Create Better Communication in 2012By: Angela Schaefers Jan 18th, 2012
Category: Your Story Matters
A N N O U N C E M E N T
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Many people are talking about new years resolutions like; saving money, exercising and letting go of bad habits. I think anything we can do to improve ourselves and our lives is a good thing! I have reflected these past few months and have concluded that one area I want to focus on and create change in is communication.
Have you ever noticed how much communication includes;
How do we create better communication?
A lot could be said about each subject, but simply put these three things are apt to be a part of our day-to-day communication with others. If we are not in conflict with someone, perhaps they feel conflicted towards us (disagreements that feel and are uncomfortable and sometimes creating feelings of anger). If we are not assuming (guessing at what others think, want or are communicating to us) then perhaps others are assuming what we are trying to say, what we need or what we want. If we are not judging (pre-conceived ideas about why someone is doing something or the intention they have in doing/saying certain things, or worse yet assuming others needs/wants) then perhaps others are judging us.
It is possible that these things occur, sometimes unnoticed, because we are not communicating effectively. We are not direct in our conversations, we are not clear about our intent or we do not ask open-ended questions of others to get a clear understanding of them, instead of assuming and judging. Or perhaps others are not asking us open-ended questions or seeking more information about us, instead of coming to their own conclusions.
Complicated? Yes. Human nature? Yes. Changeable? Yes. Does changing how we are used to communicating take effort? Yes. Like many others, I am guilty of making assumptions, judging others and finding myself in conflict with others. I did not used to think too much about it, I just ‘assumed’ this was the way of the world. I did not think there was another option to communicating more effectively, nobody had really modeled that to me or suggested learning a different way.
Now, I realize that how I communicate and interact with others greatly affects my attitude and sometimes my mood! I strive to live joyfully and peacefully and to some extend that is all about how I ‘choose’ to react and respond and how I choose to perceive things. But since we are human, and we are not the only person here on earth, for the most part others affect us and we them. I know I cannot change others attitude or the way they communicate. Yet I know that I can change my own and I can hopefully, positively affect others which will create an interest in them having more effective communication too!
For me, the new year includes many things I want to work harder at, some personal changes I want to make and most importantly working towards having better professional and personal relationships! And I believe better relationships happen with better communication. Here are some tips that I have learned along the journey that help me create better communication;
- Ask questions, before assuming, before allowing feelings of conflict and before judging (often you will be surprised to know you were not ‘right’ about an assumption)
- Before you judge others, think back on your own actions, including mistakes and regrets and remember that you too have not always made the ‘right’ choices
- Before judging others ask yourself if this judgment is about ‘you’ or about the other person (why does this particular thing they are doing or saying bother you… what is really about you and your own issues)
- Think back to the times people judged you or made assumptions about who you are, what you want etc. and remember that (probably) it did not feel good and all you needed was a chance to be ‘asked’ what you need/want/feel
- If someone does or says something that creates a feeling of conflict within, before responding, ask yourself what outcome you expect with your response and what you can do or say that will be aligned with your core values and principles
We would love to know your tips on better communication! We welcome your thoughts!
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