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A good communicator keeps people informed in a sensitive manner, without damaging relationships. Build up your oral skills of communication, which include audibility, brevity, clarity, diction, eye contact, use of gestures and a suitable speaking pace.
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Assertive behaviour communicates self-respect and respect for others. It views the rights and needs of others as being equal to oneís own, and this results in a win-win situation. An assertive person wins by listening, negotiating and influencing, so that others cooperate willingly.
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Working in a negative environment is not easy, but one has to learn to work with negative people without becoming negative oneself, keeping relationships as healthy as possible, especially with oneís superiors and repairing relationships as soon as possible. In fact, the best way to stay positive is to value your own positive attitude to the point where you refuse to let others tarnish it or take it away from you.

Six Steps To Personal Effectiveness
by Elaine A. Charles

very individual cherishes the desire to be effective as a person. Here are six steps to personal effectiveness. The first is Physical and Mental Well-being. To perform effectively in any task or occupation, we need to be physically and mentally well. This can be achieved through a proper and sensible diet, regular physical exercise, and adequate sleep and rest. As one grows older, health problems are likely to set in, but they are not the end of the world. Regular check-ups, proper medication and careful monitoring of blood sugar levels, ensure that illnesses are kept under control.

One must also keep mentally well and alert. This is fostered by keeping abreast with current happenings and events through the reading of newspapers and listening to news channels. It is also essential to cultivate the habit of reading books, to go beyond merely reading magazines and periodicals.

The second essential to personal effectiveness is to have High Self-esteem. Self-esteem is the way you perceive yourself. If you view yourself as inferior to others or as having little confidence to do things, you are lacking in self-esteem. But if you are full of confidence, feel competent in most situations, you have good self-esteem. People with low self-esteem are generally critical of others, get angry easily, are always complaining about people and circumstances, are very rigid in their conduct, expect perfection from themselves and from others, tend to be over-apologetic and suffer guilt feelings. On the other hand, people with high self-esteem seldom lose their temper, are tolerant of others, are more flexible in their conduct, do not ask for help but welcome it if offered and neither suffer guilt themselves nor unload it on others.

Self-esteem is built through a realistic awareness and assessment of oneís strengths and capabilities, and of how people feel towards you and about you. Needless to say, if this self-assessment is accompanied by the realisation that all oneís talents and strengths are God-given, then vanity and pride are kept safely at bay.

Taking additional courses, attending in-service training and refresher programmes, developing oneís skills and stepping up oneís reading help to enhance self-esteem.

To be truly effective as a person, one also needs to be a Good Communicator. Good communicators are persons who can verbalise their feelings, impart information easily and quickly, clarify doubts and misunderstandings and, above all, have the ability to listen to others. It is found that quiet, introspective people often stay in their shells and under-communicate. They are often misunderstood because they do not easily express themselves. On the other hand extroverted, highly verbal and assertive people often talk too much and too forcefully and consequently run the risk of offending others. A good communicator keeps people informed in a sensitive manner, without damaging relationships. Build up your oral skills of communication, which include audibility, brevity, clarity, diction, eye contact, use of gestures and a suitable speaking pace.

Above all, a good communicator is a good listener. To be effective in oneís relationships, we should know how to listen. A good listener listens with his whole self, gives non-verbal signs that he is listening, does not interrupt, does not probe, is comfortable with silence and is not quick to provide solutions to problems.

Equally important to personal effectiveness is the need to develop a Positive Attitude to Life and to People. Actually, you take the picture of life you want to take. If you are an optimist and anticipate successful encounters, you transmit a positive attitude and people usually respond favourably to you. But if you constantly focus on difficult situations, problems become exaggerated and difficult to overcome. So look at life through a pair of binoculars. Use the magnifying end to view positive things and the other end to see negative things. In other words, emphasize the positive and defuse the negative.

Staying positive in a negative environment is very important. Some work environments are positive and some are negative. You can encounter negative colleagues or superiors and you may experience jealousy, misunderstanding and personality conflicts. Working in a negative environment is not easy, but one has to learn to work with negative people without becoming negative oneself, keeping relationships as healthy as possible, especially with oneís superiors and repairing relationships as soon as possible. In fact the best way to stay positive is to value your own positive attitude, to the point where you refuse to let others tarnish it or take it away from you.

It is also essential for us to be Sufficiently Assertive. People usually exhibit two kinds of behaviour: submissive, non-assertive behaviour and aggressive behaviour. Non-assertive behaviour is passive and indirect, allowing the wants and needs of others to be more important than oneís own. Such persons lose while allowing others to win. They are victims not winners. Aggressive behaviour conveys feelings of superiority and disrespect for the rights, wants and needs of others. Such people win by making others lose and can be likened to steamrollers. Assertive behaviour communicates self-respect and respect for others. It views the rights and needs of others as being equal to oneís own, and this results in a win-win situation. An assertive person wins by listening, negotiating and influencing, so that others cooperate willingly.

Finally, every person who wishes to be truly effective must be a person with a Loving and Caring Disposition. For, in the ultimate analysis, it is not the academic worth or achievements of a person that matter, but the kind of person we are. People who exhibit a keen and genuine interest in others, who make them feel special, who are easily available and approachable to lend a listening ear and a helping hand ? these are the people who finally touch the lives of others and are long remembered. We must strive to cultivate a loving and caring disposition towards others and towards those we live and work with.

In conclusion, we would do well to remember that to be truly effective as individuals we must:

?/font> Be physically and mentally well
?/font> Have high self-esteem
?/font> Be good communicators
?/font> Develop a positive attitude to life
?/font> Be sufficiently assertive
?/font> Be loving, caring persons.

For, let us never forget:
ďLife itself canít give you joy, unless you really will it.
Life just gives us time and space, itís up to us to fill it.
To do our best to work with zest
That is the secret of success.?/font>

The contributor studied Teacher Education at Indiana University and won a Fulbright Scholarship to the U.S. on an international education development programme. With M.A., M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees, Elaine A. Charles has been in the field of education for the last 42 years. A former Principal of St. Xavierís Institute of Education, Mumbai, and currently an Education Consultant to several educational institutions, she has edited and compiled Value Education, a manual for teachers, which has won two national awards.