Wednesday, September 27, 2017

As a Result of Effective Communication

After integrating and practicing the communication tips I have been sharing with you, you will experience the peace and joy of:

  • Changing failed communication patterns so nobody (including you!) feels hurt or left out.
  • Connecting with each other to create an atmosphere of getting along instead of constant conflict.
  • Giving others the confidence that you are a caring person, so they say "yes" to talking with you in spite of cultural, gender, generational and other differences.
  • Integrating essential communication elements to create ongoing understanding, trust and mutual support to face challenges through different stages of life.
  • Building an emotionally healthy family even though you don't have such experience growing up.

Unless you intentionally break your destructive cycle, you will be stuck in the same old repeated patterns. Think of yourself as a thermostat, NOT a thermometer. If you want, you could change the atmosphere in your home!

Not making the change will cost you physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually when your family is stuck in the same old unhealthy pattern. That's not the way to live.

I know these struggles because I was there. Years ago, NOT knowing how to have constructive communication was damaging my marriage, parenting, and my life. Even though I looked successful from the outside, I felt miserable, hopeless and helpless inside!

Changes take courage and work and a lot of grace from God.

If you missed or never received the special communication report that was sent out in August, go here to download your f.r.e.e. gift - Say It! Hear It!

Love, Joy and Peace to you!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Communication Pitfall You Want to Avoid

Have you ever had someone said, "Forget it! You are not listening!" and then walked out on you?

One of the common pitfalls someone might experience while trying to improve communication is listening passively instead of actively, or at least giving that impression.
How to avoid that?

Good communication is a two way street: speaking and listening. Listening is such a large part of effective communication because everyone loves to be heard and be understood.

That's why a effective communicator is the person who seeks to understand before seeking to be understood.

Listening doesn't mean just keeping quiet. To be an effective listener requires certain behaviors and attitudes. Listening is an action word. Find out how well you listen actively.

1. Listening means paying attention. When I listen to someone, I focus my attention on the speaker. I look directly at him or her, and concentrate on hearing what he or she is saying.

2. Listening means accepting what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I withhold judgment and accept what he/she is saying "as is". I acknowledge what the person is saying without labeling it right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.

3. Listening means being interested in what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I invite the speaker to give his/her opinion, say what's on his/her mind, or say how he/she feels about the topic or issue.

4. Listening means confirming and clarifying what I believe I heard. When I listen to someone, I ask specific questions such as "What I heard you say is ... is that right?" or "I think I understand what you said, but will you elaborate on ...?" or "When you say ..., do you mean...?

5. Listening means being empathetic. When I listen to someone and I begin to feel defensive or impatient or angry, I try to put myself in the other person's shoes and appreciate what he/she might be going through.

6. Listening means being involved. When I listen to someone, I respond actively by nodding, making interjections and asking caring questions such as "How do you feel about that?" or "What would you have liked to do or say?"

7. Listening means letting go of control. When I listen to someone, I don't always jump right in with a solution, or try to fix things, or have to say the "right" thing.

8. Listening means not judging the speaker. When I listen to someone, I really try to not get hung up on the delivery, even if it's awkward, hesitant or garbled, or if his/her voice or speech mannerisms are irritating.

9. Listening means withholding any rebuttal until the speaker is finished. When I listen to someone, I listen to the entire message before I mentally begin my rebuttal, defense, argument or denial. Then, I wait a beat or two before I begin speaking to make sure I've let the speaker finish, and I am focused in my response.

10. Listening means paying attention to the whole message. When I listen to someone, I also pay attention to their non-verbal messages —facial expressions, gestures, eyes, tone of voice, even posture, because I understand these can contradict or confirm the words that are spoken.

11. Listening means being present. Sometimes I'm unable to give my full attention to someone. When this is the case, I let the person know by saying something like, "Now's not a good time for me to talk about this, can we discuss it later?" then agree to a specific time to have the discussion.

Remember, just because we're born with ears, doesn't mean we start off life as good listeners. Becoming a good listener is a skill we learn, and like other skills, it takes practice to get better. Being a good listener is also a gift we can give to other people. Letting someone know he/she has really been heard is one of the best things we can do for each other.

Without listening, there is no communication. It takes two to tango. Who wants to listen first?

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (James 1:19-20)