Tuesday, July 22, 2014

5 Tips for Better Communication


Effective communication is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships. Regardless of whether the relationship is with a family member, significant other, co-worker, friend, or acquaintance, each person is responsible for his or her own behavior, including their communication skills.

In order to communicate in healthy and balanced ways, we must pay attention to how we are feeling as we are sending or receiving information. Becoming aware of our emotions helps us to sort through our thoughts and feelings, especially when our emotions have been triggered. We are always responsible for our own attitudes, actions, and choices, including our words. Reacting is natural, but responding is thoughtful.

To help improve your communication, consider the following tips:

1) Seek clarity. If you're unclear about what someone else means, ask questions for clarification. If you're not sure how you are feeling about something, wait until you're ready. And when you've made your point, stop explaining. If the other person isn't ready to hear you, speaking longer or louder isn't going to make any difference.
 

2) Start listening. Stop talking and start listening. Stop thinking and start listening. Stop preparing what you're going to say in response to someone and start listening. And then when you think you're really listening, be quiet and start sincerely listening. Listening is an essential part of communication and is the highest form of respect.
 

3) Let go. Let go of the need to be right. Let go of your ego's desire to "win". Let go of the need to be understood. Let go of your pride and allow yourself to learn something. Effective communication is about truth and transparency. When you let go, you allow yourself to be seen and heard. Resistance closes doors; letting go opens them.
 

4) Apologize. When you've said something rude, apologize. When you've offended someone, apologize. When you've lost your cool and raised your voice, apologize. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and apologize. "I'm sorry," goes a long way. And when someone apologizes to you don't make it into a power play, just say, "Thank you," and move on.

5) Do the work. When you are challenged by someone, do the work. When you feel you need to be heard, do the work. When you're faced with conflict, do the work and get through it. When you feel like giving up, do the work. Make a commitment to yourself to do the work and grow from it. Nothing productive ever happens from avoidance.

Most importantly, be aware of your feelings as you communicate. Notice what’s different when you come from a place of thoughtful response rather than simply reacting, and see how this changes the landscape of your relationships.

To your better balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Find better balance in your life, relationships, and work. 
Visit 21daystobetterbalance.com and learn more.