Even in the best situations, communication conflicts in relationships, business, or work are inevitable. Unfortunately, the unskilled and negative ways we typically respond to these conflicts often cause even more stress, thus eroding relationships. In business, as in life, relationships are critical to success.
This lack of positive communication/interaction can create resentment within business or family partnerships and lessens the potential of positive outcomes or effectiveness. There are some skills we can hone to become better communicators on and off the job.
12 ways to better communication
• Set an example – If you want your business partner to open up more, set the example by sharing more of your own thoughts and feelings. Try sharing interesting things you’ve heard or read. Relate an experience that relates to your common experience.
• Keep it light – Try talking about something else besides just business. Make a decision not to bring up the hassles with work, staff, or finances….. at least until later.
• Make “I” statements – avoid starting a sentence with “you.” It sounds like an accusation or invitation to fight.
• Use the feeling words – Use good descriptors when describing what you’re feeling. It’s not fair to expect your partner to guess or figure out what you’re trying to say or feeling about an issue.
• Do something together – Experience has shown that people, particularly men, are more likely to share their feelings when they’re doing something together that both can enjoy. Go have some coffee or lunch together.
• Listen… don’t talk – give the other person a chance to get his or her ideas and opinions across.
• Ask questions – guard against assuming you know what the other person meant by asking questions.
• Keep an open mind – don’t just listen for statements that back up your own opinions and support your beliefs. Be willing to listen to someone else’s point of view and ideas. You might learn something new!
• Don’t jump to conclusions – don’t assume you have the gist of the conversation or think you know what the speaker’s going to say next. If you do not listen, you may miss the real point the speaker is trying to get across.
• Listen between the lines – remember a lot of clues to meaning come from the speaker’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and non-verbal’s and gestures. Body language is usually an accurate indication of the speaker’s attitude or emotional state. Concentrate on what is not being said as well as what is being said.
• Provide feedback – Make eye contact with the speaker; nod your head when you understand the specific point or provide other feedback that shows you’re really listening. Really engage-it will honor the other person.
• Summarize – when the person finishes speaking, repeat what the speaker has said in your own words to confirm that you understand. Summarize points of agreement or disagreement. Ask if you got it right.
Good Communication isn’t taught — it is often developed and honed over time and practice.
It requires motivation and real desire to get better and improve. This only comes through practice and trial and error. The amazing thing is we get tons of opportunities daily to show our “communication quality.”
What will you do today to re-engage more positively with those you relate with daily be it family, business or someone special? You are now officially challenged, by reading 12 ways to better communication, to ratchet up your communication game—remember, you don’t have to, but you get to. Start today.