In the workplace, you will meet people of different personalities, and during meetings, each are expected to give their own opinions. By understanding personality type, you will gain an insight into why the opinions are different and realise that they are actually not wrong but following what their personality dictates. Personality type will make some people not want to perform helpful tasks. Extroverts who like to interact with other people will find it difficult and will become reluctant in performing an analytical job that requires working alone. This is not laziness. This is the personality type dictating it. If issues about such jobs are discussed in the meeting, an extrovert will probably oppose it and might do so loudly. An introvert who loves to work alone will suddenly start skipping jobs when given a job that requires interaction with people. Understanding personality types helps you learn the reason why people behave the way they do, why they reason differently and why they are not wrong.

You can better manage people

There are some whose personality type finds more strengths in walking alone. They don’t contribute much in groups or in meetings. They are quiet and often viewed as aloof or disengaged. You may think this group of people are odd, but they are not. That is their personality type. This type will keep their opinions to themselves unless called upon to give it. You can make them more productive by giving them solo assignments to achieve remarkable success because that is where the energy of their personality lies. Some managers have erroneously failed in their projects by trying to force this set of people into working with a team and this can end in problems.

There are others in the workplace who are very good at chit chat. They love to communicate and lead the team. They are very happy in meeting new people and making new friends. This type of person should be on your sales team if you want to achieve success. They are excellent at networking and negotiation.

Some other personality types prefer to only come to conclusions when there’s sufficient information to support it. They pay close attention to little details. This type of personality will be very effective in your accounting teams.

By understanding the various personality types, you can better manage people with available resources to give better results.

You know your strengths and weaknesses

Understanding your personality type puts your strengths and weaknesses before you. You know what you can do and what you cannot do. You understand why you behave the way that you do. It gives you an idea of what you want and don’t want in life.

By carefully analysing your personality type, you can easily realise your hidden strengths and start using them to achieve success. You can learn about your weaknesses and how you can complement it with others in your team.

By studying your personality type, you can decide on the best career from which you can achieve success or the business type to venture into.

It helps you hire employees that are really needed

After understanding your personality type, you see lots of weaknesses in yourself as well as strengths. While you can hone your discovered strengths to improve outputs, you might want to consider hiring an employee that complements your weaknesses. By doing this, you can work with someone who likes doing the tasks you may not be as good at and you may enjoy the jobs that they are naturally not as comfortable with. This will invariably help you to maximise your chances of success.

It reveals the best type of work environment for you

Certain personality types function best in certain work environments. If you are an introvert, you will function more in a work environment with fewer people. By understanding your personality type, you will learn if certain jobs are for you or not. It will be very hard for an introvert to become a successful salesperson since they may lack good communication skills and could find it difficult to network. In the same vein, an extrovert may find it hard to become successful in a data analysis based job since this requires working alone, which the extrovert would not enjoy as much.

It will help you narrow down your field

Some personality types are more creative than others. Some love to lead. Others love interacting with and meeting new people. Others prefer to work alone and dread working in groups or meeting new people.

Knowing your personality type can help narrow down your career field and help you choose the one that best suits you. For example, as an introvert, you probably wouldn’t want to consider a commercial career as a salesperson that requires lots of communication and meeting new people, as well as networking. You would probably prefer a field that requires you to work alone. By understanding your personality type, you narrow down your career field and learn how to excel in your chosen profession.

Help you relate better with your clients

By understanding the different personalities, you get an insight into what people want and how they can be pushed to satisfy this want. You learn about the subjects they like to discuss and what they love to do in their spare time. This is great for business. It can help you tailor your sales process to meet the requirements of each personality. There are some personalities who don’t like a pushy salesperson and there are some who need to be gently pushed to make a decision.

It can help to reassure you that you are not unusual

Introverts are the most susceptible to be treated as a bit strange. Since they often prefer to be in their own thoughts rather than being in their environment, some people may make them feel that they are different. Because introverts contribute less to conversations and prefer to keep to themselves while in a group, some people may perceive this as being aloof and disengaged. Because of this negative perception, they start treating the introvert in negative ways, which, in turn, can make the introvert feel out of place.

By understanding your personality type, you will realise that you are not strange in any way. This can help you to become happier with your personality. Try figuring out other people’s personality so that you can also understand them better and relate with them. By understanding their personality, you can easily draw them closer to yourself and establish relationships that will be beneficial to your business.

A brief overview of the various personality types

There are lots of personality type theories out there, but the most popular one is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. According to the Myers-Briggs theory, there are 16 personalities, which are acquired from the permutations of 4 different categories. These 4 categories are as follows:

  1. Energy Style: Introversion (I) – focus on the inner world; Extroversion (E) focus on outer world
  2. Thinking Style: Sensors (S) focus on basic information as it is received; Intuition (N) adding meaning to information received.
  3. Value Styles: Feelers (F) – preferences for people and circumstances; Thinkers (T) -preferences for logic in decision making
  4. Lifestyle: Judgers (J) – preferences for success in decision making; Perceivers (P) – preferences for being open to new ideas.

