The Art of Communication: Part 1
#BitesizeBea When we focus on ‘other’ we let go of our responsibility in communication. Tweet this!
I like to think of myself as a good communicator. When it comes to public speaking or working with clients I am really quite fantastic at it! On a personal level though, I have had significant ups and downs in how I communicate with friends, family and loved ones. It seems that many of us do.
A while back, while travelling with my sons in America, I came across Non Violent Communication (NVC). I continue to find this a refreshing way of listening and speaking with others. I realised, through NVC, that much of my communication focused on ‘other’. And this intensified in conflict situations.
Have you ever heard yourself say “I feel that you…”? An example might be, “I feel that you don’t help me enough”. How wonderful to discover that there is a huge error in that statement! It is not possible to ‘feel’ that someone is, or is not, doing something. It is more accurate to say, “I think that you don’t help me enough”.
The feelings that arise in that situation are possibly sadness, frustration, anger. Notice that each of these feelings cannot be preceded with “I think”. For example, “I think angry” or “I think sad”. I am grateful to Julie Fancher for bringing that clarity to me – I am surrounded by wonderful teachers.
I learned, through NVC, to separate my feelings from my thinking. I also learned how readily I often put the blame onto the other person. When we say “I feel that you…” we are removing ourselves from the situation. The other person often responds defensively or aggressively. Sometimes they simply withdraw. I want to master the art of clear and honest communication to ensure firm foundations in all my relationships.
I continue to use NVC in my parenting, my close relationships, my friendships and within the business environment. I have found my family to be the hardest place to shift the way I communicate. The patterns of communication within families are often like dance steps. And each family member knows their own specific dance. When one person tries to change the dance it can lead to discomfort for everyone. I’m learning how to handle that discomfort so that I can continue improving my communication.
What is your communication style?
How did your upbringing shape the way you communicate?
Are you aware of your own good and bad habits when you communicate?