NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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Top tips for communicating at the end of the year

There are a few simple tools that can help us power through to the end of the year, when we’re able to take it easy on that wonderful vacation we’ve been dreaming about.

At this time of year, the pressure of everything drawing to a close can feel relentless. It tugs away at us despite the tiredness of an entire year weighing us down and the prospect of compulsory Christmas parties, unfinished 2017 to-do lists and the need to pluck up the courage to face the shops. It may seem easier to draw up the bridge and wait it out until the madness subsides.

However, there are a few simple tools that can help us power through to the end of the year, when we’re able to take it easy on that wonderful vacation we’ve been dreaming about:

Stop and think before speaking
Fatigue can make our objectives cloudy and lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Make sure you know what you want to achieve before approaching a colleague to have a conversation. Clarity around our purpose in communicating is always crucial and can be lost in the end-of-year melee.

Keep it simple
Overcomplicating our language can lead to confusing communication, allowing the other person to disengage and not really hear what you have to say. Consider specifically who it is you are talking to and choose language appropriate to them. When actors want to be clear and defined it is essential to align our physical and vocal choices so they are congruent with our intention. This simplicity is actually less taxing on our bodies and has the added benefit of engaging the other actor. Cate Blanchett playing Elizabeth 1, Ben Kingsley playing Ghandi or Judi Dench playing “M” are examples of this economic  authority.

Vocal variety
Be prepared to engage and focus your energy when needed, so you can choose variations to your vocal tone, pitch and volume.  This will help maintain the engagement of your audience so you can get your message across.

Personal spaceWe can’t change other people’s behaviour, but maintaining our own awareness can allow us to make choices at a time of the year when the even-natured temperament of others is frayed. By allowing others a little more personal space than usual can be a helpful tactic to calm the work environment.

Christmas drinks
If you plan to network at work events, do it sooner rather than later – waiting until you’ve had a few drinks is unlikely to make your communication align with your original objective. Target people for quick, friendly conversations and then move on so you can both enjoy the party. Be ready to talk about things besides work; have some party chat in your back pocket.

Don’t let alcohol do your communicating for you – it can only end badly. Also remember: you have to see these people again…every day.

Oh, and consider that most people in the room have a camera phone.

We hope you find these tips helpful this silly season, for a chance to put theory into practice and experience practical training to enhance your communication, head to

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