These are the four categories from which the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types are formed. Each of the sixteen personalities is a blend of the four categories. For example, one of the personality blends is ISFJ. This is a blend of Introversion, Sensor, Feeler and Judger. People with this personality type are naturally warm and sympathetic. They care a lot about children and people who are suffering. But they are also very detailed, organised and thorough. Because they care a lot about people, you will often find this person in professional health care services. Since they are detail oriented, they can also perform the task of bookkeeping. Another example is ENFJ. This is a blend of Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judger. People with this personality type are passionate and charismatic. They are born leaders since they have strong humanitarian values and perform best in positions that allow them to provide support for others. They are sociable, warm, imaginative and empathetic. They love working with people and are great communicators. They perform well as counsellors, teachers, non-profit directors and religious leaders.

From the above example, you can make permutations of the 4 personality categories to give you sixteen different personalities.

Various studies published about personality types show that no human is of one particular personality type, but rather a blend of two or even more. Though a personality trait will be dominant in any human, there will be traces of other personality colouring the person’s dominant personality type.

Regardless of your personality type, having an understanding about it will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and how to use the strengths to overshadow your weaknesses. You possess far more character strengths than you are aware of. We tend to focus more on our weaknesses, so we know little about our strengths. By understanding your personality type, you will discover more about your strengths and how to use them to excel in your career. Not all of us can work with detailed spreadsheets and, in the same vein, not all of us can express our inner thoughts through creativity. The various personalities have limitations and having this simple understanding can help you to be outstanding at work.

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Looking to improve your Expertise in Communication? Effective Questioning and Listening Skills can help you develop Empathy and Understanding

‘Judge a man by his questions not by his answers’ Voltaire

Questioning and listening skills are the foundation of effective communication. We rarely learn anything when we speak, but we learn a lot when we listen. Decision making, problem solving, learning, study, research and communication are processes that can be done efficiently when backed by top-notch questioning and listening skills. Asking the right questions results in obtaining relevant and correct information. Listening with attention and intent helps us learn. Most of us are endowed with a tendency to listen only with a view to reply when it’s our turn to speak. We need to be able to focus our attention on the other person’s conversation and words, tone and body language so that we understand them completely.

Most of us start out with insatiable toddler curiosity about the world around us. But as we grow up, we lose this thirst for knowledge somewhere along the way. We feel reluctant, embarrassed or even lazy to ask questions. The data that we glean as a result of questioning determines the conclusions, ideas and impressions that we come away with. If these are erroneous (and they will be if our questions are wrong to begin with), we cannot make the right decisions because we have not obtained the information that we were looking for. Framing questions and asking them in the right sequence, etc. (once we’ve obtained a greater understanding) play a crucial part in the process of communication and minimising conflict and confusion.

How to Ask the Right Questions

We ask questions every day and it can be described as a cornerstone of good living and effective learning. We ask questions of our partner, children, at the grocery shop and at work, and questions help us define problems and look for solutions. Communication becomes a more proactive, productive and spontaneous process. Whatever position you hold in an organisation or whatever your occupation, asking questions helps you obtain clarity about people, situations and things in general. In fact, we can say that we may never understand or know about things unless we ask the right questions.

Let’s seek to understand the many benefits of asking questions:

  1. Questions help clarify thoughts. It is much better (and safer) to ask questions than to harbour erroneous assumptions.
  2. Questions help to elicit interest and engage people in the conversation. In fact, many people won’t talk to you unless you ask questions. This is because questions demonstrate interest in other people and their concerns.
  3. Questioning helps enhance knowledge and improves understanding. It would be fair to assume that if you don’t know something, you haven’t asked information about it.
  4. You can build trust and enhance communication through questioning because the process involves feedback and is a two-way process.
  5. Questions are an excellent way to sift through information. You will gain access to useful as well as irrelevant information and this is a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  6. Better quality of information gained through questioning helps you become a better decision-maker.
  7. Asking questions at the right time helps reduce wastage of time and resources due to confusion or meaningless information.
  8. Prejudices and pre-conceived opinions are often reduced as a result of questioning. Wrong notions and myths are dispelled and we benefit from the clarity which results from transparent communication.
  9. Confident people do not hesitate to ask questions. Asking questions helps boosts self-confidence and enhances assertiveness.
  10. Asking questions illuminates direction of thought and consequently clarifies the action that we should take. Since we have obtained correct information and dispelled misconceptions about people, we are in a position to make informed decisions.

How to Ask the Right Questions

  • Avoid rhetorical or vague questions as the answers are likely to be correspondingly vague or nebulous too. They do not tend to elicit specific responses.
  • Keep your tone friendly and interested, body language and nonverbal cues can make a person feel appreciated and acknowledged. Poor body language and an aggressive tone can intimidate the other person and reduce the likelihood of obtaining honest feedback.
  • Ask open-ended questions that give the respondent the space to answer in the way he or she wants. Open-ended questions tend to encourage detailed responses and they also make the respondent comfortable. Binary questions (questions that can allow only a yes/no type of response), on the other hand, trap the respondent and may elicit forced replies.
  • If you are asking questions in a tense situation, give the respondent time to answer so that they are able to focus and concentrate on answering correctly. In stressful situations, people tend to experience nervousness and their answers may not provide the correct information. Ask questions that dig deeper and encourages the respondent to ponder over the information that they have given you.

For example, if your colleague says that she finds someone difficult to work with, you may consider asking why she thinks that way.

