Crystal Clear Communications
Posted on August 18, 2009 by Hunter Phoenix, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
How To Communicate Clearly. At one time or another we've all wished that someone close to us knew this! When we improve our communications, we improve
One of the biggest issues I’ve seen over the years working with clients is that of communications. So often, situations can go array simply for lack of crystal clear communications. Part of the problem is also part of the beauty; we all have different communication styles. And as much as this ads to the inherent complexity and fascination of life, it can also be frustrating when we are “speaking different languages” and not even aware of it.
One of my favorite example is of a couple who would continually get into fights over playing tennis. Both people loved tennis and had been playing it all their lives. Both felt this was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and agreed that they wanted to do this together. So, what is the problem? Why did tennis always result in a fight, hurt feelings and unnecessary drama? Because they hadn’t taken the time to define what “tennis” meant to each one of them; essentially to define the word. In this particular situation, one person grew up with a very average middle class life. Tennis meant you grabbed your racket and a few balls, threw on your running shoes and headed over to the local school or community centre for an hour or two.
The second person in this scenario had a vastly different upbringing. Tennis was an event. It was something the family did on Sunday afternoons together. It started with brunch, proper tennis whites, and ended with time for conversation and drinks. Both people had a different picture in their minds for the word “tennis”. Both people had an entirely different expectation for the day. And both people, thought that they were absolutely right and that the other was slightly insane with unrealistic, not to mention unheard of, expectations. From the outside it’s easy to see how something so simple could go so wrong, but from inside the picture, and we’re all in the pictures in our own lives, things aren’t always so obvious.
Here are a few simple rules for crystal clear communications.
1. Get Clear This may seem obvious, but easier said than done. Make sure, as in the example above that you both have the same idea if exactly what it is that you are talking about. If tennis can mean such different things to different people, imagine what different ideas there could be on love, marriage, relationships, office etiquette and more. Asking for clarification is not rude, nor does it mean you’re a moron, is healthy and respectful for everyone involved and the relationships.
2. Drop the Defenses If someone is truly trying to get clear with you, whether asking for more info or offering it, don’t get huffy. This is not a personal affront or attack, it’s only information. The same applies in reverse. As many opportunities as there are for getting offended, there are just as many for understanding. Ask first before making any hasty judgments.
3. Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say How many times have you taken someone’s words to heart, only to have them say “I was only kidding.” Or “I just said that. I didn’t mean anything by it.” In a business situation this can be frustrating time consuming and costly. In personal situations, heartbreaking. Speak your truth and stand by it. We don’t get to keep many things in this life, but the value of your word can never be taken from you, only given away.
4. Listen We all want to be heard, but the other half of that is listening. I can only be heard if you give me your attention and listen to me, and vice versa. Being heard feels great! And through listening we can learn so much. When someone is speaking, physically close your mouth, this actually increases your capacity to hear. Before you start formulating your response in your head, let them finish. Food is no good half-baked, and neither are our ideas or responses.
5. Respond Respond Respond Communication is a two way street, and if listening is one half, responding is the other. Conversation, written or verbal is alive, it’s an interchange. It’s very much like throwing a ball and playing catch. My job is not only to toss the ball to you in a manner in which you are most likely to catch it, but to do my best to catch it – receive it, when you return it to me. Going silent, not acknowledging the other person’s statements or questions or not confirming (as in the case of emails, voicemails etc.) can lead to misunderstandings, confusion and hurt feelings. Once you have taken the time to listen, give the other person the gift of knowing they’ve been heard. This is also a great way to nip misinterpretations in the bud!
Life is all about communications. It starts with our first cry and finishes with our last breath. Every interchange with another person is, at it’s core communication, so wouldn’t it make sense for all of us to get really good at it.
This week, I challenge you to get clearer with your communications. Pick one area from the list above and see if you can master it! Notice what changes it brings about in your life, how you interact with others and them with you.
Until next time, listen up, get clear and enjoy a new simplicity in communications!