Communication is an area that we can forever improve on and its an important area for anyone interested in personal development. With my recent discovery about Appreciative Inquiry and looking more carefully at how to employ a new method of communication, I’ve realized there is much we do in communication that is based on habits. These habits are often harmful and promote bad communication styles. Most of us are trained to be advocates in our communication, that is one who argues there case, pushes what they want and seeks to find approval of that communicated message and to find followers doing so (Oh ohhh…, that might include a few bloggers then as well!).
The One Communication Mistake We All Make
There is one mistake everyone makes from time to time in the way they communicate. This is when we send our message instead of communicating in a way that ensures our message is in fact received. This happens when we are impatient or not considering the other person’s perspective and we simply think that making our voice heard and our message sent is in fact communicating. Well, it is not. Communication is all about how you actually deliver your message and so you cannot simply send your message without knowing it is actually received.
Don’t make the mistake of sending your message simply to get your ideas out without regard for others. Keep your ego at bay when you want to be heard and consider whether it is an appropriate time for the receiver as well as you to communicate. Remember, if they are not going to hear it, then it isn’t worth saying.
Getting Past Being Right
The next mistake often made in communication is that of having to be right. Many of us just love to be right and it is a conversation and healthy communication killer. If you do not stop to listen to other perspectives and accept new ideas in the way you communicate, this having to be right habit will surface often and it a tough problem to break. Trust me, I know from experience. I can’t say I’ve broken this habit myself but its something I’m much more aware of and I do notice it and stop myself often. If you simply state that you disagree AFTER listening to another person’s angle and actually ensuring you understand it, you can still debate things in conversation but if you have a habit of telling someone else how they are wrong, you can immediate kill the conversation.
Criticism for some people is very easy and its often the first thing on your mind when you hear other people’s ideas. I think this is closely related to the bad habit of having to be right and this one comes more subtle but even more dangerous because often it isn’t even founded in anything. Being critical and voicing it often comes very easy to most. Its a way to express creative ideas but unfortunately, when it is delivered as critism, it is often a power trip for a creative mind to show their creative powers over another’s idea.
All three of these bad communication habits lead to adversarial communications and they can harm your relationships with other people. Be aware of these in your conversations and look to eliminate these bad habits by replacing them with good communication habits. Listen more than you speak, try to actually understand what others are telling you before debating it and don’t tell them they are wrong or make generalizations about people with words like always and never. Keep your criticism at bay and do your best to keep conversations going by showing interest in others, inquiring more about what they want to talk about and by staying open minded of other’s ideas. These steps will help you practise good communication techniques and can lead you away from the bad habits that bring upon adversarial communication.
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