  • Phrasing in an overly direct manner may sometimes fluster the respondent so soften the approach. For example, instead of asking, ‘Should we offer 10% or 15% discount for client X?’ you could try asking, ‘What do you think will be an appropriate level of discount for client X?’
  • Ensure that you leave gaps between questions to make it sound less like an interrogation. Even during periods of silence, communication is active and a restful breather will give both a chance to relax.
  • Phrase your question in a way that makes it very clear what you want the answer to be. Sometimes, you may be seeking only facts. For example, you may ask, ‘How much tax did we pay last quarter?’. At other times you may be seeking opinion, for example, you may want to know, ‘What do you think of our new logo?’, hence, you may need to be sure if you want a fact, an opinion or a well-reasoned judgement for an answer.
  • Avoid interrupting the other person because this will disrupt their train of thought and will redirect the conversation your way.

Effective questioning is a precursor to good listening skills.

Listening Skills

‘Most of us listen with an intention to reply and not with the intent to understand’ Stephen Covey

Listening and hearing is very different; while hearing is a physical ability, listening is defined as a skill because it involves understanding what is being heard. The ability to listen helps you establish healthy rapports with your colleagues, subordinates, clients and family members. Being a good listener helps you become a better problem solver and your seniors are likely to consider you as a person who requires minimum follow-up. Active listening involves giving your full attention to the other person and what they are saying to you and valuing their communication. Valuing their words does not imply agreement; it simply means that you are acknowledging what they have to say. In fact, good listening skills are extremely valuable in situations where conflict resolution is needed because you make a sincere choice to understand the other party’s point of view.

The absence of listening skills often leads to increased instances of misconceptions, lack of understanding, lack of comprehension and prejudicial conclusions. Moreover, these undesirable consequences eventually lead to poor decision-making. Active listening promotes trust, helps build relationships and improves communication at home, in the workplace as well as in other situations. Not being listened to makes one feel ignored and inconsequential. Developing good listening skills takes a lot of consistent practice.

That’s not all.

Great listening skills also promote enhanced capacity for knowledge and make you a more capable person. This invaluable skill helps save marriages, friendships and careers. It also helps save time and money because you avoid wasting valuable effort in trying to undo confusion that arises out of misunderstandings (which in turn was created due to poor listening). A person who listens carefully has the potential to encourage and motivate others as well as enhance inclusion and commitment. Good listeners make excellent negotiators because they are able to capture useful information and make effective counter offers. Similarly, effective listening skills help you build friendly and trustworthy rapports with customers.

Each person speaks, listens and communicates at a different pace. If you happen to be one of those people who is an agile communicator, you have to slow down your pace to match that of a slower communicator. This can be particularly challenging if the other person is a slow, halting and long-winded speaker. But listening is a skill that is extremely important to learn and master.

The following useful tips can help you develop active listening skills:

  • Be conscious of your body language. Lean slightly towards the person that you’re talking to and avoid fidgeting. Make eye contact and place your palms facing upwards.
  • Just as you should be mindful of your own body language, also be mindful of the speaker’s nonverbal cues. Listen to tone, pitch, frequency of articulation, etc. Does the speaker sound depressed, stressed, disheartened or annoyed? A good listener looks beyond words and reads between the lines.
  • Mirror the other person’s gestures and tone of voice, etc; this helps build rapport and implies a sharing of ideas and attitudes. Look for the hidden meaning in a message because it’s very important to listen to what is not being said.
  • Please do not interrupt the other person as this sort of behaviour smacks of smugness and arrogance. Wait until he or she has finished what they want to say. Most of us only wait for our turn to speak. Listen with the intention of understanding.
  • Avoid filling in blanks in the conversation or making judgements based on half-information. Give the speaker your full attention.
  • Learn to be comfortable with silence although it may feel awkward at first. Most of us try to fill silences with our own conversation. Silences are often instrumental in bringing forth more information.
  • Stop checking your mobile device, Smartphones, etc. for messages. Stow away your devices and distractions and mentally screen out background noises and activity.
  • Think before you respond and avoid blurting out the first thing that pops into your mind. Learn to listen to your mind before you speak. Also avoid giving any sign that you are about to respond. This can include moving to the edge of the seat or pointing fingers.
  • If you end up speaking at the same time, request the other person to continue. Avoid finishing other people’s sentences. This way, you’ll end up following your train of thought rather than understand what the speaker is saying to you.
  • Use paraphrasing, repetition and reflection to ensure that you have understood what the speaker has to say.

The irony about being human is that we don’t always understand each other or communicate adequately. In fact, we could say that each one of us hears and understands differently. It’s time to reinvent yourself and become a child all over again and rediscover the joy of knowledge. It can be difficult to ask questions at times, but the consequences are likely to be much worse if you don’t ask questions. This often results in a lack of understanding, lack of access to important information or results in the harbouring of prejudicial views or misconceptions. Such adverse results impacts the quality of communication to a significant extent and you are likely to be severely hampered in your decision-making. Asking questions helps boost confidence, clarifies thinking, strengthens relationships, reduces prejudices and helps build trust between people. We become better thinkers and decision-makers in the process.

Right from our childhood, we are trained to answer and respond and are often rewarded for exceptional answering. This social conditioning often prevents us from perceiving the crucial importance of asking questions. Performance is often described as the ability to find solutions and solve problems – even when those problems are the wrong ones to solve. Detailed questions may not sound as exciting as brilliant answers but they often lead to breakthroughs in business and career success. People appreciate being valued, respected and important.

