It takes place in front of us every day, communication gone bad. If you struggle with feeling unheard or misunderstood, try these tips to re-frame your brain and take responsibility for your contribution to the communication cycle.
1. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” ~ Stephen Covey. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? When you show interest in what is going on in someone’s life, it opens their hearts and minds to hear what you have to say – when it’s your turn. I read, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie many years ago and it has influenced my outlook on this topic immensely.
2. Focus on two way conversation and it will surprise you how much more you get, and potentially learn, from the interaction. This means eyeball to eyeball when in person, not distracted by technology. Ask questions, be curious, draw people out. If you talk over people, tell them your stories and don’t show an interest in their lives, you cannot possibly win them over. It’s amazing how many people neglect this very simple yet effective way to build relationship.
3. Use terms like – “When this happens, I feel this way…” This removes the whole blame game and the defensive mode that an accusatory statement generates. It even works at work! Knowing how to disarm someone wherever you are, leaves the possibility open for resolution.
4. “Always” and “never” are no-no words. Think about it. “You always, you never…” Really?
5. Make an effort to communicate more than what is needed. Do not assume that everyone knows or can guess the details. If you have expectations of people to perform a certain task, make sure they have all the information they need and don’t keep them in the dark. People aren’t mind readers.
6. If those around you are made to feel small they will not hang around for long. Find a person’s strength and comment on it and you’ll be fast friends. Think about how you feel when someone recognizes your gifts and talents. It’s not much of a stretch to translate that into action towards others. Be known as the encourager, the lifter-upper!
7. If things are a little tense or you feel slighted, be kinder than you think is warranted. Don’t burn a bridge just because your emotions get the best of you – justified or not. Count the cost before you’ve lost. Keep in mind that what you dish out could be handed back to you and then some.
Remember the golden rule and it will take you far – treat others as you would like to be treated!
You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. ~Zig Ziglar
Do you have any other tips to share that will contribute to happy interactions?