The Power of Successful Communication
TALK, or good communication, is the Air for all personal and professional relationships, and includes both listening and sharing.
We need to learn the art of effectively sharing our thoughts, feelings, and needs. Without it, real intimacy and love is impossible. First and foremost is to learn the art of listening. Remember that we have two ears and one mouth, a clear reminder that we need to listen twice as much as we speak. In fact, it takes twice as much energy, effort, and patience to listen as it does to share. And, because we all have different temperaments, characters, and personalities, disagreement is inevitable, and conflict is the price we pay for intimacy.
We need to learn about, understand and honor each other’s differences, including temperament, personality styles, love languages, gender differences, cultural backgrounds and more.
The TALK Section presents simple, effective, and powerful skills for Effective Listening, which include:
- Eye contact: Looking into the eyes of the speaker creates your first connection and lets him or her know that you are attentive to and receiving what is being expressed.
- Join together: Rather than simply giving advice or your opinion, stand in the other person’s shoes. As you learn to quiet your own thoughts and opinions, you can simply join in his or her world, which will allow the other person to feel deeply understood and validated.
- Body language and tone of voice: Research shows that these usually say more than the words being spoken. Observe her posture, her gestures, and her facial expressions. Listen to the tone of his voice. Listen with your eyes, your mind, and your heart.
- Reflective Listening is a powerful communication tool that when practiced effectively, ensures that each person feels completely heard and validated. Here you will learn how to Paraphrase the other’s communication, then to Validate his or her thoughts, and finally to Empathize with his or her feelings. You will also learn how to effectively use the magic words for wholehearted listening: “Thank you, tell me more,” as well as the gift of silence, and when it is important to KYMS: Keep Your Mouth Shut and be a silent witness.
Among the most helpful communication skills for Effective Sharing are:
- Use “I” statements, rather than “You” statements. Speak in the first person, and own your thoughts, feelings, and needs. Instead of “You shouldn’t shout at me…” or “You’re always late and it makes me angry,” try “When you shout at me, I feel…” or “When you are late, I feel…and I need…”
- Grounding: When you have something difficult or sad to tell someone, hold his or her hands. Healthy touch acts as a grounding conduit between you and the other person.
- Three optimum ways to communicate are with the eyes, words, and touch. To share effectively, use eye-to-eye contact, physical touch (safely, with family, friends, and other close relationships), and responsible language (“I” statements, not “You” statements).
- Reality Check: If you believe someone is thinking something about you or another person, then ask them if your perception is correct or not. For example, “Are you upset with me?” or “When you said ____, did you mean _____?” You cannot force another to respond honestly, but so many misunderstandings can be avoided or resolved, as our judgments and perceptions are often wrong.
- Protocol for Conflict Resolution: A simple and loving communication skill to defuse difficult issues is presented. This protocol will help resolve present and past conflicts.
As discussed in the TIME section on emotional healing, when a situation or person upsets us, it is most often our own unresolved issues that are being resurrected in the present that cause our distress. By discovering our own core issues, taking care of ourselves properly, and communicating in responsible ways, we will assuage most of the conflicts in our lives.
Additionally you will learn the difference between Temperament, Character, and Personality. You will be introduced to various paradigms such as the Four Temperaments, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Love Languages and more. These helpful tools will allow you to better understand yourself, your loved ones, friends, and co-workers.
It is easy to love those who are like ourselves. Building community means getting to know and love people unlike yourself. It is difficult to embrace those who have a different personality and hail from a different culture, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Prejudice is an emotion. It is illogical, and stems either from either a survival instinct or a learned behavior from family and friends. Discover how to reach out across the divide of differences. This will enrich your life as you enrich the lives of others.