Similarly, effective questioning skills should be followed up by active listening skills. After all, we have asked questions so that we are able to elicit a proper answer. Good listening skills have the potential to boost communication skills, establish empathy and make better decisions. There is reduced likelihood of misunderstanding and conflict because you have paid full attention to the conversation, words, nonverbal cues and body language. Active listening can help you understand others’ perspectives and hence become a much better problem-solver. You will also be effective at defusing potentially stressful situations because you are more open to others’ opinions and experiences.

Stressed over the Risks of the Internet? Keep your Children Safe and Protected

Do you have young children who are about to begin using the Internet or already use it? Do your children use chat rooms, instant messaging or social media sites?

While the Internet is invaluable for children in several ways including educational resources for homework, online games, information and fun, there are irrefutable downsides too. At best, the Internet can be described as a mixed blessing and it is up to us as parents to protect our children from potential pitfalls. Children spend a great deal of their time on the Internet (which is now available to them over their Smartphones and other devices too) and it’s important to be aware of the risks and dangers that lurk on the net. As parents, we need to understand the problems that may crop up so that we are better placed to keep our children safe. The risks come in a variety of forms and could include porn, gambling, inappropriate sexual content, sexual predators and cyber-bullying among many others. In earlier days, parents usually knew the people whom their child interacted with on a daily basis. You knew people (and your child knew people) face-to-face and personally. That is no longer the case on the Internet. There is often a big difference between what you see the child doing at home and what they do online.

According to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), UK, more than 3,000 sex crimes against children were committed in 2016. Moreover, alarming statistics reveal that more than 43.6% of children between the ages of 11 and 16 experience cyber-bullying in some form or the other. This article describes different forms of risks associated with the Internet and explains how you can help protect your child. We will also discuss some general strategies and precautionary measures that help mitigate the risks involved.

Limitations and Dangers of the Internet

  • The Internet is an easy place to falsify your identity or lie about your age. Your child could lie about his or her age or another person talking to your child may do so. The difference between the Internet and real life is that you are unable to see the person who is on the other end. Most times, it’s only chatting by typing words. People can and often do lie about their age, name, occupation and so on.
  • There is easy access to good as well as dubious websites. On one side, there are educational, informational and entertainment websites, and on the other side there are thousands of violent, macabre and other unsuitable websites which are as easy to access as the reputable ones.
  • Information is not always private. Your profile may be set to public (children are not always aware) in which case it can be viewed by anyone. Many search engines index public profiles and your child’s information is open and accessible to anyone. Online message boards, for example, can be easily viewed by others.
  • Your child is in control while they’re surfing the internet. They may access undesirable websites while you are not at home or when you’re otherwise engaged. This leaves them free to chat with strangers, post pictures online, provide personal information and so on; all these activities can compromise security.
  • The portability of devices makes it very difficult to control access to undesirable websites or interaction with questionable individuals. Numerous apps, Smartphones, Tablets, etc. make it difficult (if not impossible) to regulate access.

The following signs may indicate that your child is in trouble online and probably needs intervention from parents or carers:

  • Radical change of interests to obsessive online chatting or interaction. If your child was interested in sport, dance or dramatics and suddenly feels disinterested in these activities and spends all their time online, it’s time to have a talk.
  • Changes in eating patterns, moods and behaviour may indicate trouble. This is especially true if your child has been spending long hours online and in chat rooms. Encourage your child to speak to you and to develop outside, healthy interests.
  • Your child tries to hide away with his or her smart device and keeps checking messages every now and then. He or she is becoming more secretive than before and they are making excuses to go shopping or to the cinema to meet someone that you don’t know.

Without proper guidance and control, children are likely to be more vulnerable to online threats. It’s also a good idea for parents to learn the language that children use online; you may often see entire conversations written in short-form or abbreviated words. However, parents can consider using holistic internet safety plans and communicating with children regarding the risks and dangers on the Internet.

Let’s take a closer look at some ways in which you can protect your children on the net.

Set some rules

Implementing overly stringent restrictive orders may not always work (especially with teens) and the child may be driven by curiosity. Hence, it may be a good idea to set clear rules similar to the rules regarding supervision of TV time. Allow reasonable time for the children to browse the Internet, but avoid allowing unlimited time whenever they want. Sit down with your child and make the setting of rules a mutual process. Lay down rules about the websites they should or should not visit. For example, you may allow them time to play games, but restrict time on social media.

Do not impose excessive authority, but be firm at the same time. For instance, disobedience should be connected with clearly explained consequences (such as reduced TV time, etc.). Older children may have the tendency to rebel so keep your discussion friendly and explain that you have their best interests at heart. The rules that you set should address some of the following basic issues:

  • Are they confident of taking responsibility when they are alone with their smart devices?
  • Will they be able to recognise undesirable websites and content?
  • They should only make online friends with those people that you know in real life
  • They should never agree to meet someone that they have only met online
  • They should consider immediately informing you of uncomfortable encounters or bullying behaviour
  • Learn how to use privacy settings on apps, social media platforms and software in order to protect passwords, etc. Public profile settings leave your information open to access to the public. Strangers can even find out where you live.
  • Avoid posting provocative, racy or inappropriate content about yourself online including pictures
  • Try to keep computers in the family room so that you can have greater control over usage times and duration. Also place the computer in a highly visible area (not with the screen facing a wall, for example) so you are able to keep an eye on the content
  • If you have young children, keep a close watch on videos because quite a few of them contain profanity

Setting boundaries is important because you, as the parent, are in charge.

