Communication, if it is to be effective, must take place in an atmosphere where both parties equally desire to understand one another and have the effective skills needed to communicate their intentions. Desire, of course, is paramount, as without desire no amount of skill will produce effective results.
Effective results are more likely to be obtained if skills are developing in the following areas:
Listening: Effective communication begins with effective listening. I am convinced this is why God gave us two ears and one mouth. If we spent twice as much time listening as speaking, all of us would make tremendous strides in understanding each other. Unfortunately, when we are supposedly listening, we are often thinking about how we might respond. Listening, truly listening, is the hardest work one can do. Few do it well. That’s why so many people feel they don’t have anyone who will listen to them — even though there are more than six billion people in the world!
Speak for Yourself: To take ownership for your thoughts and feelings demands a healthy self-esteem. Too often we want others to communicate what we think, feel, or believe or we want to validate what we think, feel or believe by speaking for everyone else as if we were the final authority on a subject. Speak for yourself. By speaking for everyone, usually you are speaking for no one. To avoid this, use the pronoun “I” when you speak. For example, I believe ... I feel ... I think ...
Don’t Judge: Even judges who sit on the bench shouldn’t judge when it comes to communicating with those they love. None of us likes to feel that we are being judged and often either react in anger or withdraw in avoidance. Judging is a sure-fire way of shutting down communication.
Focus on the Relationship: If your heart is in the right place, usually your head isn’t too far off. Even though we might say the wrong thing, if the others know we truly care about them, then communication tends to continue. Needless to say, if either one of you has your heart in the wrong place, no amount of communication makes much difference.
Respect Differences: How boring life would be if everyone one thought and behaved alike. Our differences make life exciting, challenging and certainly have the potential to lead to the birth of new ideas and perspectives. Without differences, chances are none of us would be challenged to grow.
Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Maybe I left something really important out or maybe you think I’m wrong. I’m listening.