“To effectively communicate,
we must realize
that we are all different
in the way we perceive
and use this understanding
as a guide
to our communication
In today’s society, the ways in which people communicate have grown and transformed immensely from the simple telegram, but nothing yet created in the technological age has been able to match the beautiful possibilities face to face communication can have on a relationship, any relationship between two people, two groups, two opposing viewpoints. The hang up, however, seems to be that, as Tony Robbins states above, simply because we are speaking the same language, doesn’t mean the world each person lives in (which on the outside may seem to be the same) is perceived the same way. This fact, in and of itself, is the Achilles’ heel of effective communication.
But this has been a reality since people existed, so how can one best respectfully communicate so that both parties feel validated and progress can be made?
Recently, I sat down to view an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show and her guests brought some notions to the table that everyone could benefit from regarding respectful communication, tools, to strengthen relationships that you want to continue to remain a part of. The key here is, you and the other party wish to remain a part of this relationship and see it grow, flourish and reach its full potential.
All good communication begins with respecting the person you are about to converse with, so the first tool is to simply ask the other person, Is now a good time?
By simply asking this question, you are showing you understand that their time is as valuable as yours and that you care enough about the person, and the relationship, to discuss the matter at a time that would give the issue at hand the best possible chance for success.
Once you are able to sit down and have begun to talk, use the tool of mirroring. This is what I heard you say . . . and repeat back to them what you heard so that hopefully you are getting closer to being on the same page. The ability to move forward and past difficult situations depends on both of you being on the same page regarding what the topic of conversation is about. You may have to say this back and forth a few times until you are both there together. Just have patience.
Upon understanding fully what each other feels, or is upset about, (whether you agree that they should be or not) validate what they have just said. I can understand why you feel that way. Now keep in mind the original quote, everyone is approaching each other’s actions from their own vantage point, their own experience and their own perspective. Just because they saw it a certain way, doesn’t mean you necessarily saw it that way as well. That is why it is important to let the other person know they have been heard, and then you need to share your perspective. And most importantly, know that it is okay to disagree.
Once you have been heard and the issue has been resolved, don’t bring up the issue again. If you really are in a trusting, loving and respectful relationship, both parties should be moving forward and now be consciously aware of each other’s feelings, learning from the mistakes, instead of regressing and making the same mistakes over and over again. This action of repeatedly making the same mistake can be seen as a form of disrespect, and if that is the case, simply say, that doesn’t work for me.
There are some things that any person can compromise on, but each person has certain boundaries, etc, that can’t be bent for whatever reason and that is when you respectfully say no, using the line above.
Any of these tools can be used in the workplace, with friends, family, children, and significant others. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it only begins to work like a well oiled machine if the tools are used consistently. As John Powell states, “Communication works for those who work at it.”
So if the relationship that jumped into your mind as you were reading this is truly important to you, share these ideas with the other party, let them in on your secret, because believe it or not, “The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” A second quote to ponder from Anthony Robbins.
Image: (1) We Heart It