On Wednesday I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of people at HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehab Hospital about the importance of communication in reducing stress and improving overall wellbeing. We talked and laughed about the most important aspects of communication and how to get the most out of it.
1. Speaking from a place of calm – learning to breathe and setting your intention for the conversation can make all the difference. If you aren’t aware of what your goal is, how can you achieve it? If your upset and angry, how will you be listened to and how will you ever get your point across?
2. Be Genuine – people can always tell when you’re being dismissive or dishonest…so make sure to always speak the truth, no matter how difficult. Honesty carries power with it.
3. Avoid Pointing the Finger– take responsibility for what is yours. When you blame people get defensive and stop listening and communication breaks down.
4. Avoid Getting Defensive – it’s not helpful to take things personally. Remember what happens when you get defensive? You don’t want that to happen do you?
5. Be aware of underlying feelings – sometimes we’re not talking about what we think we’re talking about. Speak to the emotion and not the content when you’re talking about the tough stuff or going through a tough time. “I’m sorry your upset.” Acknowledging another’s feelings is hugely supportive.
6. Remember, it’s all in your interpretation -Avoid making your truth sound like THE truth, cuz it’s just your opinion. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. You have a choice in how you look at things…really, you do!
7. Clarify – if you don’t understand, ask and repeat back the gist of what you heard. If you think they don’t understand, ask them to restate what they heard.
8. Keep a Sense of Humor – Be careful not to take yourself too seriously. Laughter can ease tension and help you gain a new perspective. Plus, it just feels so good to laugh!
9. Really Listen – Repeat back what is said to you and let them know you’re listening. “That makes sense.” Avoid giving advice unless asked.
10. Agree to Disagree – sometimes no matter what you say, a person is not going to change their opinions. You may need to decide that escalating the conflict is just not worth it. “I love you too much to argue” can work like a charm and puts the emphasis on the importance of your relationship and not the topic of the conversation.
10.5. Agree to not Disagree – Sometimes being right can come at the cost of being lonely. There are times where deciding you want to find something to agree on is the best option. “You may be right” gets you out of the power struggle and back to your relationship.
Well, what do you think? Have any gems of your own that you’d like to share? I’d really love to hear them.
Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer, Ph.D.