Use systems that offer adequate parental control

The simple solution of installing content filtering software and parental controls can still be implemented, but they may not be effective due to evolving net technology; many undesirable websites and content may be programmed to bypass such controls. According to a research study conducted by Norton Online Family, 63% of teens admitted to knowing how to hide content from control software.

This is why it’s important to install a parental control software or firewall that is foolproof and effective in blocking undesirable content. Some well-known options that help you establish control over digital content include Google, Safe Search, Norton Online Family, YouTube Safety, K9, Windows Live Family and Maxthon Kid-Safe Browser, etc. For comprehensive parental control, you can try some paid packages including Qustodio, ScreenLimit and Home Halo. YouTube, for example, has introduced a new YouTube for children app that curates content and restricts access to adult videos. However, this app is not accessible from all browsers.

In addition, you can also consider linking certain websites to a parental control filter. Better still is to set up parental filters on the router itself. This is one of the best ways to control Internet content flow. Many routers are specifically designed to allow for parental control. It’s best to tell your child that you are using monitoring techniques and that they will lose Internet privileges if they disobey the ground rules.

Protect your child from the risks of gaming websites

Most of the time, the risks of the Internet are associated with social media, pornography and so on. But recent research by Kaspersky indicates that 38% of children meet people at gaming websites who are not what they pretend to be. Such individuals also use gaming websites to meet children and solicit personal information. Keep a watch on the gaming websites that your child likes to play on.

Financial safety

It pays to be particularly aware of websites that require payment or funds to use. Keep your credit cards safe and away from your child. If they need to pay for a game or a video, please make sure that they do it with your permission.  Credit and debit cards can be easily misused by unscrupulous people, especially if they know that they are dealing with a child.

Counselling and Education

The best and most effective way to keep your child safe on the Internet is to educate them about the inherent dangers that lurk in cyberspace. This will work much better than enforcing parental control apps and software (although you can use them too as additional aids). Explain that public images can be used illicitly and describe the dangers of pornography. Tell them about the risks of communicating with strangers which may result in kidnapping, sexual advances, rape or even death in extreme cases. Obviously, you don’t want to scare them and it will depend on their age, how you tell them and exactly what you tell them. A good way to explain to them is by telling them that just as they wouldn’t give their personal details to a stranger on the road, they shouldn’t give their details to strangers online either.

Discuss the issues involved in a mature, patient and friendly manner. This is likely to achieve more results than tools and technologies.

Support and Encouragement

Teach your children that online opinion, ‘likes’ and approval should not affect their self-esteem and confidence. Social media pressure and cyber-bullying have been the cause of teen depression, stress and suicides. The best way to combat this danger is to train your children to grow up as healthy and confident kids. In most cases, the main reason for posting images online is to gain approval and make comparisons with peers. Tell your children that they are beautiful and that you love them. These simple strategies are powerful and effective in their outreach and your child will automatically be on his or her guard against undesirable interactions, comments or activities on the net.

You have to engage with your child’s online life and take steps that put you in control. Please do remember that at the end of the day, technology is only a tool and is not a replacement for parenting. Parenting does not come with a handbook and can be particularly trying when you are dealing with teenagers. They may rebel or resent what they see as intrusion into their personal lives. Teenagers sometimes become aloof and uncommunicative and you may have no idea of what they are doing online. However, disapproval from children is a lesser worry than exposing them to online risks and, if you have to lay down the law at times, you simply have to do it. Take your children out or play other games with them at home, cook meals together and spend quality time with your children. This way, they will be more likely to open up to you and, at the same time, will discover activities and interests outside of the Internet.

The Internet is here to stay and will be an inevitable part of our lives as well as our children’s lives. The trick lies in teaching them to use it responsibly without imposing overly strict rules. If you disallow the Internet in your house, they can and will access the online world on their friends’ devices and computers. Forbidden fruit is always tasty, especially when we are young and curious.

It may be easier to lay down rules for younger children and they may listen. But the scenario may be different when it comes to teenagers. Being online is part of their ordinary every day social fabric and many are more or less immersed in their online chatting and texting. It’s also true that most teenagers above a certain age have an ingrained sense of self-preservation and may not reveal personal details. However, it’s also true that many teens also hide their content from parents. The truth is that we cannot take these facts for granted. For instance, many children stumble upon pornography by accident. Children should be protected from the dangers of the Internet and parents and carers are the best people to take decisive steps in that direction.

How to Develop Assertiveness Skills

‘There is nobody better than you and you are not better than anybody’

Being assertive refers to the ability to be self-confident without being aggressive. Assertiveness is a positive quality that helps enhance personal as well as professional relationships. An assertive person is able to express their feelings openly and clearly while respecting the feelings of other people at the same time. Assertiveness arises out of confidence in your own abilities and in yourself as an individual. The quality helps you state your feelings, position and claims in a calm and confident manner. Moreover, assertiveness is an excellent tool that helps improve your relationship with others because you have improved your relationship with yourself. Actually, assertiveness can be described as a way of life rather than simply an attribute and it requires time and patience to develop.

As you decide to develop assertiveness skills, your relationships may undergo changes because whilst most people will accept the new you, some may not. Old behaviour and relationship patterns tend to be tenacious and you will need to practise assertiveness on a consistent basis to experience the benefits. However, assertiveness is one of the most useful skills that you could develop because it will stand you in good stead in the workplace, at home and indeed in any situation at all.

Why should you want to develop Assertiveness Skills?

