5 STEPS TO BETTER COMMUNICATION
TAKE OUT TIME FOR EACH OTHER:
Time must be invested in any relationship that will work.
Time, although a highly expendable resource, is an invaluable one.
We usually exchange our time for what we place value on.
If you are on a 9-5 you exchange those work hours for a salary at the end of the day or month. So, invariably you are paid for your time, and your worth to your organization is determined by how much your time added value to them and the attainment of their objectives.
So in a sense we can say “Time is life”. If this is true then it is true that I cannot claim to commit my life to someone if I cannot commit my time to her, and the truth is that I will never get to know who I do not spend time with.
If I really want to have a productive relationship with my beloved I will need to have unhindered communication with her, and if I am going to have that sort of unfettered communication I must first know her, I must know her thoughts and be accustomed to the vibes she emits.
There is no way I can know this if I do not spend time with her.
The first step to better communication and a relationship that works is- make out time for each other.
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMMUNICATING YOUR THOUGHTS & FEELINGS:
Clearly express your thoughts yourself.
This is a critical point and is not one that can just be wished away.
Do not say things like “she should have known what I meant” or “we’ve been together long enough for him to know what was on my mind.”
As romantic and appealing as some of that sounds we need to understand that the responsibility for communicating our thoughts, feelings, and emotions is no other’s.
Take responsibility for saying and expressing exactly what you mean.
I cannot underscore this point enough because if I tried to tell you how many times I have seen people trying to shift the responsibility for conveying their message to those that are meant to be recipients of the message I probably would lose count.
REALIZE THE DIFFERENCE IN PERCEPTIONS:
Every human being is different. We all have different mindsets, personalities, and orientations, and in order to have meaningful conversations and communication with others we must put this into consideration.
Do not condemn the other person for being different; rather put yourself in a position where you can understand and utilize this difference. Most times others see things about us and in us that we ordinarily are unable to see ourselves. So don’t be the sort of person whose attitude always seems to say “It’s either my way or the highway”.
Realize that views are meant to be complimentary as no one person sees everything he/she needs to know at every point in time.
BE AN ATTENTIVE LISTENER:
There are three different ways to listen while someone is talking to you.
These ways are attentive listening, passive listening, and selective listening.
* ATTENTIVE LISTENING :- In this sort of listening full and maximum attention is given to the speaker. When you listen attentively you put your whole being into receiving the message the speaker is trying to pass across to you.
This is the most effective type of listening but it is also the one that demands the highest amount of effort. It takes practice, patience, and respect for the other party to get yourself to the position where you listen attentively to them every time.
A person that listens attentively will always hear.
* PASSIVE LISTENING:- This sort of listening implies listening to what is spoken yet not necessarily tuning in to it. Let me say it this way- looking is to seeing what listening is to hearing.
So it is not everything you look at that you see, in the same way it isn’t everything you listen to that you hear. Passive listening is listening without hearing; it is a situation where a person listens without paying attention and so ends up missing the message.
An example of passive listening could be when a man’s wife is talking to him during a football game or some other thing that has his full attention; he could be listening to her without hearing anything she would be saying because his full attention would be on his game.
* SELECTIVE LISTENING:- This type of listening is what happens when a person gets to hear only what he/she wants to hear.
There are those circumstances and situations where some people either listen only to get points to fortify their positions or listen to get ammunition they can use to attack others; now you do not want to be in that position if you genuinely intend to have good communication and a fruitful and productive relationship.
CONFIRM WHAT YOU HEAR:
The final step to better communication is to confirm what you hear.
As much as it is the other party’s responsibility to pass across their thoughts and feelings it is also important that you confirm what you think you have heard.
This is because there are many cases where there is a disconnect between the sender and the receiver of the message and this disconnect is seen in the message being transmitted.
I will explain this by breaking down a typical communication process.
Let us take a look at the 6 steps in a typical communication process-
(a) First of all is what the sender of the message intends to say
(b) Second is what he/she eventually says
(c) Third is what the recipient hears
(d) Fourth is what he/she makes out of what they heard
(e) Fifth is what the recipient decides to say in response
(f) Sixth is what the recipient eventually says
Now when we take a look at the process above it becomes clear why there can be so many potential land mines in what should ordinarily be a simple and straightforward dialogue; but most times it is anything but straightforward and it is for this reason we must confirm everything we hear.
So, before you respond you need to ask- “Excuse me, is this by any chance what you intended to pass across?” or “Is so and so what you meant when you said so and so?”
This makes life much easier for everyone.
I trust you learnt something through this whole series.
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Cheers and God bless you