While we all know how to talk, few of us know how to communicate effectively. We either lack communications skills, or rarely communicate at all.
Ineffective communication, or lack thereof, is one of the key reasons why families fall apart, why couples divorce, and why any relationship usually fails.
Talking or Yelling at each other is NOT communicating. When you do that, all you manage to do is assure that the other person tunes you out, or concentrates more on the spittle coming out of your mouth, than what you’re actually saying.
Misunderstandings are common because people don’t know how to express what they’re feeling. They attack, accuse, shut down, belittle, etc. The other person can’t hear the intended message. How can you really listen to someone who’s demeaning you or on the attack? It’s impossible
Since communication is vital to keep relationships alive and thriving, here are a few tips:
1) STOP ANTICIPATING YOUR TURN. Have you noticed that whenever you’re in an argument with someone, you’re not really listening? What you’re really doing is building your ammunition; coming up ahead of time with whatever is going to shut down your opponent. You need to listen. Hear what the other person is saying. They may have a point you can’t hear because you’re not paying attention.
2) TUNE IN TO WHAT’S BEING SAID. Often times we turn a deaf ear, get defensive, and ignore everything the other person is saying. You’re just waiting to throw the next punch. Don’t! If you open yourself up, you might learn something. If you don’t throw a punch, you’re less likely to get hit yourself.
3) DON’T ATTACK. Stay open during your conversation. If you are calm, the other person won’t get defensive, and they’ll more than likely want to hear your side. Be Gandhi like. Remember the person you’re attacking is usually someone you love.
4) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. Are your arms crossed? Do you have an angry look on your face? Are you pointing fingers? Is your mouth open ready to interrupt? No, No, No! Remember you’re not in a boxing match. You want to be able to express yourself and have your person listen.
5) STAY PRESENT. For crying out loud, don’t bring up old wounds. What are you trying to do? Stay focused on the current issue. The worst thing you can do is start bringing up things that happened months, or even years ago. What do you want to accomplish?
1) DO NOT USE “ALWAYS” and “NEVER” WHEN TALKING. These are deadly. No one “always” or “never” does anything. These words are exaggerations and push buttons. Don’t use them.
Having good communication skills is having the Key to Success in any relationship.
Before I close, I want to add that communicating, period, is important. Many go through their lives exchanging few words with their loved ones, or just exchanging surface nonsense.
If you want to be close to someone, you must communicate. And if you want to have a good relationship, communicating the right way, is the only way.