The most important reason to develop assertiveness is to learn to operate from a position of respect and equality. You start by respecting your own beliefs, attitudes and values and consequently respect others’ beliefs, attitudes and values too. By treating yourself and others on an equal footing, you begin to gain important insights into relationships, situations and the general way in which the world works. Moreover, you are able to do all this without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Let’s read on and understand why you should learn to be assertive in the first place.

Enhanced and Healthier Self-Image

The word ‘self-image’ refers to the way you perceive yourself. This is crucial because the way we perceive ourselves makes a deep impact on the way we perceive others. A negative self-image manifests itself in different ways. We may suffer from low confidence and self-esteem and display erratic behaviour patterns. Assertiveness involves creating a realistic self-image where we do not see ourselves as better than others or others as better than ourselves. Our inner sense of self-worth accepts the fact that we are of equal value to others and that our preferences may not always be met. Similarly, you appreciate that others’ preferences may not be met.

You are able to understand others Better (Improved Empathy) and Learn to Say No

We are able to understand that each person has their own set of objectives and needs and we do not perceive others as a threat. You are able to perceive others in a more realistic context and realise that you have to work together for the greater benefit. We tend to see others as collaborators rather than as competitors. This is also a very helpful benefit while dealing with others. You learn to say no when you are unable to accede to someone’s request because you are no longer ridden by guilt. If they feel upset as a result of your response, you realise this is because they chose to feel upset about it and that this is not personally connected with you as a person.

Greater Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness

When you become a more assertive person, you understand that you are entitled to your opinion and you have a right to express that opinion. As a result, you feel comfortable expressing your opinions, even if you are aware that they may not be accepted or well-received. This attitude helps build confidence because you don’t spend time wishing that you had said something else – something that pleased people as opposed to your real feelings. We gradually become more aware of who we really are as people and our values and belief systems become clearer to us. It leads to an evolved sense of self-awareness and allows you to live and let live in the true sense. You are comfortable with holding your views, likes and dislikes and respecting other people’s preferences at the same time.

Issues get Resolved Faster and with more Clarity

When you choose to be assertive, you express exactly what you want which minimises the likelihood of the issue lingering on and rearing its head repeatedly. Most misunderstandings in communication occur when we fail to express what we want or express ourselves ambiguously. Assertiveness ensures that problems and issues get solved then and there without leading to wastage of time and energy. Passive people allow situations to build-up and endlessly ruminate over what they said and how they said it. Aggressive people constantly view others as a threat, but assertive people free up a lot of mental energy for other things.

Difference between Aggressive and Assertive Behaviour

There is a distinct and crucial difference between assertive and aggressive behaviour. Aggression is born of insecurity and fear while assertiveness stems from confidence and assurance. While passive people believe that they should serve others, aggressive people believe that others should serve them. Assertive people, on the other hand, believe that everyone should support each other. Aggressive people perceive others are threats and competitors and see every situation as a contest. Assertive people, on the other hand, are comfortable with a fair exchange of ideas and operate from a position of high self-esteem and self-awareness.

People who are assertive are never interested or motivated to decrease the self-esteem of others. Aggressiveness is aimed at reducing the self-esteem of others.

How to develop Assertiveness

  1. Personal space: Practise giving yourself personal space and do not be embarrassed about doing it. The first lesson on becoming assertive is to respect boundaries and limits. If you feel that someone is invading your space, step back and give yourself room. Setting healthy limits is an important prerequisite to building healthy relationships.
  2. Learn to say no with dignity, politeness and firmness. This is one of the most important things that non-assertive people find difficult to do. Saying ‘no’ is associated with impoliteness or fear of offending the requester. However, learning to say ‘no’ is the first step towards defining who you are and what you are willing or unwilling to do. You need not say no in a rude manner but you should definitely consider saying it with firmness. Here are some tips to say no at the right time and in the correct way:
  • Don’t wait until you’re frustrated with over-the-top and frequent requests as the ill feelings will fester for longer and make it difficult to be calm.
  • If someone (even if that person is a friend or colleague) cannot accept a ‘no’ then accept that it’s their problem and not yours.
  • Think about the reasons why you want to say no before you say it. Each case is different, so mull over your decision and don’t regret it once you decide; saying no invariably has its ramifications.
  • It’s not necessary to say ‘no’ in a harsh or rude way; you can always express it in civilised and well-bred language. But do not be ambiguous in your message.
  1. Detachment: It helps to listen to people, but simply allow comments to ride over you without getting involved in them. For example, you could respond to a remark by saying, ‘Yes, I’ve eaten too much over Christmas and have put on weight’. This would count as assertiveness rather than brooding over the remark and taking offence and then becoming defensive in the process.
  2. Body language: This is a body language tip that helps increase assertiveness in an effective manner. Make eye contact with the person(s) that you’re speaking to and avoid looking down, away or all around the room. Be careful not to stare the other person down because this may translate itself as aggressiveness. You may also wish to consider standing straight, keeping your head high and wearing a smile. Slouching, slinking or shuffling along is often perceived as signs of passiveness or passive-aggressive behaviour.
  3. Reprogram internal chatter: The way we talk to ourselves is extremely important. Guilt feelings, for example, can severely hamper efforts to be assertive. If refusing to give money to your perennially broke friend makes you unhappy, you need to consciously replace the negative thought with a positive mantra. Think, for example, that you deserve to be financially stable. Letting go of guilt is one of the first key steps towards developing assertiveness.
  4. Do not avoid uncomfortable subjects or situations: When our assertiveness skills are in their emerging stage, we tend to shun difficult situations or conversations because we are nervous or fearful about the outcome. The outcomes may involve losing a relationship or a friendship. As you decide to become assertive, you learn that facing situations or having that difficult conversation makes it easier to resolve our emotions and move on. Avoidance tactics will only suggest manipulation and aggravate the situation.
  5. Express your feelings and emotions clearly: Most of us get flustered because we react instead of letting the other person know how we feel. Assertiveness skills involve appreciating the fact that nobody can guess how we feel. Take a few deep breaths and choose clear words to articulate what is going in your mind. Lack of assertiveness often means that we manifest our feelings in other ways which may send confusing signals to the recipient.

