Communication….It’s More Than Talking
When two people communicate, each person presents a preconceived sense of reality. What is often missed is that the other person may have a completely different take on the issue at hand. So what ends is an implicit or explicit power struggle as to who is right and who is wrong. The results is that nothing gets truly resolved and the issue repeats itself over and over again. Therefore, the true purpose of communication is is to understand the other person’s reality and to be able to negotiate a resolution that works for both parties.
Good communication doesn’t come naturally but is a learned skill that takes practice and perseverance.
The following are tips that can help in acquiring those skills.
- Realize that it is natural to be in a defensive mode. It goes back to that old fight/flight response learned from prehistoric times. When experiencing stress, resist that feeling by pausing a moment before reacting. Take a deep breath or drink water.
- Be open & honest about yourself in the moment. Resist the temptation to play victim, be accusatory or bring the past into the present. Rather take responsibility for being truthfully yourself as you communicate your position.
- The past is only relevant if it changes the present. Letting the past influence your present state of mind gets you nowhere but stuck in the same old, same old.
- Be still and actively listen to the other person. This takes maturity and courage. Resist the temptation to interrupt or negate the reality of the other person. Listening, understanding and empathizing go hand and hand.
- Stick with only the issue at hand. Bringing up other current unresolved issues while attempting to deal with the presenting problem results in nothing getting solved. Deal with one issue at a time.
- Be open to compromise. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and avoid a power struggle, where there is a winner and loser.
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