Communication is the exchanging of knowledge, information, opinions, or ideas. In order to participate and Share in a Relationship, there must be some form of exchange or interaction. This exchange or interaction can take place physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually. Effective Communication is fundamental to a Relationship because it is what makes interaction possible, and it is the key to growth and development within any Relationship.
Effective Communication is when both parties are successfully Expressing, Listening, and Planning together. These three aspects of effective Communication are so important that we will explore each one individually. We will start with the first aspect of Communication: Expressing.
Words may have different definitions and meanings for one person than they do for another. Try to use words that are recognized and similarly Understood by the other person as much as possible. On more complex or challenging subjects, allow enough time for the idea to sink in and be processed by the other person. Pause and look for nonverbal signs that the other person is “with you” and ready for more. Try using analogies when Communicating more subjective or complex information in order to establish a reference point.
There are many ways to express yourself nonverbally. Nonverbal expression includes such things as eye contact; facial expressions; the nod of your head; hand gestures; your posture and body language; and the pace, volume, and tone of your voice. Keep in mind that everyone’s ability to Communicate will vary. Some people are not eloquent with their words or demonstrative with their deeds, but they are sincere in what they think or how they feel about you. They may be shy or reserved or incapable of expressing themselves overtly and instead express themselves through dedication, respect, or always being there for you. Expressing is only one part of effective Communication. Just because something was expressed does not mean it was Understood. This brings us to the next aspect of Communication that we will be exploring: Listening.
The purpose of listening is to Understand what another person is attempting to express. The focus is on making sure that you do your part to clearly Understand what the other person is feeling or thinking. Listening is more than just hearing the words being spoken; it is receiving and Understanding the message being sent. Being an attentive listener is an excellent way of showing others that you value, Appreciate, and respect them.
A good listener stays with the speaker and accepts the responsibility for trying to Understand what the other person is attempting to express. On important topics it is a good idea to periodically summarize, in your own words, what you sense the other person is expressing. Give your full attention when listening, and request full attention when it is your turn to speak. Part of being a good listener is showing Appreciation and respect for the speaker. If you don’t agree with someone, that doesn’t make them wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; respect theirs. Remember, every Event presents opportunities. Look for the opportunities to bridge differences.
All discussions and disagreements have the potential to end in resolution. If resolution fails, you can always agree to disagree and decide together how to handle the impasse. If you have no reason to discuss or debate further, Shift the conversation to a topic that you both enjoy or agree upon. Effective Communication consists of more than expressing and listening to one another.
Communication between people often results in a consensus to do or Plan something together.
The purpose of Planning with others is to Share in achieving a common objective. To prevent any misunderstandings, ill feelings, or Conflict, it is important that each person clearly Understands what they are responsible and accountable for. In order to create an effective Plan, you will need to keep some key factors in mind to ensure that your Plan will accomplish what
you Intend. When Planning with others, you can avoid misunderstandings by making sure that everyone involved is informed on and agrees with the Plan, Shares the same Intent, and knows what is required of them. This is where the listening and expressing skills that we just covered become essential. If someone does not hold up their end of the Plan, review the Plan and what they were to contribute. Discuss the impact and consequences (Outcome) resulting from that person not following through as agreed. Then replan. Let the other person know that you can only count on a person’s words if they follow through on them with their Actions. Also let the other person know that whenever they don’t honor their commitments, it becomes harder to trust and rely on them in the future.
As we discussed previously, you cannot control another person. If you find that you cannot count on someone, either don’t Plan with them or Plan around them. Remember, you can only control your Response. If the other person chooses not to follow through, you can choose not to include them. This is not being spiteful; it is being realistic and responsible, especially if others are counting on the Outcome. Just be honest and respectful in Communicating this to them. Oftentimes when people are presented with the truth and Realize the consequences of their Actions (or inactions), they are more receptive to change, as compared to not being held accountable at all.
In all Relationship cases, it is not about controlling the other person and making sure that they follow through; it is about bringing into creation what you, the Relationship, or the group Envisions (Intent). Do not lose your Intent or get lost in control and accountability issues. Just as when you are Planning by yourself, keep the focus on your Intent and the Actions necessary to carry out your objective.
The Center For Self Development
Edwardo Rosso Ceo & Co-Developer