With Valentine’s Day just behind us – many people had the chance to reflect on being in relationship. One of the 3 pillars of a great relationship is the ability to communicate. Having been married now for almost 33 years, there have been many lessons learned about the best way to communicate in my relationship. First, timing is everything as they say. Also, it is not what you say, but how you say it that matters most. Any relationship requires good communication whether it is with your partner, work associate, friends or family. Many times our communication is generated based on the mood we are in. Not communicating is another form of communication. The reality is that we are always communicating in some way. It can be easier if we have time and experience with the person so that we have discovered the best way to communicate.
Here are some universal tips on how to have the best results when communicating with others:
Think before you speak. What is it that you want the other person to hear? What is your purpose for communicating? This could be making a request, giving advice or feedback, brainstorming an idea, solving a problem or showing your acknowledgment or affection for the other person. The purpose of your communication can be very broad so it is always best to stop and think about what you want the other person to hear and experience from your communication.
Who will you be talking to? This is where understanding different personalities and styles of communication can be useful. Is this a dominant person or more quiet and reflective style? Are they high energy with lots of ideas and excitement or more analytical and pragmatic. Think about how they will hear you. If you are talking to a more analytical style, then it is best to lie out the facts or the key points to make your case. Whatever you say, it must have solid logic and make sense. If you are talking to someone who is more of an idea person, then talk to him or her about the big picture using colorful descriptions so they can visualize what you are sharing. The Emergenetics Profile is an excellent tool to use when working with different styles to help identify thinking and behavior preferences when working with others.
Plan a time to talk. Many people in relationship at home and at work never plan time to discuss important issues. In today’s world, there are so many distractions that big issues can be put on hold until there is the “right” time to discuss and then never really get addressed until it becomes critical to discuss. Planning an important conversation to have is one of the most accountable things we can do in our relationships.
Commit to hearing another point of view. Many conversations start with an agenda and outcome that does not consider the other person’s point of view. What makes a powerful conversation is one in which all parties involved are committed to listening to and hearing different ideas. When we do this, many times we have better ideas and outcomes and certainly more alignment and commitment to working together around whatever is being discussed. Even if you are planning to have a difficult conversation, you can still feel confident that if you approach it from a place of neutrality and commitment to listen, you may be surprised what can be resolved.
Think about the many romantic activities that might have taken place this Valentine’s Day or how many proposals where made and how much time was spent preparing to pop the question. For these couples, this will have been one of the first of many important conversations they will have. Here’s to many more!
Warmest wishes, Barbara