The following techniques explain how you can be more assertive at work:

  • Try to recognise your real worth and silence internal criticism. Focus on the good things that you have been able to achieve.
  • Read up office manuals and become familiar with the ethical and legal boundaries of what is acceptable. Knowledge can empower you to ask for what you need and it helps to know your rights by law.
  • Please respect your limitations with regard to quantity of work; do not take home armfuls of reports to complete when you know it’s going to exhaust and drain you. Being resentful and negative will not help. Use assertiveness to articulate your feelings to your boss or manager.
  • Focus on growing as a professional and as a person: read books, manuals and periodicals and consider taking extra classes to pursue your goals. This will help build confidence because you are aware that you are living your life as you want to. Self-confidence will also prevent you from perceiving others as competitors or threats.
  • Rehearse and practice saying statements that you normally find difficult to express. For example, you may wish to practice saying, ‘No, I am afraid that I can’t do the work over the weekend because I plan to spend it with my children.’

Most of us do not demonstrate assertiveness because we are afraid of the consequences or because of our inner belief systems. For example, being nice (to us) may mean agreeing with or saying yes to everyone. We may experience rejection, fear, conflict or be afraid of losing relationships. To be honest, as women, many of us may have been raised to agree with people and go along with the flow rather than express your feelings or opinions. What we’re looking to do is introduce a major change in our way of thinking. We do not spend our lives being a mirror for other people’s objectives, preferences and beliefs.

Choosing to become assertive is a major decision and takes a lot of time and effort. Aggressive people tend to snap outwardly and leave behind unresolved situations that take time and energy to repair. Passive people, on the other hand, snap inwardly and turn their negativity onto themselves and experience stress-related ailments in the process. Assertive people do not snap because they express their feelings to others and are comfortable doing so. You may find that as you become an assertive person, you may lose some people in your life. They may not be able to accept the new you. But then, you may wish to give due consideration to the fact that these may not be the type of people that you want in your life anyway. Assertiveness gives you the mental clarity to recognise what you need.

Assertiveness is an extremely useful communication skill that helps you deal with awkward situations in the workplace. You learn to express your point of view without belittling others.

Motivational Twitter and YouTube Accounts You Should Be Following

Twitter and YouTube have become some of the most popular social media websites in recent years. Political leaders, worldwide celebrities, news/media corporations, businesses and even the common person all use these accounts as a means to keep up with what is going on in the world and within their circle of influence.

Since they offer a worldwide platform to anybody, many people use them as a means of sharing ideas and new ways of thinking. As a result, motivational accounts have become popular for people to follow.

If you are already on your phone to use twitter or view videos, odds are high that there are better things you can be doing in most circumstances. Since you enjoy using these sites already, you can easily turn this habit of procrastination into something that will help you in your daily life. For your reference, we have carefully picked some twitter and YouTube accounts which are great to follow for daily motivation. Whether you are looking for a positive dose of self-help, career guidance, inspirational quotes or hearing from influential thinkers, there are several accounts you should be following.

Twitter Accounts to Follow


Ali Brown has been described by Business News Daily to be the “entrepreneurial guru for women” and posts almost daily on strategies to becoming the best person you can be. Whether it be how you receive your income, what you are doing for work, or strategies for becoming greater, Ali Brown is one of the leading personalities to stay in touch with for female entrepreneurs who need a little bit of motivation. If you find yourself struggling at work or with what you do for a living, you need to follow Ali Brown.

Ali Brown constantly features new success stories and personalities on your twitter page. You might find interviews with budding entrepreneurs and rising stars in the world’s workforce. Ali Brown has a regular radio show which you can access via her twitter page and constantly shares some of the most inspirational moments and ideas described on the show later on twitter. If the reason you are looking for some motivation revolves around your finances, Ali Brown is a great person to learn from.


Sir Ken Robinson runs one the UK’s leading motivational twitter pages and consistently offers positive content that will help you through a bad day. Robinson is both an author and experienced TED speaker and has a worldwide audience who likes to keep up with his latest updates. The content he posts is a balance between inspirational quotes, promotion of his own books and social change efforts. If you want to hear from one of the world’s positive personalities, you might enjoy hearing from Sir Ken Robinson on twitter.

Although Robinson likely desires people to purchase his books so that you can hear his ideas in greater detail, many of the positive messages he tweets echoes many of the same thoughts that he condones in his writing. Touching upon a wide array of subjects, including social change, positive thinking and politics, Ken Robinson posts motivational content every day for people who need the extra inspiration. If you want an extra twitter page to follow that will keep you both motivated and informed, this should be one of your top options.


