In this age of technology, we are more accessible to people throughout the world and yet we are continuing to grow more disconnected in knowing and practicing how to verbally communicate in a way that is effective and fruitful for the health of relationships.
What is the biggest issue that causes tension in communication between two people?
Here are a few that come to mind: stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, too high of expectations, assuming everyone is on the same page, selfishness…
Communication is the lifeline to healthy interactions.
These relationships can be romantic or platonic and communication is the key to making (or breaking) a relationship.
This is not new information, and yet people continue to struggle to learn the art of communication. The dance that occurs between two people when they are attempting to connect and share thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires.
One person zigs when the other person zags.
Learning how to communicate with another person is a process that takes time, intentionality and desire.
Seek to understand the other person, not be understood,
Seek to listen in order to understand before speaking.
If two people do not want to put in the effort to learn how to talk with each other, there will be breakdown and discord.
How does one share thoughts and emotions with another in a way that is received, respected and understood?
Choosing the words, the tone, the pitch, the delivery and the timing appropriately.
What do you notice about the words you use? Possibly the words that are heavy, meaning they carry a lot of weight for a person to digest. At times these words can have double meanings and mislead the listener from the intention of the speaker.
How do choose your words appropriately?
- Get in touch with what you’re really trying to say
- Check your motives for the conversation and choose the words that are in-line with your message
- Explore various word options before settling on one- make sure the circle fits and isn’t a square or even an oval (if you know what I mean).
What do you notice about the tone and pitch you are using when you say the words? Are you short, demonstrating authority or frustration? Are you snippy, demonstrating superiority or control? Are you mellow, demonstrating a lack of care or disinterest. Are you high pitched or soft spoken?
How to be aware of the tone and pitch you are using:
- Be in touch with alternative approaches to the same comment or question, can you say it in a different way?
- Being too calm or too high-strung can give off a different message than what you are trying to convey.
What do you notice about your delivery and timing? Do you tend to jump at the thought of something you want to share and engage in a conversation that may be premature for the topic? Many times, we rush into a conversation because we are excited of the information and want to engage with the other person or scared that if the topic is not covered, right now, then it won’t be addressed and you’ll miss your opportunity. Either way, approaching a topic in conversation in the wrong timing or with the wrong delivery style can hinder the most casual subjects of conversation.
How to be aware of the delivery and timing:
- Can this topic wait?
- What are my motives for sharing this conversation topic at this moment?
- How is the best way for me to share with information in a conversation?
- How will someone best receive this information?
It’s not always the way of which you speak, but external factors can cause for a disconnect in communication.
When you feel:
How can you help the person you are about to engage in a conversation with? Give each other some heads up on where you are ‘at in your boiling points’ before you see each other.
- It’s been a rough day, looking forward to seeing you, would love your help with…
- When he/you get home- give some love and then say, it’s been a really long day at work, would you mind if I take a few minutes before I engage with the family
- Sit in your car before you go into a situation- pause, have your space, downtime, prayer time so that when you walk into the house you are ready and available for the family
What about when you notice these?
- Too high of expectations
- Assuming everyone is on the same page
Time to take a look in the mirror and check yourself. Where is this frustration, anger, resentment coming from? Maybe it’s you?
- If so, what needs to change?
- If it’s you and him, how can you engage in a conversation that will be productive?
Not the right time for a conversation?
It may be good to table a conversation until a better time (again, back to timing). Providing the other person with some heads up about the desire to talk more, but not at this moment will help both of you prepare for the conversation.
- An example of what you may say:
- “Hey, I’d like to talk with you more about XYZ, and I know right now is not the time. Would it be alright with you if we talked about this when we are rested/ at home/ have had time to think about this?”
Communication is the key to ANY relationship.
It takes time and effort, but the rewards to learning how to communicate well with another person are extraordinary as you will enjoy more fruitful relationships while being heard and ultimately understood.
I’ll leave you with this:
- What have you noticed about your communication skills?
- How can you refine your approach to communication that will benefit you and those you interact with?
- Who can you practice with while you refine your approach to communication?