4 Communication Habits That Will Make You and Others Feel Good

'The way we communicate is incredibly predictive of our long-term levels of success,' says psychology researcher Michelle Gielan.

learn more about Deborah Mitchell

By Deborah Mitchell


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When working in broadcast news, whether as on-air talent or behind the camera as a producer, you have an incredible amount of power to determine the type of information shared with viewers. Unfortunately, when it comes to news, negative tends to win over positive news.

Former CBS News anchor Michelle Gielan reminded me recently of the mantra sometimes used in the news industry: "If it bleeds, it leads."

But once Gielan left the television industry she wanted to spread more positive news.

"I saw firsthand the power broadcasters have to shape how others viewed stresses and challenges," says Gielan, author of the new bestseller, Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change. "Now as a positive psychology researcher, I study the power we all have as teachers, parents, business leaders and friends to shape how the people around us view their ability to succeed."

Related: To See Solutions, Look at Problems From Everyone's Perspective

She adds, "The way we communicate is incredibly predictive of our long-term levels of success. We've found in our research that when business professionals not only maintain an optimistic, resilient, solutions-focused mindset but also transmit that to others, they fuel better business outcomes across the board."

In her book, Gielan shares a few simple, proven strategies that take less than two minutes a day to improve your positive communication. Here are four that she outlined to me for every business owner:

1. Use the power lead.

"When you start conversations, emails, phone calls, meetings and any other interactions with another person, begin with something positive and meaningful," she says. "Next time someone asks you how you're doing share something positive. The power lead allows you to set the tone of the conversation, and since people typically match a mood, the person you're talking to most likely will say something positive back.

"By taking the lead on the conversation, you're getting other people to focus on the positive and meaningful parts of life. Additionally, if you need to tackle serious challenges, starting with the power lead puts everyone's brain in a better place to problem-solve."

2. Ask leading questions.

"Leading questions are an ideal way to elicit new information," Gielan says. "These type of questions don't lead someone to a specific answer, they lead into positive territory.

"With your team, you can ask them to share a recent win that no one else in the room might have heard. You could ask them 'What's one way your colleague has made your job easier during the last couple of months?' These kinds of leading questions refocus people's brains on resources, successes, strengths and relationships they can tap into for motivation."

Related: 5 Ways to Instantly Connect With Anyone You Meet

3. Praise at least once per day.

"Many of us have heard the phrase, 'when you see something, say something,'" she says. "Most of the time that warning refers to bags left behind at the airport that potentially pose a threat. That phrase is equally important to keep in mind when we see something positive someone around us is doing.

"In a recent study we did with Training Magazine, it was saddening to see that only a small percentage of respondents had reported receiving praise from a colleague or boss over the past month. Call someone out for the effort they're making and the specific ways their behavior is helping drive collective success."

4. Get others to share wins with colleagues.

"At your organization, there are many successes, big and small, happening each day that most people don't know have happened," Gielan says. "Celebrating successes could be seen as bragging, but it's those same successes that motivate everyone to achieve more. Make speaking up about success a valued part of the culture.

"Our client, Nationwide Brokerage Services, made celebrating success as part of the workday. First thing in the morning sales teams gets together in 'huddles' to talk about recent wins from the past 24 hours, as well as rally around colleagues who say they need a little extra support that day. The president of NBS credits that simple practice, along with a handful of other positive communication strategies, with increasing gross revenues for his company by hundreds of millions of dollars. Getting others to speak up regularly can make this habit part of the culture."

It's important to always look at the bright side of things, especially in business. Be an optimist. Gielan advocates that optimism, the belief that good things will happen and that our behavior matters in the face of challenges is a step in the positive direction.

"An optimistic brain has been connected with higher performance and higher levels of long-term success, Gielan says. "Optimists are much more likely to take more quick action when a problem arises because they believe that their behavior can create the desired outcome."

Related: 12 Mind Tricks That Will Make People Like You and Help You Get Ahead

Deborah Mitchell

CEO & Founder, Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles and finally connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Mitchell is author of So You Want To Be On TV

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Green Entrepreneur

A Massive Hole In the Sun May Cause Dazzling Light Show Here On Earth

NASA says the coronal hole could blast the Earth with solar winds as early as Friday. What does this mean?

Business News

The 'Airbnbust' Proves the Wild West Days of Online Vacation Rentals Are Over

Airbnb recently reported that 2022 was its first profitable year ever. But the deluge of new listings foreshadowed an inevitable correction.


How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Kevin Greenridge was traveling from Honduras to Miami on June 4, 2022, on AA Flight 614 when he went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious mid-flight.