This twitter account features content which is engaging and motivational geared towards mums and independent women who enjoy hearing the perspective of famous influential women. Featuring constant quotes and perspectives of inspirational women from history, this is a great twitter account to follow if you enjoy hearing how strong and confident women in history responded or reacted to a popular social issue. Although this is the intention of the page itself, there is also consistent posts that do not necessarily quote a woman from history.

Many of the posts feature content that is simply uplifting and adapted from popular quotes without a clear author. As a result, although the content is geared towards illustrating motivational quotes throughout history, the audience of this page finds positive messages that can help them retain a healthy mindset all day long. No matter what your personal circumstances are, you should consider following this page to add some more positivity into your life.


If you are a business-minded person who wants to get more out of their professional life, She Negotiates is one of the most uplifting rising stars in the twitter world. Featuring content that helps you to feel confident enough in your abilities to negotiate and reach professional conclusions that you desire, this is a great twitter page for becoming a stronger person. Often, people can be so nice that they let others stomp all over them. If you are one of these people, She Negotiates is a great page for helping you become better with your rhetorical and negotiation skills.

When you think about it, much of the daily decisions we make in our family and work lives are the result of negotiation between two or more parties. In the end, the side with the best ideas and logic behind them are normally the ones who get their way. If you find yourself constantly in a position where you are left out of the diplomacy room, for example, She Negotiates is a great page to follow and help make you confident enough to stand up for yourself in a positive and influential manner.


Daily Motivation (@MotivateN0w) has one purpose on its page, to inspire others and help them get through their daily lives. As the name of the page implies, each of the posts on this account is gearing at motivating you to be happier now. Most of the content that you will see on this page are either quotes, memes or inspiring artwork. If you are somebody who would rather see a positive message than learning more about the person behind the content, this is one of the most positive twitter pages you will come by. Featuring content that is updated more than once daily, this is a consistent hub of motivational content to help you through your daily routine.

Many of the posts on this page feature simple statements that help you keep your current circumstances in check, and realise that a happier mindset is always within your grasp.

Since the entire purpose of the page is to spread positive inspirational messages, it is hard to be let-down by this page. Although you might not be inspired by every single post on this page, there are consistent gems that you will want to keep in mind.

YouTube Accounts to Follow

As much as we might wish otherwise, every day is not perfect. On days that we don’t feel on top of our commitments, it can be refreshing to hear positive, motivational messages from others. After all, there isn’t a price tag that comes with a little bit of positivity. If you are looking for some extra motivation, we have carefully hand-picked YouTube channels for you to visit.

TEDx Talks

Odds are high that you have already heard of Ted Talks at some point in recent times. TEDx Talks has risen to become one of the world’s leading platforms for facilitating social change since its launch in 2006. Leading thinkers from all across the paradigm of different religious and political beliefs have all had the opportunity to take the podium and share their ideas for the future. There are few topics that are off-limits for TEDx Talks, as they will often speak about topics which are otherwise controversial for daily conversation. Since the topics are normally breaking, motivational, and positive, many people choose to watch a TEDx Talk whenever they need some inspiration for the day.

Anybody who wants to find the best motivational YouTube channel which is usually family-friendly, diverse in its content, and great for pulling yourself out of a rut and living a great day should consider watching some TEDx Talks. Since there is almost always a new speaker, there are a wide variety of different perspectives that are shared on the Ted platform. Many motivational speakers today would consider it an honour and a privilege to even be able to make a TEDx Talk video themselves. As a result, this is easily one of the best YouTube channels for finding some motivation.

Mari Forleo

Mari Forleo is a down-to-Earth and intelligent YouTube channel which helps its viewers to see through the barriers that lead to developing a negative mindset and lifestyle. With her bright personality and peculiar intelligence, Marie is a leading female self-help specialist who features some of the world’s leading thinkers and authors on her channel. When she isn’t interviewing popular figures, she makes her videos to touch upon popular inhibitions to happiness, such as fear, courage, negative thinking, a great career, and relationship issues. If you want to hear a consistently positive message that you can take with you to work or on your workouts, this is one of the best YouTube channels to start watching.

Whenever she can’t say it best herself, Mari recruits popular figures to share the message themselves. This marketing strategy has helped her to have nearly 500k subscribers and one of the most powerful and influential platforms on YouTube for self-help and motivation. Since there are a wide-variety of beneficial topics, influential figures, and consistent content, many people will choose to watch Marie Forleo’s MarieTV over another popular programming  option such as news and movies.  Next time you need a healthy dose of inspiration, keep the news off and turn on a positive figure such as Mori Forleo.

Video Advice

Video Advice is a great YouTube channel to follow if you want to receive some motivation on a hard day. Featuring an array of motivational content which touches upon a wide range of subjects such as self-motivation and accomplishing new goals at a new phase of life, this channel features a diverse range of content that will be beneficial to any subscriber that simply needs some motivation to keep going. This is especially a great channel for anyone who likes hearing from other people who are considerably successful and simply want to share their life’s experiences. These qualities are what make this channel a great source of inspiration for viewers of all types.

With over 400k subscribers and new content that is added more than once a week, this is a consistent hub of positive inspiration for many already. Since this channel has a diverse array of content which has been pointed out by both women and men of all ages to be a source of consistent motivation, this viral YouTube channel has proved itself as being a source of routine motivation for many people already. Anybody who finds themselves on a bad day might notice a quick turn-a-round after watching this channel for a while.