Have you ever wondered why communication is such a struggle and where it is breaking down? Do you want better communication with your spouse, children, coworkers, and others? We have helped countless people better communicate and understand each other over the years. Below are five guidelines that will help get you started on the journey of better, more fulfilling communication.
Listen For Understanding
Sometimes, when someone is speaking to us, we spend more time formulating our response or trying to fix the issue than actually listening with the intent of understanding not only what was said but the reasons and emotions behind what was said.
It’s the mustard on the counter argument. We may be arguing about the mustard, but what is actually going on is that the other person is hurt and feels their efforts in cleaning the counter are not appreciated.
In short, unless you listen to understand what is really going on, you may miss the point completely and end up in an argument about what seems to be nothing.
Think Before You Speak
What is the secret to staying out of trouble? More often than not it is to think before we speak. We must put thought into what we want to communicate rather than allowing everything we think to freely flow from our mouths. This is not to say we don’t share what we think, but we share it in a way and at a time that brings healing and resolution.
Assume The Best
Often, when communicating, we end up arguing and fighting because we have not sought to understand, but have heard what we wanted to hear. In other words, we often assume the worst in the individual’s motives, not the best. Rather, we should assume the best in the intentions of the speaker.
It makes it a lot harder to argue if we are seeking to understand and assuming the best in the motives of the other. In fact, this practice is life changing to a marriage!
Reflect To Ensure Understanding
After hearing what has been said and assuming the best possible outcome, reflect back to the speaker what you have bread. For example, you can use phrases like: “You are hurting,” “You were upset when I canceled our date,” or “What I hear you saying is you feel safe when I am around.” This gives the speaker the opportunity to understand what you heard and allows them the opportunity to restate if you have misunderstood or fill in gaps.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Once we are crystal clear in what is being communicated, we must then respond. As you respond, do not be reactive and allow emotionally charged words and accusations to come out. Rather, choose your words cautiously as you respond gently and graciously to the other person. The goal is to help them understand your thoughts while validating their thoughts and feelings.
These guidelines will help you navigate communication on a deeper level. If you are struggling with communication or even finding resolution to disagreements, we’d love to help. Contact us or get on our schedule using our online calendar.