Collaboration is defined as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” It’s a great skill to have no matter whomever you come across on the spectrum of relationships. What kind of relationship do you want to create with someone? There are certain actions which need to be in your toolbox, and one of them is communication. According to therapists, the number one problem in any relationship is miscommunication.

How many of us actually say what we mean? Everyone has self-interests, or desires to fulfill a need whether it is money, relationships, reputation, prestige, etc. How can we relate our needs to those who we deem capable of addressing them? We all suffer from the “beating around the bush” syndrome. What can we do, starting today, to develop better and productive conversations with those around us? Below are a few simple principles which can be implemented today in your relationships.

1. The “K.I.S.S.” Principle

K.I.S.S. stands for “Keep it Short & Simple.” Get your point across in the shortest or the simplest way possible.

2. Stay Focused

Do you ever find yourself at a meeting and the people in the room talk about everything else besides the issue at hand? Time was wasted and nothing got accomplished. Stay focused on the topic at hand. In arguments, or what I call “intense fellowships,” people tend to bring up the past. Leave the past in the past. Deal with one issue at a time until it is resolved.

3. Say What You Mean

Never assume that people will always understand you. What you say and what they hear will always be different. Sometimes, you will need to clarify in order for them to better understand you.

4.Stop repeating yourself.

Finally, this principle is an important one. It will save you time and energy. Speak once. They heard you the first time. Sometimes, we feel we need to repeat ourselves because we believe people don’t hear us the first time, even after clarifying the topic. Speak once, and move on to the next subject.

Cindy Similien-Johnson is the founder of CSJ Media Publishing, and author of the bestselling e-cookbook series and popular cooking classes, "Cook Like A Haitian." She's also the founder of the women empowerment grassroots initiative, Goal Chic.

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