Healthy Communication


 

It seems harder than ever to have a pleasant and meaningful conversation these days, especially with someone of an opposing viewpoint.

Since each of us is only half of the equation, there’s only so much we can do. But we CAN use some techniques—and encourage others to do the same—to improve communication. 

Here are five, based on compassion and mindfulness:

  1. Be fully present. This is not a good time for multitasking. Put devices away, put other conversations and issues out of your mind for now. Focus for a second on your weight on your feet, or sensations in your hands. Try to slow down the pace of your speech—choose your words carefully for clarity, and think about your tone and how you are coming across. Give this present engagement your full attention.
  2. Be a good listener. This is harder than it sounds! We usually start to think about how we’ll respond before the other person finishes, and we miss some of what’s being said. Try to listen with your complete attention. Make a quick mental note of your questions or responses, and then shift fully back into listening. (Even if you forget a question or response, that’s probably OK in the grand scheme of things!) We all want to be heard. Maybe a good extension of the Golden Rule would be: listen to others as you would have others listen to you!
  3. Seek to understand. Oren Jay Sofer, author of “Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication,” says that “The foundation for productive discussion and skillful negotiation is in the quality of connection and understanding we create. When our interactions are driven by an agenda, by getting our way, wanting to win, being right or making a point, we limit the possibilities for mutual understanding and creative outcomes.” Come to every conversation with curiosity, compassion, and respect.
  4. Focus on what matters. As we listen well and seek to understand the person we’re conversing with, we need to ask ourselves, “what really matters” about whatever the other person is saying. Why is it important? Sofer writes, “Listening with this kind of attention helps us get beyond surface positions to the underlying values in a situation, thereby creating more room for understanding, collaboration, and creative problem-solving.” How much more powerful and productive will our communication be if we can make a meaningful connection with someone—even someone we don’t seem to have anything in common with?
  5. Pause. Remember the sage advice about counting to ten? Rather than shooting back at our counterpart with rapid-fire points of our own, it can be very powerful to pause and think. Nod, ask the person to repeat themselves or repeat what you think they said in your own words. Then ask yourself, will what you’re about to say increase connection and understanding? If not…sometimes holding our tongue is the best response! We have to choose the right timing in order for speaking our truth to have the most impact.

Most of us learn communication skills in the most informal ways, often from people who aren’t skilled communicators themselves. We develop bad habits. But with practice, we can create healthy new habits!

Source: http://www.dailygood.org/story/2193/5-core-practices-for-more-meaningful-conversations-oren-jay-sofer/

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth Posted on February 27, 2019

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