How can you improve your communication to achieve extraordinary relationships?
1. Exchange ideas that are self-defining.
Communicate your beliefs, values and thoughts that express who you are : "I believe in treating others with respect, even if I feel angry. I realize I fail at times, but I am really working on being kind when I am mad."
2. Be non-reactive in conversation. It is important to recognize when you are triggered and how to stay present in the conversation. This may be the most challenging one for many people. For example, it may be wise to say "Tell me more, I want to understand", if you notice your emotions are starting to interfere with your thinking.
3. Be direct and capable of talking about yourself and the relationship. It requires confidence and self validation to be able to discuss yourself and the relationship. For example "I need quality time in relationships and I realize our relationship doesn't have much quality time".
4. Make it a priority to mutually listen and speak, taking responsibility for communicating only your individual thinking. Instead of communicating what you think the other is saying or wants to hear, it's imperative to know your own thoughts. The ancient phrase "know thyself" can help you communicate better. Sometimes people want to please others or avoid conflict by expressing thoughts that aren't their own. The conversation becomes superficial and loses the opportunity for true connection. Give space to actively listen without thinking you know what the other person is thinking and feeling. It is hard work to understand your own thoughts and feelings before you can understand enough to actively listen and communicate directly to another person.
Important Take- Away:
The emotions that you feel must be processed and calmed BEFORE an important conversation is undertaken. When one can take responsibility for one’s own anxiety and the processing of it, communication will be greatly enhanced. It is a life long process to master listening and direct communication that connects instead of disconnects you with others.
Make it a goal in 2021 to learn and practice managing your own anxiety to improve communication in all of your meaningful relationships.