Although we’ve been speaking since we were little, we tend to mess it up pretty regularly.
That’s actually to be expected because accurate communication is not determined by the sender but by the receiver. No matter how well you say something, if the person at the other end doesn’t hear it the way you meant it, the communication was poor.
Four things to remember to help minimize conflict and to be happier:
1) Know Your Intention
Before you communicate, ask yourself, “If all went perfectly, what would I want to happen from the result of this communication?”
For example, are you trying to impart information, get someone to change his or her behavior, express how you feel, make someone feel good (or bad)…
If you understand your intention first, it helps you craft your message better.
2) Choose Your Medium
Determine HOW you are are going to communicate what you want.
Channels of communication range from a facial expression to a tweet to a Facebook post to a phone call to a face-to-face meeting (and so many more). A general rule of thumb is “the more important, sensitive, or personal the message; the more important it is to try and meet in person.” For example, a disagreement handled via text messages will have a totally different result than one done face-to-face.
One other note: the more nervous you are about the communication you intend to deliver, the more likely it has to be done personally. It’s scary at times but, going back to INTENTIONS, if you want it done right, do it right.
3) Use questions whenever possible
Ask, don’t tell.
Ask what the other person thinks. Get confirmation about what he or she heard you say. Always, listen first, talk later. You might hear that the other person is already on the same page and you would have wasted a perfectly good argument!
It’s not about who has more words; it’s about how you will get what you each need
4) Use “I” statements
Never start a conversation – especially a difficult one – with the word “YOU.”
Similarly, never use “straw men” to make your point (such as “People think…” or “Everyone’s talking…” For the best results, whenever possible, start with “I.” For example, “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I noticed…”
Just because we’ve been communicating since we were born doesn’t mean we do it right.
Using these four steps will help cut down so many disagreements.
(Unless of course, your intention was to cause disagreements.)
Every Monday, a new motivational memo is posted by Scott “Q” Marcus, Motivational Weight Loss Speaker and Life Balance and Productivity Expert. Subscribers to 21DayHabitChange.com and Scott’s coaching service get this – and many more benefits – sent to them directly. If you’d like to know more, follow this link.