Have you ever Googled ‘How to communicate more effectively’? Maybe that’s what brought you here. Perhaps you’ve been wondering how you can share your ideas in meaningful ways to inspire others. More likely you’re tired of arguing, you’re sick of being misunderstood and you’d simply like to know how to communicate better with the people you love.
I’ve been in your shoes.
My partner Danny and I love each other dearly, yet there’ve been times when we lost sight of what mattered. We focused on all those things that irritated us and we picked at it. Niggled away, found fault and doled out blame. It seemed nothing was good enough. At least, that’s how it felt. Yet, when we finally hit pause and looked beyond the words we hurled at each other, we found despite the differences, we felt the same way. We were even thinking the same things. In most cases, it was poor communication (rather than opposing ideas) that was driving a wedge between us.
But we were supposed to know better.
As coaches, trainers, teachers, effective communication is part of our job – we base our career and professionalism on our ability to share our message. And when we’re at work, we do a great job. Why did we have so much trouble at home? Perhaps even deeper was the fear that if we were having so much trouble home, maybe we weren’t doing a good job at work either. Perhaps we weren’t good enough.
Enter a downward spiral.
Thankfully we are coaches, trainers and teachers. So, we recognised the spiral. We saw the pattern, we looked at our thoughts, we identified our emotions and examined our behaviours. Then, we acted.
We realised, like any skill, communication muscles vary according to context. You may like to think of it this way. A person who is fit and runs everyday, may find themselves using a different set of muscles when they swim. Although they are physically fit, they may experience fatigue as they flex the new muscles. For this reason, a person who wants flexibility in their fitness may choose to cross train, mixing swimming, running, cycling and weight training.
In essence what I’m suggesting is that recognising context (the situation) is an important part of the communication process. When we recognise context, we can choose a communication style that matches. We also need to be aware of who we are communicating with and why we are communicating. Then we can apply the words, tone and body language that have the best chance of success.
But we can go even deeper. We can recognise the patterns within our communication and see the interplay of thought, emotion and behaviour. The challenge is to know ourself – our internal relationship and inner space. Then we can look at our relationships with others and our place within a wider world.
Successful communication requires us to understand ourself. We need to become aware of
- our thoughts and emotions
- how our thoughts and emotions effect what we do
- what we are actually doing
- what we say about what we’re doing
We also need to be aware of how thoughts and emotions influence the behaviour and words of those around us.
When we understand the interplay between our relationship with ourself, and our relationship with others, we start to appreciate the nuance of interdependent relationships. This is when we communicate most effectively. Put simply, when we recognise our position in relation to ourself and others, communication improves.
This is what Danny and I realised. We needed to tap into our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. We needed to find a way to identify and manage them. We needed to be aware of our innate yearnings and see how our instinctive view of the world was influencing our perspective. We needed to see how our perspective influenced the way we communicated with each other.
So, before asking, ‘how can I communicate my ideas more effectively’, perhaps you could ask yourself;
- What am I thinking?
- How am I feeling?
- Why do I want to share this message?
- Who am I sharing my message with?
- How is my message affected by my current thoughts and feelings?
- How may my message be influenced by the thoughts and emotions of the person with whom I’m speaking?
Of course, effective communication is an exchange. To effectively communicate, you also need to listen effectively.
Perhaps I’ll leave that post for next week.
Learn how to unlock your innate talent using the Clifton Strength Finder. Develop the relaxation and mindfulness habits that allow you to manage your mind. If you’d like to know more about improving your communication skills or gaining a greater awareness of your innate patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour. Contact Nicole today.
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