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How to understand others better

By MONS ROMULO, The Philippine STAR Published Dec 07, 2021 5:00 am

“Communications practitioner” Danella Yujuico Yaptinchay is happy to be back in the country. Since her return to the Philippines, Danella has co-founded four ventures, all focused on helping entrepreneurs and professionals in the Philippines: The Secret Sauce, Full Suite, SPARQ, Homegrown, and co.lab.

A graduate of New York University where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications, she went on to work at Walt Disney World in Florida and the Four Seasons in Chicago, and traveled the world for The Japan Times.

Never content, Danella is also a mixed-media artist who mints and sells her art as NFTs. Besides that, in constant pursuit of balance and self-development, she tries to apply the practices of yoga in her daily life.

No one likes a know-it-all. When you place yourself in the humbling position of not knowing anything, it opens up so many opportunities and space for connection.

“I’ve worked in both nurturing and challenging environments, and from my experiences, I’ve really come to believe that when a person is empowered by their leaders, they can accomplish anything. I know, though, that not everyone can figure this out so easily, so I’ve made it my life’s mission to help others along their personal/professional journey,” shares Danella.

Another realization she candidly shared is that it is hard to be human.

“So on days when I’m not at my best, I really do feel the challenges of interacting with others. It’s very frustrating not to be able to practice what I preach—and watching myself slip up. But I know it’s a good day when I unlock a way to connect with someone, or when I face an issue with someone together and we both come out happy.”

When asked who’s one person that inspires her, Danella’s immediate reply was, “I’m inspired by the people I’ve met along the way over the years. Someone I refer to often is my former boss at Disney, Kevin DiGiammarino. He’s since passed but it was from him that I really learned the effect of empowerment on someone else. “

According to Danella, “All species on this planet communicate, and humans have been gifted with more elaborate ways than others. I’ve been studying this for years, and here is a distilled shortlist of things I think about frequently as a communications practitioner.” 

 We asked Danella to give us some tips on communicating well with oneself and others. Here is what she shared with us.

It's always personal—but not about you

It's important to remember that how someone acts is about  them. Their behavior is an indicator of their current state and circumstances, not their opinion of you. For example, if they avoid a certain subject that you keep bringing up, it's not you they’re avoiding, it's their own discomfort with that subject.

Your mood is your mirror

On the flip side, be aware of how you're feeling when you're interacting with others. We read each other and feed off each other's energies whether or not we realize it. So if you're distracted, it will show. If you're happy, you will certainly glow.

Go with your gut

"Some people suggest we have three brains: head, heart, and gut," says Randy Taran in her excellent book, Emotional Advantage. Get these three brains to work with each other and you will be a master communicator! Learn to trust your instincts when something seems "off," even if the other person seems to be saying all the "right" things.

Authenticity and sincerity will flatten out fluff any time

Again, people are reading you, whether they realize it or not. If you're trying to fake it till you make it, you might be in trouble. People are drawn to the realness in others, and deep connections are formed in this space. Impostor syndrome is real, but not in the way you think. It’s liberating to take off your mask.

Simplicity trumps complexity

As Coco Chanel said, "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."

Don't try to impress others with big words or complex explanations. It takes a lot of work to whittle something down to its simplest essence, and is a mark of a good communicator. Notice how others communicate. If someone pulls "thesaurus speak" on you, it might be a sign they're trying to seem more knowledgeable than they really are.

To quote French fashion designer Coco Chanel, "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance."

Reminder: Actions really do speak louder than words

We’ve all heard this one before, and it’s scientifically proven that more than 90% of communication happens non-verbally. This includes our tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, posture, distance. So make sure your behavior is aligned with your words and intentions.

Curiosity cures

No one likes a know-it-all. When you place yourself in the humbling position of not knowing anything (very Buddhist, I know), it opens up so many opportunities and space for connection. In a conversation, being prepared to listen more than persuade can strengthen the way you communicate.

Humility is a sign of strength

Setting aside our pride can be really hard for some of us. When we are able to do so, however, it is very rewarding because people perceive us as more likeable and approachable. It shows that we're comfortable with ourselves and that we trust others.

Some people mistake humility for weakness, when it is actually a sign of strength.

We’re all ambiverts

Declaring that we're introverts or extroverts is polarizing. I think it's good to recognize that we're all a little bit of both. This allows us to extend generosity and kindness to others when we're not exactly in the same headspace.

Money is not a dirty subject

Some of us were taught not to talk about money (among other traditionally uncomfortable subjects), that it's impolite or unnecessary. I would argue that it can actually be good to talk about money because it's the source of discomfort, or worse, conflict when it comes to friends and family down the line. If you're upfront about matters earlier on, you can avoid a lot of head—and heartache.