It's been said, communication is the key to success in many aspects of life. If this is so, why does it seem so many people struggle with the concept of obtaining just that...the key?! The definition of communication is simply the process of sending and receiving messages to convey information, ideas, feelings and beliefs. With this being said, humans seem to complicate this very straight-forward concept. As a communications major, I view the way people interact differently than most. It's safe to say I analyze and perceive communication with a bit more depth than the majority of people I encounter. Personally, this has gifted me with a greater sense of self as well as others. My ability to empathize is more prevalent. I do, however, still seek to become more effective in my abilities and openness to the art of exchange with others. I will share some tips that have been profound to this point in my life. Even more so, I would LOVE to hear yours. Tip #1: Don’t be a Negative Nellie. Presume positive (or neutral) intent, until you have a legitimate reason to perceive otherwise. Life is hard enough, as it is, without over-saturating our lives with self-inflicted negativity. When you come in contact with others it is important to be mindful of what you project during your exchange. Too often, people allow what should have been an isolated incident be a baseline for additional communication. Instead, experiences with various people should make us aware and open to variances in personalities; rather than a forced association to every previous and negative encounter. Tip #2: Effective and meaningful communication does not thrive in a predominantly selfish atmosphere. I get it. Everyone likes to feel important and heard. However, when you are in the role of a listener, it is important to be an active one. Challenge yourself to attentively engage in a conversation, not just utter a response. If you tend to be forgetful, make a note and revisit the thought at an appropriate time. However, focus on staying connected in the conversation, even in this means you are listening more than you are talking. Furthermore, the potential of selfishness does not only reside with the listener. The speaker also has a responsibility to a degree of selflessness. In a healthy communicative exchange, the speaker’s sole responsibility should not be to convince someone to see things your way. Remember, communication is about sharing ideas. Although, you can assist the receiver in understanding your conveyed message, the more forceful you are with an agenda, message or idea, the less likely someone will choose to receive your message willingly.